I want to start this by saying I’m not fishing for compliments. I’m writing this because I feel like I have to. In fact, I waited a week to write it because I struggled a little with what happened and whether I should say anything at all because I’m not looking for pity. I’m also not looking to be sold weight loss products or programs, so please don’t go there.
Last week, a student who was in the library during her free period called me fat. She didn’t like that I told the group she was with to quiet down. (They were distracting a student who was taking a test) Most of the kids nodded, and there were a smattering of apologies, but as I was walking away, from the back of the library, I heard it. It wasn’t loud, but it was there.
I’m pretty sure I know who said it. And I know I was meant to hear it. Oddly, I don’t think calling me a bitch was the intended insult, it was the addition of the word fat. That was the adjective that was meant to wound me. It was supposed to hurt.
I ignored the comment. And moved on. That’s what we’re supposed to do when we’re personally attacked, right? Sticks and stones.
What I wanted to do was scream, “I KNOW!” I know I’m overweight. I’ve always known. This is not new! Sheesh! My mother pointed out my less than perfect figure all during my childhood and teen years. Forget that I was an athlete, involved in activities, a good student, and I stayed out of trouble. “You have such a pretty face, Jeannie, but…”
But. There was always a “but.”
Now, when I look back at photos from my teen years, I see that there was nothing wrong with me. I was curvy, but my mother didn’t appreciate my curves. Let’s just say, I was not raised to accept my body.
It’s the thing that has made me feel inferior, self-conscious and isolated my whole life. No one understands. I’m an accomplished, well-educated woman with great hair and nice eyes (I know my strengths 🙂 ). I’ve raised my kids well, have a husband who loves me, and loving friends and family.
Still, the fat thing hangs over me.
I can’t go anywhere without a reminder. Movie theaters, restaurants, planes…the seating gets tight sometimes. My doctor would blame a hangnail on my being overweight. It’s exhausting, and discouraging, and as a result, losing is even harder. As I get older, it’s harder. Nothing works and I hate that I feel like I do.
Because all I want is to be a size 12.
The comment last week shouldn’t have affected me, but it really hurt because it was meant to. It was mean, and it hit me where I’m most vulnerable. THIS is fat shaming, people. This. It’s meant to make us hate our bodies.
Don’t give this kid a pass because of her age. She’s plenty old enough to know better. Her comment was nasty and shallow, and she knew it. Now it’s my job to push back the wounded fat kid, and either find a way to love myself the way I am, or find a way to make a change. It’s not going to be easy–no matter how old I get, it’s never going to be easy.
Tell me how you overcame a mean girl or boy in your life. How did you challenge yourself to be better? I’m listening.