No, I’m not talking about that f-word. I’m talking about FAT.
A recent experience has only highlighted that many men believe calling a woman fat is the most demeaning of insults. Why? Because women have let them believe it. There was a time in my life – probably right around late middle school/early high school – when being called fat by anyone would have been enough to reduce me to tears. Even very recently, I’ve let a family member hurt my feelings with his opinion about my body.
Fat is not a dirty word. We need fat in our diet. Our bodies need a certain percentage of fat to function properly. And if we overindulge (or in some cases succumb to illness) we become fat.
My female friends and coworkers cringe when I call myself fat. It’s a trigger word for many of them with only negative connotations. They say I’m putting myself down when I use it, but I don’t see it that way. I’m comfortable with my body. I know I’m overweight. You know I’m overweight. I don’t feel the need to dress it up in euphemisms such as curvy or Rubenesque. I prefer fat to chubby or plump or big (yes, even if you append “beautiful woman” to the end of the latter).
So guess what? I’m taking this particular f-word word back. I’m not going to let “fat” hurt my feelings and I’m going to do my best to not let it hurt the feelings of my friends either.
I’m also awesome, witty and intelligent. I’m confident, friendly and optimistic. I could go on listing my positive attributes, but you’ve probably already started to think I’m vain. Maybe I am a little vain, but mostly I just have a positive self-image. The number on my scale does not define me. It does not determine whether I have a good day or a bad day. My weight does not make me happy or sad. It doesn’t stop me from putting on a bathing suit and hitting the beach. I am not ashamed to be naked.
I think I look good. And no, not just good for my size. I think I look good. Some people agree with me. Some people don’t. But the people who don’t? That’s on them. It’s not my problem.
I’m fat because I eat too much and don’t exercise enough. I know exactly what I need to do if I want to modify my behavior and recently I’ve started making some changes. I’m doing that for the health benefits. Not because I feel the need to conform to an impossible to obtain standard of beauty that I see on the pages of fashion magazines. I will never be thin. I won’t give up the chance to indulge in a cupcake every once in a while. And I’m also not going to wait until I lose the weight to start loving myself.
This is me. Today.
If that’s not good enough for you? Keep it to yourself.
Because I’m not going to listen.