[Forty] Four things only fat people will understand.

I am fat. And I am completely okay with that.

It took me just about 35 years to be able to think about it like that, let alone write those words down.

Okay, I’m still not exactly a mountain of strength that constantly radiates confidence, but I have shed most of the burdens of being perpetually stuck in a fatsuit. I live an un-apologetic life and I don’t take shit for it anymore, from anyone. 

So let’s start by getting the elephant out of the room. It’s okay to use the word “fat”. It’s just a neutral descriptive and there is no need for constant embellishment calling it “chubby”, “curvy”, “big-boned”, “fluffy”, “voluptuous” or my very favourite flavour of the day: “plus-size”. It’s just a lot of pointless body-positive crap. It’s okay to use any of those terms, even I do, but it’s also completely acceptable to just use the word ‘fat’. Because that’s what I choose to identify myself, happily, as: fat. As a kid, I was constantly receiving the message that I was a disappointment because I was fat. My weight was an issue in every aspect of my life. It has taken many years and a whole lot of public anxiety to finally come to terms with who I am and to understand that being fat is not a defining characteristic of who I am. It’s not even a interesting part of who I am but admittedly, it’s a very obvious part. So for the majority of my life, I’ve been beaten up by society because of it. Many people, employers too, still refuse to look past the fatsuit and forget that I am a person, and I have a soul that inhabits this being. At the end of the day, I am bigger than all of those assholes in all the important ways that really matter. So honestly? Eat a bag of d*cks, booli.

I already wrote what it was like being a fat know-it-all in highschool and being bullied on a daily basis. I also already wrote about the emotional backlash because of that and the invisible scars I have been living with since I was a teenager. But my experience of being the fat chick started way, way before being a teenager. It started in elementary school, when I was wishing for a rainy day so that we could spend recess inside and I wouldn’t have to ‘go play with the other kids’ outside, running around pretending to play tag when in fact it was just me being targeted all the time because I was waaay too slow to ever be able to tag any other kid. Which apparently was hilarious. I avoided doing kid’s stuff. To not break the swing because I was too heavy and too forceful. To not being told by the supervisor that it would be better if I chose anything else than the seesaw because I kept catapulting the skinny kids off it on the way down. I avoided birthday parties, because I had a mother breathing down my neck, informing every teacher and every soccer-mom that I was, in no single circumstance, allowed to eat any sweets or carbs. And thus ended up being that 8 year old retard who received a bowl of raw cauliflower and carrot on the teacher’s birthday when everyone else got to share a bag of chips. See, raw cauliflower isn’t even a thing. It’s impossible to crunch on unless you purposely intend to break a tooth. Not that I would have minded that. They were ugly and crooked, anyway. Or so I was told repeatedly. Childhood remarks have a way of staying with you your whole life. 

The way to hell is paved with good intentions. And I know that was exactly what they were. Good intentions. When my mother took my hand and led me to the hospital for a complete run of blood tests, thyroid and diabetes check-ups. Being prodded with needles and scary utensils for days straight just so that my fatness could be blamed on anything else than winning the hereditary shitty genetics lottery of bad metabolism. I was six years old

Truth is nobody really wants a fat child. I can assure you that no parent really wants to deal with those crucial fat-people facts that an overweight child learns at a very young age. Like the fact that being fat-shamed is a constant and that fat people are fair game. There are no ramifications for making fun of fat people. Even with that cringy body-positive awareness trend marching on strong and leading to absolutely no long-term solution, people keep treat overweight people as if we are lazy, disgusting creatures with no self-control and all other things that are unfair. There was a time where I was adamant at pointing out that I dragged my disgustingly lazy self to the gym every single day for a 1 hour cardio and starved myself with nothing but salads and green smoothies, and still managed to remain grossly overweight but it was to no avail. You can’t educate pettiness. I tried. 

And don’t get me started about that body-positive movement. There is probably nothing, NOTHING more infuriorating than a 17 year old skinny beautiful girl trying on a smaller size of that dress you so desperately tried to fit in (and felt like a sausage being pushed down its casing) and then looking in the mirror, stroking her perfectly cute, small touchie but saying out loud “it’s okay to have that bit of extra curve, I have to accept who I am”. Good for you, Beyonce. What I’m trying to say is that the awareness being created completely misses its mark. Accepting your body is a great thing. But doing it so in the assumption something is ‘wrong’ with you because you have slightly curvier hips or a slightly fuller bosom when you are really just a very run-off-the-mills averagely sized person, is extremely hurtful to actual overweight people, like me, who face the music being discriminated and insulted every day.

4things

4 things only fatties can understand.

THE AWKWARD SEAT SHARING EXPERIENCE

When you’re fat, even the most mundane things become a mental hurdle. Public transport for example and having to share your seat with another person is VERY uncomfortable experience. And not even so much because of the physical discomfort of having your fatness all flabbed up against a stranger, but even more so mentally because you’re either gonna get stared down blank in silence and disapproval, or you’re gonna get insulted for taking up too much space. The sad truth is that I am already so very conscious about it before it happens. I always use to squeeze myself up in the most uncomfortable position to avoid taking up more than half of the space. I still got the stink eye every time, even from people who don’t even sit next to me. Or worse, on that rare occasion where even a child says out loud what very few grown-up dare: “mommy I don’t want to sit there, that lady is too fat”. Don’t worry, rugrat, you’re going to be fine. Fat is squishy as fuck and it’s not contagious. Educate your children. More than half the world is overweight. Tough shit lol.

When it’s not the seat grievers, it’s the looks from the schoolkids. Especially that new wave of 14-16y old who have been obsessing over “beauty” and “being slim” and have been throwing up their lunch since they were 5 years old. They are the worst. Not only do they treat you like a leper, they also think you’re deaf and blind. Hey, it’s not like I can’t see or hear you’re talking nasty about my weight. Or the little kids, with school-backpacks twice their size who insist on blocking the much-too-narrow walkway between the seats. No matter if it’s a slim person trying to pass by and pushing the heavy backpacks out of the way, or me… I’m getting the looks because the fatty can’t get through. “Elephant on the move”. “Free Willy”. That’s on the good days. When I’m unlucky, the path is blocked by baby trolley’s and buggies instead and the cautionary whale has to jump over them. It’s very elegant, I can assure you. Whether it’s airplanes, buses or taxis, there is a tight ratio between your size and how much hate you’re gonna get going from point A to point B.

 

THE CHALLENGE OF GOING TO THE GYM

You know the one thing you never see in the gym: a fat person. Have you ever noticed that the only people comfortable enough to go to the gym, are people who don’t seem to need working out in a gym. Toned, styled, groomed people who don’t sweat and don’t have to chug a container of body fat with every move they make. And yet “why don’t you try going to the gym” is always one of the first suggestions one offers when I’m trying to talk about the experience of being fat. It’s one of those things easier said than done, and I’ve forced myself going to the gym three times a week for over a year. The threshold of opening the front door never got any easier. Worse than trying to find clothes for a formal event or receiving ‘miracle recipes for weight loss’ from basically everyone you know (even sometimes from people you don’t know) is actually having to throw yourself in a pit full of healthy, hunky and/or stunning people working out. People who, like in any health-related commercials on tv, strut around like elegant gazelles and muscled full-bred horses with a pedigree, tossing their glossy hair over their shoulder, smiling, being attractive, social, helpful, perfect little beings. And then there is me. Puffy red face, sweating like a mop and bucket, dragging myself from one torture device to the next like a hyppo on a mission. It’s not that I don’t want to have a friendly conversation with you when I’m working out, it’s that if I spend my breath on more than 2 words, my brain will likely short circuit due to oxygen deficiency.

I never got verbally insulted in the gym, but the “yeah, you’re gonna have to spend a lot of time here (because you’re SO fat)”-look or the “woah, good on you for trying! +1 for effort! (because you’re SO fat)”-look are basically just as bad. You sometimes feel sorry for yourself for feeling ignored? Feeling like nobody can see me is THE one thing I wish for most of my life.

 

CHUB AND RUB, WEAR AND TEAR.

You probably never experienced taking your nylon stockings off after a long day at work, and having to peel the fabric out of your skin, because it rubbed so much it basically burnt itself into your thighs. No? I didn’t think so. You were probably too busy comparing your thigh gap to your bestie’s. But I have. It’s called chafing and it’s incredibly painful.

You think the most annoying thing about being fat is to carry with you the sound of your thighs scraping against one another like an old pc with coil whine. Yeah… try 15 minutes of biking (or working out on the hometrainer) or 20 minutes of walking when wearing anything else than pants and bam. 2 days of being in pain every time you move. Babybutt-rub cream is my bff in summer.  

My pants ALWAYS rip in that one stupid spot between my thighs. Google “chub rub hole”, it’s an actual thing and the nemesis of all my favourite pairs of trousers through the years. So I’m guessing you also never bought a new pair of jeans and the first thing you did was stick on an extra patch of iron-on denim under the crotch because you knew that ultimately, it would happen at some point. 

 

BEING OFFERED LASAGNA WHEN YOU MUCH RATHER HAVE THAT SALAD.

Some people don’t mean harm. They make really uncomfortable statements about my appetite because they don’t know just how much it bothers me. Are you the very blunt “Do you always eat so much?”-person when I’m just enjoying a very normal sized plate of very normal healthy food. Or the passive aggressive “Is that all you’re going to eat?” when I’m full and fine after just a very normal sized sandwich in a very normal food bar? Or you can be that ape who states “Oh, you look like you enjoy food” with a wink pointed directly at my chubbiness, why yes, thank you. I’m a living, breathing, eating, pooping, sleeping human. I do enjoy eating but apparently eating in a public place is an excuse for rude people to make obnoxious comments. 

And then there was my CEO. He was a nice guy. He occasionally cooked for us, employees (yeah, don’t ask, it’s a long story). He always brought fish for the vegeterian colleague and salads for the gluten-free, allergic-to-taste colleagues… And a lasagna for me. Because fat people don’t eat vegetables or salads. They live on pizza and coca cola. And apparently lasagna. I do actually love a delicious, refreshing salad in summer and I eat more vegetables than the average human. I love meat, I love poultry, I love vegetables, eggs, quiche, stews, slowcooks, tajines, … Fortunately for my CEO, I also love lasagna.

4 things i look forward to when i’ll be fit again.

BEING A BAD ASS FAT CHICK AGAIN

I’ve always been a reasonably fit fat chick. I walked to work and to the shop, I biked for groceries and I could always pull off physical exercise as easily as my normal-sized friends. (Within reason though, I’ve always been more of a sprinter, rather than a marathon athlete). I could rest both my hands flat on the floor with my legs all stretched and I had very little physical discomforts. I was rarely ill and common colds came and went without much manflu-hassle going on. So yeah, I was that fat chick who proved every day that being fat doesn’t disqualify you from being badass, no matter how many sceptical looks I was awarded because of that. But right now, I’m not that chick. I’m not owning my chub like a baws anymore and I’m just not feeling it. Time to get back to where I want to be.

 

FITTING IN THE AIRPLANE SEAT WITHOUT AN EXTRA BELT.

It’s embarrassing AF having to ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extender. With most of the European airline companies like Brussels Airlines, the belts are absolutely fine. But sometimes they are not. Try feeling like an 8 month pregnant, helpless woman except you’re not performing a noble duty like carrying an infant in your belly but you nurture your food-baby instead. Fortunately you only need a weigh-in for your luggage, right?

 

BUYING A SOUVENIR T-SHIRT AFTER THE CONCERT 

Most of the merchandising shacks at concerts offer one-size clothing. ONE SIZE that fits my cat or the newborn baby of my niece. Those washing cloth sized shirts hardly even cover a single one of my boobs. Like that favourite high-school hippie fringe-top that is safely tucked away in my wardrobe for the past 30 years because someday, somehow, I would fit in there again. Yeah after 7 gastric bypasses, perhaps and even then so. But sometimes, I used to fit in the man’s onesizer shirts if I got lucky. These days, I have to satisfy my needs with magnets and postcards. 

 

NO MORE HAIR IN EMBARRASSING PLACES

Like on my chin for example. I dont know if it’s a fatchick-only thing, or if I just won the genetic lottery ticket (because I saw my grandma do this routine every single morning too), I am blessed with an overdose of male hormones. Being obese causes increased androgen production, which in many cases leads to hirsutism. That is a big complicated word for: excessive growth of dark, coarse hair in a male-like pattern, especially the face. Now no one will ever be able to tell, because I pluck those motherfuckers out with a damn passion, but if I don’t do that, I can probably compete with Conchita Wurst. It is said that this can disappear with weight loss, so there’s hoping.

So there we go. Now the only thing left to do is kickstart this lazy ass butt into shape. No biggie, right? I even got my weight loss journal all sorted out. Let’s get this show on the road.

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