This post was originally shared on December 10, 2014.
Clearly, as I've already used the original "f word" in a previous post, again, I'm sorry Mom, I promise that was the only time I used that word, also, I'm sorry for lying just then. Now, I'd like to address the other "f word" that cuts deeper than one with a hard "k" at the end.
You could urban dictionary a long list of creative insults that wouldn't even touch what that three letter "f word" does to every extra inch of me. In my 26 years of life, but mostly in the last 16 of them, I haven't found the right word that I'm comfortable with in regards to describing my size. When we think of someone "petite", it's somewhat cute and charming to be teeny, tiny and little, yet when we look to the larger sizes it's as if we've turned them into monstrous ogres filled with rage eating donuts. We throw around the terms "normal size" as if anything outside of extra small to extra large is abnormal and an outcast. And, granted, I am not oblivious to social norms and health standards, but a fire sparks inside of me that started years ago when someone utters "fat".
When does this description begin? My memories of "fatty" begin in middle school where the word "fat" changed from an adjective to a proper noun. "Oh, watch out! There's an earthquake coming down the hallway!!!"
Children learn from society and surroundings how to be cruel and turn words into hatred. We are responsible for teaching them these things and we have to take action. Children who carry hearts of unconditional love change with worldly influence either from family members, other children and their communities, thus beginning the cycle of bullying and tragic events that only spiral into poor behaviors and future issues.
Working for over 3 years in the "American Woman", department at a major retailer, has reaffirmed my loathing for the "f word". I don't agree with the name of the department, as many of my clients travel from all over the world just to find clothes that fit them, I find the label "American" exclusive and offensive as if Americans are strictly known for our generous sizes. But when thinking about a title I feel better about, I'm stumped.
"Plus size" is often used, which seems appropriate when describing to a non-plus shopper, but still sits as a negative in my mind, as if "plus" is just too big to fit into the small box, and yet not worthy of what's inside that box. I realize that my issues of name are obsolete when we have a bigger problem.
"Oh, look! This is where fat ladies shop! How sad!" Insert cackle here. (An overheard conversation in my department.)
Oh, look! There's a small minded, asshole!
Sorry Mom, you taught me to choose my words wisely. I said nothing. I remained quiet because anything I would have said would have either fallen on deaf ears or gotten me fired. I won't go down like that.
But really??? As if we, as a collective "fat lady" group, should not even have the extreme luxury of clothing. I clearly should be punished and have to make my own garments because I chose this life. I, obviously, sit and eat cupcake after cupcake knowing that it doesn't matter any more because no one could ever possibly love, let alone, clothe the fat chick. DUH!
So, after not saying anything, her comment rolled around in my head and fueled a fire. I've remained respectfully quiet about my weight beliefs and kept my ranting at bay. I've touched on it in some of my posts, but I like to think there is more to me and my life than my weight. I've thought "I don't want to be another 'fat girl' fighting for something that no one but me cares about. People will tell me to get off my soapbox and work out instead."
Well, here I am, on that damn soapbox.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!!!
Sound familiar? Ya, kindergarten rules! Who knew?
I don't care what size you are, 00-30, there are days that even the healthiest of people feel "fat". For me, "being fat" is now more of a state of being that how I view myself. Plus size, sure, but I feel more "me" than at any size I've been before. And isn't that what it's all about?
Shouldn't we provide a community in which it doesn't matter what size clothing you wear, you can feel comfortable just being yourself? That you shouldn't be fearful of hearing "fat lady" because you're built the way you're built? That you take the time to be the best version of yourself you can be?
I hope that when someone meets me they learn to know me as a person full of life, love and humor. Not as the 215lb, size 14/16, combination of water, muscles, bones and brain that my soul lives in. Those numbers don't matter compared to the number of people I love and share my life with on a daily basis. So if calling me "fat" helps you feel better about yourself, I guess, go ahead. But I am way more than a "fat lady". I am ME!