I am fat. And it doesn’t bother me at all.
I’m a size 18/20, an 18 in some labels, a 20 in others. I remember clearly when I decided I was going to accept my body just as it was. I was a junior in college. At that time, I was a size 14/16, which isn’t that far into plus-size, but I was much bigger than the majority of the young women I went to college with.
One day I just decided to give up being insecure and hating my body. I no longer saw the point in it. Not only was it not getting me anything, it was taking something away from me: my happiness. So I decided I was done.
And I never looked back. NOT. Some time after I made my declaration of acceptance of my fat body, I started backsliding. I’m not exactly sure when this was, I just remember looking in the mirror, sucking in my stomach and deciding I looked better that way. I also remember wishing I was thinner and gripping my large stomach with my hands and squeezing, as if that would make it disappear somehow.
A couple months before my grandmother died, I was going to the gym about twice a month. I know that sounds like nothing, but for me, someone who hadn’t been to the gym in years, it was a big step. I was mostly going because I thought the change in my physical routine might help control my PCOS, but I wouldn’t have complained if I’d lost weight in the process. I lost a few pounds. It wasn’t noticeable.
As soon as my grandmother died, I stopped going and I stopped caring about going and, somewhat, about what I ate. I hate going to the gym. And in my grief, I’m suffering too much to do anything I hate. I’m also suffering too much to put up with raggedy, sorry-ass men, be miserable because I’m single and childless or work somewhere where I’m not respected. When you lose someone close to you, there are just certain things you no longer do.
I haven’t hated my body, or been insecure about it, since my grandmother died. There’s just no room in my head for superficial things anymore. My grandmother left this earth and everything superficial in my life left with her.
In fact, I love my body. It does too much for me for me to hate it. I have hurt so much over my grandmother, some days I thought I would die from the pain. But my heart has continued to beat. My lungs have continued to draw breaths. For that, I’m grateful.
Though I’m fat, there are still some physical privileges I have that I acknowledge. My body gets me from place to place pretty easily. It’s not difficult for me to get in and out of cars or airplane seats and I don’t need a seat belt extender. I never worry whether my weight will break a chair. It’s not nearly as difficult for me to find clothes as it used to be because many women are plus size now. The Macy’s at Lenox Mall has an entire plus size floor.
I can walk, my arms and hands work. By the grace of God, I’m rarely sick. Yes, my PCOS has been a huge inconvenience lately, but it’s never caused me to be bedridden. I have my blood work run every year and as of August, my glucose level is excellent, my cholesterol is fine and my liver, and other major organs, seem to be working well. I do have high blood pressure, but I’m managing it with medication. I’ve seen a cardiologist and he told me unless I become a very thin, athletic person, I’ll probably be on blood pressure medication the rest of my life.
That’s another thing that played a huge part in my acceptance of my body. Lindy West, who is also a plus size woman, said she came to the realization that she’s likely going to be fat for the rest of her life, so she might as well stop waiting to get to this promised land of thinness to be happy. She should just be happy now, in the body she currently has. I heard her say this on a podcast a few years ago and it was really transformative for me.
That was the beginning of my second-wave of loving and accepting my body and this time, so far, I haven’t looked back. And I don’t expect I will. My grandmother’s death has seemingly sealed the deal on that.
I do want to mention being a fat, Black woman seems to be easier than being a fat, white woman. By that I mean, in the Black community, we don’t worship thinness the way white people do. Super thin models in magazines don’t make me “hate my thighs,” as Charlotte once said on an episode of Sex and the City. This is because the models I see in fashion magazines are often white. I rarely see representations of myself in these magazines, so when I see that extremely thin, pretty white woman, I just assume she’s not there for me and move on.
Also, the word “fat”, and the word “obese,” seem to be curse words to white women. I’ve called myself fat in front of white women several times and every single time, one of them has rushed to say, “You’re not fat!” I said, “I’m obese” the last time I went to the doctor and the white woman resident touched my knee and said, “You’re not obese, you’re slightly overweight.” Note, this is the first time a medical professional has ever disagreed with me being fat. I think the attitude of the medical community may be changing in this respect because not wanting to be called fat is one of the reasons many people don’t go to the doctor.
I’m never concerned a Black man won’t be interested in me because I’m fat. At this point, you may be thinking, Well, all the men she dates are probably fat too. Wrong. Fat men are rarely interested in me and I’ll let those of you reading this who are thin in on the reason why. It can be very difficult to navigate a lot of sex positions when both of you are fat. Two fat people in bed usually means two large bellies and that can make missionary and the Cowgirl difficult/uncomfortable. You usually end up doing mostly doggy-style, because that takes one belly out of the way, and I enjoy other sex positions too much just to stick to one.
Don’t get me wrong, occasionally non-Black men of color and white men have shown interest in me, but if I think a non-Black man of color or white man is attractive, and the feeling isn’t returned, I usually assume it’s because I’m fat.
I want to address one last thing before I end this post. If you were wondering why it is people hate fat people who have the “audacity” to be…*gasp*…happy, it’s because they feel we’ve unjustly won the game. Let me explain. Mainstream American society wants us all to believe there’s only one way to be happy. Part of that way is being thin and if you have to spend thousands of dollars on Weight Watchers, gym memberships and healthy, organic foods to be thin, then you should be more than eager to do that.
When you’re fat and happy, you’re showing the world there isn’t only one path to happiness. For some, this challenges everything they believe in and they don’t like it. Some are even pained by it. Because if they were wrong about the way to be happy, what else are they wrong about? Many people don’t want to examine their beliefs or why they believe them. They just want to go about their day, meeting as little resistance as possible, come home and watch Law and Order: SVU. Some people are envious of your happiness. They wish they could accept their bodies as they are, but they can’t. They wish they could give up being miserable and hating how they look, but they can’t. These reasons are also why some people hate happy, single and childless people.
So as a fat, Black, single, childless woman, just me being happy is revolutionary. I’m sure this is true for many of you as well. I hope you’re in the revolution with me, but if you’re not, I hope you join me soon.
P.S. One more thing. So a lot of body builders/men who are really into fitness follow me on Instagram. They never make comments like, “You should try going to the gym” or “Here’s a healthy eating plan that might work for you,” so I think they’re following me because the rumors I’ve heard are true. Personal trainers/body builders/super fit men have a thing for plus size women. I just find it really interesting. I mean, everything society tells us would have you believe the last woman on earth a really fit guy would want to look at is a fat one. Here’s just another glaring example of how everything they’ve told us is a lie. Ok, that’s all. I’m really done now. 😉