Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Being Fat
I can remember the first time I felt different because of my size. I was very young, it may have even been as young as 5. I had a shirt that I really, really liked that was getting snug on me. We were visiting my grandparents' farm. I fell into a pool of stagnant water, and my mother was removing my soaked shirt, which was now snug and wet and stinky. She could not get my arms through the armholes, and resorted to cutting if off of me. I do not know what was said, or by whom. I do remember feeling shame and embarrassment at my size.

My paternal grandmother was tall, and large. A stately figure.My father had five sisters, and in general they too were stately women. The maternal contributions to my gene pool are very similar. I was noticeably taller than the average child in elementary school, and am fairly certain I weighed 100 pounds by the time I was in the third grade. I could write a book, hell, a series of books about painful and shameful memories related to my size.

I am 53 years old, 5'9" and weigh somewhere in the 300 pound range. I am fat.

This is what being fat means in my life at this place in time:

  • I am at an increased risk for health issues like high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and joint damage
  • I have difficulty finding clothing that fits me and suits my taste and sense of personal style
  • There are often problems in stores and restaurants with aisle width and chair size
  • Were I to decide to take a trip by commercial air, I would probably have to buy two tickets
  • I encounter subtle and overt discrimination on a regular basis

This is what being fat does not mean in my life at this place in time:

  • It does not diminish my intelligence
  • Being fat does not decrease or desensitize my emotions, opinions or beliefs
  • I have a full and satisfying life, complete with friends, socialization, and an exceptional marriage
  • Being fat does not change who I am, it is a part of who I am

We all are defined by who we are in relation to society and whatever standards and norms have been established at a particular time. The census even helps pigeonhole us. Race. Age. Income. Education. Nationality. Religion. Family size. Sexual preference. Many of the definitions and pigeonholes are unfair, hurtful, demeaning, discriminatory and biased.

I am me, warts and all, as the saying goes. I don't want you to look past, ignore, accommodate, try to change or make excuses for anything that contributes to me being who I am. If you can do me that one courtesy, and extend it to others as well, we will all be much more capable of experiencing this life on a deeper and more meaningful level.

That is all I have to say at this time on being fat.


  1. Well said...what you didn't say, I will. You are also a very beautiful woman on every level, not in spite of but because of all of the above.

  2. I love this Ellen!! I made a speech in my Leadership class that I took last semester about accepting yourself for who you are and living your life for you not everyone else. I think I even made an impression on a couple of people! Yay me!! But I love you blog by the way, I have read every post so far!!

  3. Glenna, Thank you so much for the complement. I think one reason people are able to forge good relationships online, and never meet in person ( as we have ) is because there is a freedom to the internet to let ourselves shine through.

    Rhiannon, It means a great deal that you feel this way at your age. Seeing as you share 1/2 of my gene pool, you have the potential of being forced to deal with much of what I have in life. I sincerely hope the changes society needs to make in this arena occur in your lifetime.

  4. I am fat also Ellen and I must admit I have been my own worst enemy. Weight is something hard for people to ignore since it is a first thing they see about me But I have limited my enjoyment of life because I didn't appreciate my own talents, worrying about being fat. At least my cats-3- love me, at least when I feed them s.b.