“I’m fat, old, and out of shape,” I said in a matter of fact way as I entered the van.
“Honey, you’re not fat, you’re beautiful,” my husband said as he leaned over to kiss me.
His comment made me stop in my tracks. Was my husband of almost 25 years saying being fat means you’re not beautiful? Are they mutually exclusive?
I am all three of these things—fat, old, and out of shape. I will let you argue the old comment . . . because is 46 old these days? I’m not sure when you can consider yourself old. If you argued with me that I am not old, I will let you win that argument.
But I am fat, and I get that word is a trigger for many people.
My hairstylist, for one, is reading this and cringing right now as I know for her the word is a horrible one. It has negative connotations and disliked by many. But as a fat person (I am 260 pounds on a 5-foot, 7-inch frame), I feel if I want to claim the word, it is my prerogative. I am fat.
I get that words have power—I guess for me part of reclaiming my power about my weight is taking back that word. I still remember the first time someone called me that word at the age of 12, and then there was the time a perfect stranger yelled at me in a parking lot and called me a fat cow. I’ve faced my share of backlash over being fat. I still choose to reclaim that word.
I am also beautiful—inside and out. Being fat doesn’t make you any less attractive than having a certain hair color. We get to decide what makes us beautiful. I didn’t always see myself as beautiful—it has taken time to get where I am.
But I can look at pictures of myself and acknowledge that, while I am bigger than I want to be, I also see the beauty that is me.
Lately, I don’t even see the weight—I see my awesome hair that day or my radiant smile. If my husband tries to take my picture, I no longer try to hide—I am who I am whether it is caught in a frame or not. I face the world every day in this imperfect body of mine—why does capturing it in a picture put such fear and reluctance into us? My family must have pictures of me over the years. I am so glad I didn’t constantly wait until I had lost 20 pounds before I let him take my picture—we wouldn’t have any pictures of me then.
You can be fat and be beautiful. You can be old and be beautiful. You can be out of shape and be beautiful. You don’t even have to see my beauty. I see it and that is all that matters. I know I am beautiful. Big and beautiful. Don’t forget it.
Go ahead and call me fat. You won’t be insulting me any longer.
I get that other women do not feel the same way, and that is OK. We don’t all have to be the same, we just have to respect each other.