Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Confessions of a (Slightly Thinner) Fat Girl

Today, I missed my fat.

As a formerly very fat girl, who became an average girl, only to become a fat girl, and is now a slightly thinner fat girl, I knew this day was coming.

What was surprising was that it came so quickly. Seven weeks. That's all it took. Seven weeks and a guestimate of 35 pounds, and I miss my fat.

I remember the day I knew I had to make a change. It was my 24th birthday, and I awoke, unable to breathe. At 365 pounds, I was so heavy my weight was crushing me when I lay down. I woke up gasping for breath that day and knew that if I didn't make changes, I would die before the age of 30. Two years later, having made significant lifestyle changes including regular exercise and the consumption of primarily unprocessed foods, I had lost over 170 pounds.

Another two years later, following the loss of a significant loved one and some major trauma, and I had regained 115 pounds. Having been here before, I knew I would be here again. Last time, it took 18 months. This time, it took seven weeks.

I went shopping today. In general, I'm not a fan of shopping, and I usually find spending money to be an almost physically painful experience. Today, however, I enjoyed it. I needed panties that 1) fit and 2) aren't full of holes. I love lace and bows, polka-dots and ruffles. It was fruitful trip and I was delighted with my purchases.

As I walked home, a man leaving the post office looked at me. He scanned my body from head to foot to head and said, "Hey, gorgeous."

I would likely have had an excellent day had it stopped at that. Someone called me gorgeous, and it's not something one hears often.

But he didn't stop. As I continued on my way he called after me, "I sure would like to kiss you."

I felt visible. I felt exposed. I felt vulnerable. A complete stranger on the street saw me and spoke to me in a fashion that necessarily sexualized me.

As a fat girl, I was invisible. I was hidden. I was never vulnerable, and no one acknowledged that I had a sexuality. I was never spoken to on the street. I was never looked at in the face. If people looked at me (and they did), they openly stared at me from behind, their stares doing more emotional damage to my mother who often witnessed it than to me. As a fat girl, I was safe to walk down the street and know that no one would speak to me.

Today, a man on the street violated my sense of safety and security, verbally insinuating himself into my personal sphere, and he attacked my sense of dignity by sexually objectifying me. When I got home, I cried, and I talked to a friend about the experience.

Then, I put my panties away and played with my dog.

Today, for a brief moment, I missed my fat. Thanks to a good friend, I didn't miss it for long.

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