Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Entry to the Fat Experience Project

I will never be good enough for my family because I am fat. On the other hand I am learning to live with that.

It is not that anyone in my family is really a "skinny mini", it is just that they are mostly what they consider "normal" and always dieting to get closet to having the same profile as a stick. The fact that I am fat, and worse yes, not changing that fact, makes me an embarrassment.

I remember being six years old and my cousin and I got lollypop in the synagogue. My bubbie opened my cousin's for her then told me that "I really did not need that".

Their thinking coloured my own for a very long time. Growing up I thought it was okay to be a doormat- to be tormented by mean children in my school and I accepted that it was normal for other kids to hurt the fat ones. There was one boy in my class who would come up to me and grab my newly developing breasts and yell "squishi-boobs". I cried, but I told myself that I deserved it. Clearly my family thought it was okay because no matter how much I cried, no one stopped the torture.

In high school I made friends, but by then it was too late. I always tried to give 110%. I was the kid who invited everyone over. Who would organize everything. I figured if I stopped no one would have use for me anymore. I always felt like there was an invisible wall between us. I remember on our grad trip everyone standing with their arms around each other in a group hug and me standing on the side. I could not bring myself to break that wall and touch another person. They were "normal". I was fat. I always wondered what they said about me behind my back. I figured it did not matter so long as they pretended to like me when I was around.

I wore baggy clothes to try to hide as much as I could. No wait. I am lying. There were times where I tried something a little funkier. My parents told me it did not look good on someone my size and ridiculed me. They made me go change and "put on a sweater".

But I am learning.

Some of those people are still my friends and I have realized that it is not only because I organized the parties.

I have moved on with my life. I found a wonderful man who can see beyond the surface to what is in my soul. With him I am building a family and rebuilding a life with my family that has to do with who I am and not what I look like.

I look at my daughter and see the world in her face. I see undisguised love in her face when she kisses me goodnight. She knows I am fat. In her "my family" picture she made at school I am clearly twice the size of her father- but she loves me anyway.

2 years ago I went back to school. It is a school where merit and accomplishment mean a lot more than your Saturday night plans. I now have a business that I love. I have worked hard for it and it is growing nicely. At first I thought it was growing becuase people never needed to see me. You know what? I recently added a photo to my site and business did not stop short. In fact, if anything it has been better since I added the picture.

In fact I have found a bit of a niche market in designing for people like myself. Fat people who are tired of hiding in the shadows. Through their strength mine has continued to grow as well. I have moved from dark and drab to bright and vibrant in more areas than my wardrobe.

The invisible walls are crumbling and I am starting to walk away from the ruins. I can't get enough hugs from my husband or my daughter. I can walk arm and arm with a friend and not worry that everyone is staring at us. Ok, well, sometimes I do still worry, but I walk arm and arm and tell myself it is okay and I am not doing anything wrong.

It has taken a long, long time, but I am starting to learn that I am not the sum of the numbers on a scale. I deserve to be happy. To have friends, and a loving family, and nice clothes. I deserve to have dreams and to have them come true just like everyone else.

And those who are not going to be supportive can go to hell. I am sure there will be lots of "normal" people there to greet them.


Anonymous said...

Yea!!!!!! Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!!!

from a reader who "has such a pretty face" oh, how I hated that one!!!

happyduck1979 said...

Oooh, I did not even think to mention that!

Or the "You would be so pretty if..."

Shelly said...

this almost made me cry. you just described my whole life experience. except i WAS normal sized. i was about a 14. but that was grossly obese.

my grandma even said to me "when is the baby due?" when i was 12 and my mom just laughed at her "hilarious wit"

like you said, it took getting married to help move on. and with me, it also took the right mix of medication

happyduck1979 said...

well, meds did help too, but for anxiety and depression... nothing really chemical related and i believe nothing that would have needed treatment if I had not been so upset all the time to begin with!

jill andrew said...

I've created the Toronto Int. Body Image Film/Arts festival (BITE ME!) happening in March 2010 and I'd love to tell you more about it:)
Jill Andrew, PhD (cand.)
Toronto, ON

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You do deserve happiness. I say damn the people that teased us in school and said all of those hurtful things and did all of those hurtful things. I may be fat, but I'm beautiful and so are you! Dress the way you want to and if some don't like it, oh well. That's their problem. Keep up the good healing work! Be proud and flaunt the beautiful person you are! I do.