I originally wrote the following to post on the Fatshionista community on LiveJournal, but figured it was worth crossposting here as well.
According to the dubious measurements of the BMI scale, I am morbidly obese. As in Death Fat. I am super duper really for real maaaaad fat. I am the kind of fat where doctors are friendly until they get me on a scale, and then after that they get Very Somber and talk to me Seriously about my Weight Problem (which is why I no longer get on said scale at the doctor’s office). I am the kind of fat where I can’t always find stuff to fit me even in plus-size shops. I am the kind of fat a lot of people mean when they say, well, some people are just bigger, but people who are really fat are just not normal or healthy, and maybe those people SHOULD lose some weight. Those people are talking about me.
I adore cooking and refuse to keep anything less than real butter in my house (when in-laws visit, they bring their blasphemous butter-imitators for their own use, and sneak their horrid little yellow tub in and out of my fridge on the sly). I eat very little meat but not for moral or ideological reasons. I love a fine steak, once in awhile, or a delicious pile o’ bacon, but am only lukewarm about chicken and fish. I prepare and eat a ridiculous amount of fresh vegetables as the bulk of my diet, and have a serious weakness for good cheese. I keep a jar of bacon fat in my refrigerator, and I cook with it often. Yeah.
I exercise only sporadically. I take the stairs at work five or six times a day, but only because I am too impatient to wait for the elevator. By the tests and non-BMI numbers doctors use to measure such things, I am healthy, but this is mostly through divine providence and not through any real effort of my own.
I have a partner who unconditionally supports my fat acceptance, while struggling with his own. I have a decidedly not-fat family that is mostly supportive of my fat politics except for the very occasional lapse into the “…. but I’m just worried about your HEALTH,” rhetoric, and they rapidly backpedal when I call them on it. I live fully in this real and complicated world. On a social level, I’m not one who screws around on these matters, not with friends, not even with family; you can respect my body, or you can fuck right off.
I have been fat in varying degrees my whole life. My whole life. I never lost a ton of weight and got to feel a glimmer of what it might be like to be thin, or even average. Cumulatively, I’ve lost/regained tons of weight, over and over, for sure, and in my teens tried every commercial diet plan you can name. But I never lost enough to be officially not-fat. Never enough to shop in the not-fat stores, ever. Never enough that I wouldn’t reliably get fat-bashed when walking alone in my city. Never enough that a doctor’s ever said I was of a normal weight. Never enough that I didn’t, even for a second, feel like I wasn’t fat anymore.
There are lots of people fatter than me. There are people who are fatter and in better shape, there are people who are less fat and in worse condition. There are individual fat people with a far broader range of physical abilities than me, and individual fat people whose range of abilities is much narrower. There are also fat people whose abilities are simply different, and neither better nor worse. Choose a weight from the air, and I’ll bet you real money that I can line you up ten people at that weight with dramatically different bodies and experiences and lives. It’s okay to not always be the Good Fat Person. I don’t have to represent the best of fat people everywhere, and neither do you. I don’t have to defend my choices. They’re no one’s business but my own.
I am, plainly, morbidly obese. Death fat. I say this without attendant judgement. I say it not with an eager, fuzzy ring of reclamation, nor with self-loathing and fear. I’m just saying it. I am death fat, and this is my body, and it’s individual and unique to me. And I’m good with it.
This here is a call to the morbid to out ourselves. You don’t have to bike ten miles a day to make up for it. You don’t have to be “healthy” by anyone’s standards but your own. You don’t even have to be totally 100% really for real in love with your body. You don’t have to post pictures (unless you want to). You DO have to make an effort to not apologize. To not feel guilty (or ashamed). To just be yourself.
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