We should call it what it is. I am a size 18. I have wide hips. Thick thighs. T&A. Everything about my body is exaggerated, except my delicate wrists. Even my hats have to be size XL (a fact my husband teases me about endlessly, with good humor.)
I don’t have a reason for being fat. I mean, I could point to factors, just like everyone else. My anxiety. My eating disorder. Growing up in a culture where food = love. But plenty of people I know who came up in the exact same world are far skinnier. So excuses, these are not.
Hiding Inside Myself
I used to hide inside my own body. I’ve had bad posture for as long as I can remember, because at 5’10” I was taller than most of the boys by middle school. I wore baggy clothing and shapeless shirts and pants – never dresses or shorts, no matter how hot the San Diego sun was that day.
I was a swimmer, and took solace in the advantage my height served in the water. It also made me weightless. I could glide like a fish and forget the extra baggage for an hour or two. Under the surface, dimensions were distorted.
Puberty & My First Fat Girl Crisis
Puberty was… terrifying. All of a sudden my height was compounded by frizzy hair and glasses and braces and my period and oh dear god someone just hide me in a closet for the next five years. I was bullied and paranoid and anxious and completely exhausted all of the time. My primary memories from high school were fighting to stay awake in class, every single day. It’s probably not a surprise when I tell you that I was not a great student.
I’ve been hiding my whole life. Then two HUGE things happened.
I had kids. And in the fashion world, the plus-size revolution began.
Diversity in Fashion & Fat Identity
I’m not that old – I’m only 35. But when I was a teenager, Forever21 Plus and Torrid and Lane Bryant and Eloquii and SwimsuitsForAll and Dia&Co. and Gwynnie Bee and all of the other plus-size brands took up no space in the universe. Major brands did not make my size, and if they did, the clothing was hopelessly unflattering or just a bigger version of something horrific like the Mom jean or the babydoll crop tee. It was NOT a good look
Creating and growing and pushing out two kids taught me that I’m actually quite healthy, thankyouverymuch, and suddenly I could purchase something on-trend to cover up those healthy bits. In fact, I had multiple choices at my local mall, and the online world was a damn smorgasbord of options. I could buy things that were tight and pleather, flowy and floral, cropped or extra-long without judgement. I could even rent evening gowns in my size!
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I am at peace every single day with being fat. Loving yourself, no matter what you look like, is a constant struggle. It doesn’t just HAPPEN. You work to get to that place.
But for the first time, I know who I am. I know my worth. Hell yes, I’m fat. Now let’s talk about the things that actually matter.