Friday, November 13, 2009


I am pretty.
I am intelligent.
I am charming.
I am funny.
I am loving.
I am compassionate.
I am fun.
I am kind.
I am talented.


I am fat. Not just overweight. Not just curvy. I am obese. And too often that seems to trump all of my attractive qualities.

I wasn’t always fat. My parents say that I was a skinny pre-schooler. My kindergarten, first, and second grade pictures show a narrow face along with the mussed hair and missing teeth. But the third grade picture? Round face, chubby cheeks. I have no idea what happened in that year, maybe it’s as simple as hormones kicking in.

(How awesome are those red shoes??)

Whatever it was, that was the beginning of my struggle with fat. For the rest of my school years, I was overweight. All those years, I thought I was HUGE. My mother frequently patted my cheeks and said, “You’re such a pretty girl. If only you’d lose 10 (20, 30, 50) pounds…” (Ah, the anger just typing that generates!)

I bloomed early. I had a curvy, very womanly figure as early as 6th grade. I don’t remember trying to lose weight but I do remember being very embarrassed by my size and I was teased a lot and called awful names by the other kids. I played basketball in junior high, took dance classes, and sang in choir…but I spent every recess and lunchtime reading by myself.

When I got to high school, I discovered the theater and boys. I had good success with both – played the leads in plays and the second leads in musicals (because the lead can’t be a fat girl, y’know, even if she has the best voice in school) and dated a lot.

When I graduated from high school, I weighed around 170. Yes, overweight for a girl 5’4” with a small-ish frame, but not HUGE. Frankly, I was dead sexy. I was a brick house. I would give my big toes to have that body now!

(1983 was a good year for corduroy and fake logs. And how weird is it that my hairstyle has come full circle - except for the curling iron torture, it looks almost exactly the same now.)

I made a series of bad decisions over the next decade (tried and failed at college 3 times, married the wrong man), which led to a lot of depression and thus a lot of inactivity and comfort eating. I became HUGE. Not cut-the-side-of-the-house-open huge but fat enough that buying clothes that fit nicely is an issue. My body looks now the way my mother made me feel all those years ago.

(This photo is a few years old - the body is still pretty much the same but the hair is soooo much longer!)

I have struggled not only with my actual body but also with my feelings about it. I understand that my body is not attractive to the mainstream and yet I feel sexy and beautiful most of the time. Sometimes I want to be a “normal” size and sometimes I am perfectly happy with my body the way it is. I don’t want to be thin – I like my curves and don’t want to lose them. I do want to be healthier, move easier, and be more active…and those things will only happen if my body is smaller.

I had knee replacement surgery on both knees in the last year. There were at least three contributing factors – an injury, heredity, and my weight – but I have to believe that my weight was the major cause. Those surgeries brought me to the realization that my weight is taking a toll on my body even though I don’t have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. So I joined a gym 6 weeks ago and I am getting into the habit of exercising. I am starting to notice small changes and I have lost 6 pounds.

I know that losing weight will make me healthier as well as more physically appealing but there is a part of me that is ANGRY because I have to change my outside before most people will take the time to get to know my inside. I am an amazing, interesting woman with so much to offer – why is it so hard for people to look at me as a PERSON because I am FAT? I am tired of being invisible. Funny thing, that – I am usually the fattest person in the room but people often treat me like a piece of furniture. It’s an amazing and sad thing to witness people’s ability to not see me.

I think I lost the point of this post somewhere. I'm not looking for sympathy or for praise for my current efforts. This was triggered by yet another incident where I was ignored in that way that only happens to those who are fat or disabled. People don’t want to SEE us.

Too bad they don’t realize that if they would SEE me, they would discover someone wonderful.


  1. I feel your plight. I too am a chunky monkey (sorry if that offends). I have been a chunk ymonkey all my life - however, I can touch my toes without dying, I can tie my shoes, I can turn cartwheels and can work a great back bend, I can shop from normal stores & buy things right off the rack - but the world wants smaller people & its unfair. It appears to be more acceptable as a drug addict than someone overweight.

  2. Feeling good about yourself is the most important thing.

    And I think you're beautiful. =)

  3. I'm not fat, not even overweight, but I am also invisible, so I know what that feels like. I hope things improve for you soon.

  4. You have the most beautiful face--your eyes, your smile, I guess I never really considered the rest of your body before. You're so smart, compassionate, funny...I hope too that someone SEES that soon. Your attitude towards your body is incredibly healthy, BTW.

  5. I have several good friends who are clinically obese, but when I'm with them that is not what I see at all. Some of them are/have tried to make lifestyle changes and some are just accepting their weight. It's a personal choice/decision.

    That said I applaud you for attempting to achieve a healthier life style. Talk to any older person and they will tell you if you don't have your health you don't have much of a life!

  6. girl, first, i don't care if you're looking for applause or not, i congratulate you for taking the first step. you know what they say about every journey...

    secondly, the older i get the more i have realized that people never change. the snobby, gossipy, cliquish girls are still alive and present, even in my near 30s. If you didn't struggle with your weight, it would be something else - trust me. As you know if you've read my blog at all that women don't like me before they even meet me. I know you know all of this and how fickle and selfish people can be - but i thought i'd say it anyway cus it is something i struggle with continually as well.

    it has sort of led to me living my life as a hermit.

  7. Kimberly - I can touch my palms to the floor and can definitely tie my shoes...I am oddly flexible but could never do a backbend. lol I agree with you about the perception of addicts vs. the perception of fat people.

    Ivy - smooch.

    Anon - I hope things improve soon, too. I am actively doing what I can to make that happen.

    Greenie - Thank you…the compliments about my looks are much appreciated, of course, but (as you might guess) the nice things you said about my character are the ones that really touch me. Those three particular things – smart, compassionate, funny – are what I aim for more than anything else. Although probably in reverse order. LOL I’ve been thinking about your comment about my body attitude since I first read it this afternoon. I guess I never really thought about my body image – it just is. I do know that I puzzle over women who can’t take a compliment or who denigrate themselves. How will anyone else think I’m amazing if I don’t?

    Fannie - It's the rest of my life I'm thinking about...and the way my foot injury and knee problems affected my life these last few years. I do NOT want that to be my future.

    Blunt - Thanks, I'm not sure I'm ready for this particular lifelong journey, but I'm on the road.

  8. I empathize with you. I feel you. I have struggled my whole life...i am proud of you for exercising. I just joined a gym...and as I was scrolling over to your page (i got here from kizz's comments) i was already thinking, ehhhh. I dont wanna get up early.

    but i'm going to. we can do this. one step at a time.

    i'm proud of you. this was really good writing.

  9. hey darlin! history is a good predictor of outcomes..not perfect mind you...but ......your personal history with men is an indicator of what is to come......UNLESS.............something changes to swing peoples perception.

    I am very much a realist.....reality trumps everything...... fantasy, prayer, hoping for change are not plans. period. Being happy in your skin of course is terribly important for personal peace. faking personal happiness is......not good. I really hate to see people in my heart goes out to you...... given that ..i see patients with health problesm who let their body go to the trash can then want to know what can be done...sorry..its too ve had 45 years of unhealthy living...thats what you had forty years to figure it out and didnt..... with all the resources available you......sat on the couch....please find a way to make peace with all this.....

  10. Zelda - I go to the gym after work (because I already get up early enough) and every afternoon I think the same thing: ehhhh, I don't wanna go! But I go and I'm always glad I did. I'm waiting for that magical day when the workout is enjoyable. LOL

    Trey – When I posted this, I expected that your comments would be, well, the least pleasant. I did not expect you to be so judgmental. I am not going to respond to any of it because I know it would be pointless and I don’t need to defend myself. I have made peace with my past but I refuse to let my past dictate my future. I thank God for the hope and strength He gives me new every day and I am using that strength to do the work necessary to make changes in my life.

    Oh, and Trey? You have not even begun to know me well enough to call me “darlin’.”

  11. I've seen both worlds.

    I lost over 100 pounds, by running, and now everytime I go a week or two without working out, I see myself back to the girl I used to be.

    It's a constant struggle but if you have the support and the drive, you can do anything.

  12. Good for you! Taking the first step is the hardest thing to do.

    Good luck! :)