I learned at a very young age that nobody wants to be fat. In elementary school, for example, my peers would whisper “bubble butt” from across the library, pointing at me. My best friend at the time would be the one to reveal this crucial information to me. So I clenched my butt for years, which is a funny story I tell to friends, like a joke, like it didn’t really happen. I never say why I did it, or why I still think about it now. It’s just a joke, and I have to tell that to myself every time.
Fast forward to 2007, 10th grade. My body: a war zone. After being hospitalized over the summer, I was prescribed Prozac, and as a result I gained about 30lbs. My boobs were the first to blow up, and all the boys knew it, in fact, I think they noticed before I did. Addison Lane performed “The Hooters Test” on me. You only passed if your boobs were bigger than your stomach. I passed, filling me with relief and shame.
I taught myself to eat less and to vomit shame. If I ate too much, I could just throw up, but only up to fifteen minutes after eating. If you wait too long it doesn’t count. These rules didn’t change anything, I wasn’t losing weight, I wasn’t happier, it was just a different shade of sick.
Things have changed. The game has changed. I wear crop tops now. I say things like, “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. I do yoga.
In a world where body acceptance is a responsibility, I hold myself to a standard. I must be the leader. I am the fat one, I was always the fat one, and now I have to rise to the occasion and tell everyone it is okay to be fat like me. The problem is that I find myself pretending more often than not. I put on my “thin face” so I can say these things without terror in my eyes.
Sometimes I forget that I’m 250 lbs, I let my gut rest, I release the chins, and I am whatever I don’t realize I am for about thirty minutes. A lot of people don’t talk about the effort that goes in to holding your body in place; it hurts, like when you scowl at your significant other for too long. Nothing like belly aching laughter.
I still laugh, and I’ll keep laughing about it, and I’ll probably even continue doing yoga.