I often wonder what people see when they look at me, do they see my eyes, my smile? or my stomach and thighs? I had a quick conversation this week with a guy at work that joked with me that I had a crush on him. My bitter response was so tell them that I don’t have crushes on people because most of the time I am disappointed. The truth, to be female and be fat is like having every part of your sexuality, femininity and beauty stripped from you every time someone calls you that one little word. You grow up being 12 years old having to wear clothes in the woman’s section of stores because the market for young women’s clothing doesn’t include the fat girls. My nick name in 6th grade was earthquake and big bertha, and at that point when I cried about it I was harassed even more. I would go to the principles office and be told that they could only talk to them.
I started getting angry after that, the rest of middle school was my bitter rage against the world, and when I entered high school I found that making people laugh was a good way to hide my insecurities. I clung to people hoping for friendships that were one sided. It was my self label of knowing I was fat, and my messed up home life that kept me from having good close friends. Every year I had a different table in the lunch room that I sat at, my friends in middle school didn’t like me very much because I wasn’t in to drugs like they were.
I then found something I was good art. I would consider myself a realistic artist, I’m not one of those I will die for art types. I am the I have an idea, lets figure out how to make it a reality. I love making things with my hands, I get annoyed when people come up to me and go “wow that’s really good”. I proceeded to hide in guy clothes, I hid my body from the world in high school, I wore sweats and hoodies, my hair was always up and I never let anyone see anything other than my hands and face. it was mostly self inflicted shame for the hope that people wouldn’t notice my body. I became that person that would have a comeback for every time you wanted to harass me.
In art class I could hide, mostly in my head allowing me to forget about my pain that I had been hiding for my whole life. I thought that it helped for a while, but when my parents divorced in sophomore year my art suffered. I stopped painting, the concentration that I needed and the sprit that I had for it left. I partially blame it on the fact that my art teacher wouldn’t allow me to paint when I broke my arm, it was during the hardest month of my life. I was bitter for the fact that I loved painting and I wanted that escape but couldn’t find it because of my arm. It suffered, I haven’t picked up a paint brush the same again.
It was junior year that I became more engrossed in learning. I went and saw bowling for columbine after seeing Michael Moore on oprah. That started my big thing about gun control, I started to look more critically at society and how I had been scorn for the wrong reasons. For some reason this was my empowerment that I had been looking for. I cut my hair short, started wearing clothes that actually looked nice on me, I was starting to realize that this is what I wanted my life to be for. I was still the same bitter person but in a nice shiny package.
My first ever diet was the summer before senior year. I lost 15 pounds, I was unhappy with how slow my progress was. Heavy people are constantly bombarded with people telling them “just lose weight”, but the difference between that and what the truth is that growing up in a household where everyone is heavy, you have a higher chance of also being heavy. It comes down to more than just what you eat. If you go into a restaurant and watch heavy people eat come paired to thin people, we eat faster. Well I say we but I have somewhat battled this. When we eat slower our brain catches up to our stomach and we eat less.
After the 15 pounds I stopped working out, I gained back the weight, and during senior year, I started working out in January 2004 and successfully lost 30 pounds. I lost it for prom, but was still unsuccessful in getting a date. After prom I got more into sociology and weight related issues. I started looking at how advertising shows an exploited view on what thin is, and how it is used to give girls like my self a poor body image. We are tricked into believing that we will find someone to fill the emptiness we feel if we only take a few pounds off. Most of the time girls do it by doing the worst things possible, not eating and just generally dieting by being uneducated about the subject.
When going into college I was going to get a graphic design degree when I started looking in advertising, and marketing. I realized that I wanted to change how advertising has based its marketing on the socially accepted view that being fat is to be unloved and ugly. Most of the time when people ask me what I am going to school for I tell them, a double major in marketing and graphic design, but my long time goal is to start a magazine designed to show all women how to correctly diet if they choose but to educate them on the wrong doings of society by making women believe that thin is beautiful and is the only acceptable body. At some point I might get a political science degree, I might change my mind what I want my life to be about. But I want to change how other girls grow up so that they live their life without the scars I have in mine.