I understand that a lot of people don't 'get' what it feels like to be...fat. I honestly can't blame them. How can they, if they have never been fat, overweight, obese, large, big, huge, heavy, morbidly obese, before? Just the same as with anything else in life, we can't TRULY understand unless we have actually experienced it before.
Sure, there are times when we can feel similar to how someone feels, or we can try to, and there's some people who are gracious empathetic souls. But unless you've been there, unless you've gritted your nails into your Size 26 right thigh to stop you from breaking completely down when someone fractures the thin shred of what can barely be called self esteem that you were savouring, then absolutely no offence intended, you can't TRULY understand. It's ok, you haven't felt that, it's not your fault. I'm happy for you that you haven't had to feel that before!
But do you want to understand? Do you want to have a little insight? Read on. This is written by the heart of a fat girl. It's not exactly the same for every fat girl, this is just written from my heart....but it's an honest insight, if you really want to know. Don't feel sorry for me / us. That is not the intention. This is just to give you a partial look into...a fat girls heart.
IT'S THE PIPE DREAM OF BEING A BALLERINA by Coco Girl
How does it feel? It's the assumption that people describe you by your size when explaining who you are, rather than on hair colour, personality, anything else. It's the brick like weight pulling you down with every step you take - physically, and metaphorically. It's the scanning of the shop before you even enter, to determine if there are any clothes than may remotely fit. It's the not entering of said shops to avoid awkward stares from non-fat sales girls. It's the cupboard full of clothes that includes a little pile in the corner that actually fits. It's the pile of clothes that really, you would never choose if you had the choice: the oversized T-shirts to cover your hips; the cheap Size 26 3/4 pants that you are too afraid to wear because they could rip up the backside as soon as you bend over and it makes you wonder why they even made them in a big size with cheap material in the first place; the cardigans that you never button up because people may notice that 1 button is missing because you tried to hide your big stomach one day, and that would be more embarrassing than not buttoning up; the 4 pairs of staple shoes because every pair of shoes hurts.your.feet.; the fat singlets that you dream of one day not wearing; the pair of pants that is falling apart but you continue to wear it because you refuse to spend any more money on fat clothes because one day soon you won't need to wear them, and besides, you don't deserve new clothes.
It's the stretch marks that you find before hopping in the shower that make your heart sink - you thought all of yours had faded. It's the plasticine looking shoulders from when your bra straps dig into your shoulders, making you look like a Lego man with ridges. It's the deep seated panic that rises in your throat as soon as you take one step inside a shopping centre, on the street, on public transport, anywhere where there are people...people who could see how big you are...people who could stare...people who could whisper... It's the following comfort you feel as soon as you enter a safe place (your car, or your home). It's the magic of possibilities of how life would feel if you were a 'normal' weight that you allow yourself to dream of occassionally.
It's the cupboard full of clothes that range from Size 10-26. It's the little fear that you feel whenever sitting on a new chair, just in case it breaks. It's the sore tops of your feet you get when you try to put most of your weight onto one foot instead of onto chairs that you just can't be sure about. It's the one coloured bra amongst the standard black, white or skin colour that you bought in a heartbeat when you saw that a near-pretty and coloured bra was actually in your size...but it didn't really 'hold you in' when you wore it so you only wear it on washing day...and you put it on top of all of the other bras in your drawer to make you feel like you have pretty bras. It's the photos that you wish you could put up on Facebook, but you don't. It's the privacy setting you created on Facebook that means you can see which photos of you are added before accepting them to be on your profile.
It's the sadness you feel when you go to a 'dressy' event that you should feel excited about deciding what to wear. It's the uniform black pants and oversized black top that you wear to such 'dressy' events- something that your Grandmother might choose. It's the glittering earrings and dazzling hair that you spend an hour on, hoping that they will take the focus away from your black 'dressy' uniform and make people think that you actually dressed up. It's the envy you suppress when your friends glow in their bright coloured, little dresses. It's the red marks covering your body when you undress, from clothes being too tight.
It's the pretending of being very busy with your camera (it may be broken!!) so that you don't get eyeballed or dragged onto the dancefloor to dance the Time Warp. Even though you would deep inside love to. It's the hurt that you feel in every pore of your skin when you hear someone talk about your weight. It's the humiliation that you feel when someone asks you not to lean on their car, or asks you to swap seats inside their car to even out the tyre pressure. They don't always say it but you know why. It's the anger and desperation that you feel when people tell you that you need to lose weight - amidst the plain confusion as to whether they think that you are actually as dumb as fat, that you didn't realise this earlier?
It's the pure jealousy that you feel when your male friend flirts with the skinny girl at lunch and calls her cute. It's the peanut M&M's that you promise yourself later to help you feel better. It's looking upwards in photos to attempt to shield the 3 double chins that's turned into one. It's your continual '4 boobs'. It's the rings that you wear in your jewellery box because they hurt your fingers, if you can now get them on at all. It's the lie that you tell your friends that it's because of a skin condition. It's the lie that you only just realised was a lie because you only just realised the truth yourself. It's the limping when you first start to walk after sitting because your bones have had a rest and are now again in use. Ouch!
It's the shock that a friend actually physically screamed (slightly) when she saw you after a year of piling on even more kilos because she was shocked by your appearance. It's the Samboy BBQ and Chicken Twisties (large) packets that you console yourself in that night. It's the rocky road ice-cream that follows. It's the invitations you decline to parties because it's nice to have a break from the embarrassment that surrounds you. Besides, you wore your one uniform 'dressy' outfit last night. It's the Facebook profile photo that you spent 36 minutes trying to find because you needed a photo that was decent, but that people may actually believe was taken recently (when really it was taken 20kg ago). It's the food that you don't eat in public. It's the tears that sting the backs of your eyeballs throughout the day until you can release them into your pillow at night.
It's the Weight Watchers magazine that you lie face down in your shopping trolley so that people don't see that you're buying it. It's being not really sure why. It's the piercing arrow in your heart when you realise that some friends value light kilos more than your personality. It's the family sized Crunchie Cadbury block that you have in your handbag. It's the undies that roll down as soon as you take one step. It's the tissue or paperwork that you hide over the family bag of lollies that you brought to work for a morning tea snack so that people won't see. It's the laughing you do as someone picks up the little Size 8 and swings them around...when really you're just wishing that that could be you. It's the wearing dirty clothes because you forgot to wash and you only have 3 outfits that fit. But that's ok, you haven't had pride in your appearance for a while now.
It's the one favourite outfit of these 3 that makes you feel more confident - and when you actually look at what it is, you can't believe that it's your 'favourite'. It's the singlet that you have to wear under every top to attempt to hold in some of the fat rolls. It's the Googling of aeroplane seat dimensions and holding a ruler up to your backside before flying somewhere. It's the complete abandonment of train rides for 3 years because you don't fit on one seat, and the social anxiety of even standing on a train would be too much to bear. It's the honest surprise you feel when someone admits your size, or a doctor writes down "obese": "shit, they know!"
It's the 4 year old little girl who was turned away by ballet teachers because she wasn't the right size. It's the pain that you feel when your mother stops telling the story so that she doesn't hurt you but you already know. It's the same 4 year old girl who was encouraged to start school at 5 as she was the same size as the 6 year olds and she would 'fit in better' if she did. It's the deer-in-headlights humiliation you feel as someone accidentally views your 'before' photos you forgot to remove from your camera. It's the pretence to the check-out girl that you're shopping for your nephews 5th birthday party. You don't even have a nephew. It's actually for your Thursday evening snacks.
It's the pipe dream of being a ballerina. It's the relief you feel when you walk past a bigger woman on the street. Not because there's someone bigger than you, but because you know that at least one person you walked past wasn't judging you. It's the terror when you have a pain in your chest: not as much because it could be a heart attack, but because people will know it's because of your weight. It's wanting to stop parents calling their babies/kids 'piggy' - even though it's in pure endearment, if that kid also happens to grows up to be overweight, they will be hurt by this name: I know.
It's being the heaviest girl in your Grade 4 class when you learn about weight and mass. It's the laughing with your friends about having to get off the theme park water ride because your weight sunk the floating swan before you could go anywhere...laughing to mask the inside horror and humiliation. It's actually knowing what it feels like to want a floor to swallow you up after someone makes a public comment about your weight. It's the digging of your fingers into your thigh to distract you from crying. It's the grit that is now your middle name.
It's the tears that you've cried, the pain that you've eaten, the KFC that you've consoled yourself with, the humiliation that you've been opened up with and the embarrassment that you've hidden. It's the teddy that you hug to sleep each night while you can escape from being 'the fat girl' for a few hours. It's the heart that is broken in more ways than one. Hurt, and shattered from years of judgement and tears. Shattered so much, that the need for comfort and solace in food is actually bigger than the need to lose weight. It may not make sense unless you've experienced all of these things in this list, plus many more.
But.........if you're lucky, it's this broken heart that holds the HOPE and the FAITH that one day you will turn this all around as you take those first few courageous steps of your journey, towards a healthier, and in some ways more importantly, happier, you.