All my conscious life I’ve been living with a thought I am fat.
I remember the first time I heard this accusation from a peer in the kindergarten when we were about 4 or 5, I thought: “How did he find out I am fat?”. Until now I am trying to find an answer to the same question and it seems I will never get one.
How do people find out you are fat? What is this scary digit, this hidden sign, this thin line of gloom and grandeur to overstep and be considered as fat?
After a several-minute inner struggle between facebookianism and the body negative complex, I posted a photo of mine to see how it will be digested by my social circle. “I look fat. But confident. But fat,” rushed through my mind while I was updating my profile picture. A notifying avalanche of likes, flattering comments and heart-eyed PM’d emoticons made me beam with a shy Cheshire cat smile. The sun seemed to shine brighter, the deadlines further, the life more romantic.
And then my younger brother (who is straightforward and would better leave me in tears than feed me with sweet lies) wrote me a short message: “Hey, I am sorry for saying that, but I am just being honest. You look fat on that picture. You don’t look fat in real life, but there you do. You better delete it.” Babaaam. With shivers down my spine, bittersweet aftertaste, and winter coming, I actually didn’t get upset because he said that in my face without hesitation, no. I got upset because I asked myself the same question: “How did he find out I am fat?” Who has ever developed this sense of fatification in him? Who told him what is fat and what is not? Who introduced him to the concept of body shaming at all? And the answer was right there: I did.
Since early school years I remember myself balancing between being a cheerful easy going person (who has luckily never faded away) and realizing that my “fatness” actually causes some obstacles for that. From silly nursery rhymes and blatantly offensive bullying to rejections from guys and me seeing the difference in pictures standing next to skinny girlfriends, it all ended up the same way: me trying to prevent my parents from interfering (there is nothing more dangerous in this world than the mother of a humiliated child), crying hard, and giving myself countless promises that I will change it.
Just following the story of an ugly duckling, as a result of puberty, self-reflection, and supportive peeps, I lost some kilos and gained some confidence. For the past 5 years I have been enjoying what they call “the prime time of your life” (which I admit so far) with all its ups and mids and downs, but every now and then I found myself trying to exhaust my body with frantic gym sessions, do-you-even-call-it-eating diets, and resolutions to start a new, much healthier life “tomorrow”. Because a squeaky voice inside was telling me I was fat and my life could be better if I wasn’t.
And now my brother made me think. It was actually me complaining all the time that I am fat. It was me inspecting myself in front of the mirror coercing to detest what I saw. It was me eating chocolate, swearing, and still reaching for another bar. It was me denying compliments on my look. It was me telling I hate my belly. It was me reposting all those sarcastic demotivating body-weight posts. It was me praising slimmer girls, online and in real life. It was me asking my brother if I look fat and then rolling eyes in disbelief when he said I didn’t.
This voice inside me was not an annoying skinny friend who keeps complaining she is fat; it was not a mass admiration of Cara Delevingne; neither was it a social media group “40 kilos” who sowed the seed of self-doubt, lack of confidence, and body shaming – it was me who let it get to me.
It was me trivially dreaming of 90-60-90 proportions. It was me ascribing ones success to their divine forms. It was me judgmentally giggling at someone chubby entering McDonald’s. It was me breaking after seeing +2 kg on the scale as if it was the end of the world. It was me denying sincere compliments. It was me rejecting myself. It was me. It still is me.
It took me an entire life (well yeah, you may laugh at my early 20s wisdom) to realize that appearance should not be defined by likes, dear-fat-people videos, or an opinion differing from more common ones. Inferiority complex should not be developed by clothing sizes and dubious “your mom’s so fat” memes. You are not any less of an attractive person because you have more fat/curves/whatever-you-call-it than someone thinks you should have. All body types fitness studio, plus size model, and post-pregnancy talks should not be perceived as a statement, an act of courage, or an achievement because you don’t have to proclaim and fight for your right to be and like yourself the way you are. I am pretty sure I am not the only hearing that voice inside. Or not standing beachwear. Or knowing thousand and one poses to hide your belly/hips/arms. Or passing by crop tops and minis to the sound of a breaking heart.
This post doesn’t encourage anyone to celebrate obesity, give up going to the gym, or dislike slimmer people, no. This post is another attempt to let your inner self relax and stop being so critical. Yes, you are more than encouraged to make your sweet tooth tame, sweat on a treadmill, and fall in love with broccoli, but do so to grow in your own eyes, and not to feel like a haunted dog. Give yourself some love, because if you don’t do, no one else will. Pinch your side stomach skin, set your own inner frightened Amy Schumer free, and post that damn picture on your timeline.
Submitted to ArtParasites by Yulia Kryval