I Am Fat — And That’s More Than OK
Posted by Kenyetta Whitfield
April 7, 2017
I am fat. Of all the things that shape my identity, being fat probably falls within the top 5 most important. I’ve been fat for about as long as I can remember. My mother sometimes tells me forgotten old memories about the first few years of my life when I was thinner but those days are long gone. One of my most well-read pieces of published writing even centers in part, around me being a fat woman. So, once again — I am fat.
Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself thinking more about my future life plans. One plan in particular had stuck out for me. Many people who know me know that I’d like to have four children. As an only child, I’ve always longed for a large family and four has always seemed like the perfect amount. However, recently I began to think about the realities of being a fat person and having children. What if I have complications? What if I gain even more weight? How will I manage to find someone happy enough with my body to even have children with me?
All of those are questions I asked myself. And in that moment I became overcome with fear and guilt. I felt guilty for allowing myself to be okay with my size for almost 21 years. For having second helpings and jumbo sized drinks. For not joining more sports or sticking with my gym memberships in early high school. But most of all, I felt myself shrinking. With each moment of pondering how I could accept my fatness, I could feel my self-worth shrinking.
Depression and anxiety run in my family so I have an intimate relationship with low self-worth. My lowest of lows have come from simply looking at my body in the mirror and being unable to comprehend why I had to look the way I did. In my previous relationship I consistently asked myself how someone could live with themselves knowing they were attracted to a human potato. To put it simply — I am hard on myself. But it isn’t just the mirror that triggers bouts of self-hatred.
It’s the constant exposure to before and after pictures on my Instagram explore page tagged #extremeweightloss and #changeyourdestiny. It’s the dreaded conversation with my boss who is on Weight Watchers and brings it up any time there is food in the room. And most of all, it is the fact that I as a fat person feel that any and all conversation about exercise, eating or weight loss is a personal attack on me. While that could seem self-centered or childish it is the reality.
Why does my destiny require changing based on my size? More importantly, why aren’t body positive communities more openly pushing for full on acceptance of the body that you currently inhabit? It is important that fat bodies over 200 lbs or 300 lbs or 400 lbs feel that they are enough as they are. Not that they will start to be enough once they become an “acceptable fat.” I am fat and I am acceptable. If you are fat, you are acceptable.