The F Word

I’m wondering why you’re scared of the word “fat”.

I got this really beautiful floral tattoo all over my chubby lil arm by a magical woman and I off-hand said to someone, “I covered my lil chubster arm in flowers!” and watched them cringe before smiling, unsure of what to say.

Realizing quickly that calling my arm chubby had made someone so uncomfortable led to a quick decision to point out each time someone asks to see my new tattoo that my arm is, in fact, fat, just like the rest of me.

But still, I wonder why you are upset about it.

I have been wracking my brain over this one. Is it perhaps because you see fat people as less valuable, less attractive, less everything but mass and here I am, happy to be so? Perhaps, but what exactly are the repercussions of this causing you to cringe?

I sat on a bench recently with two witch friends and watched more joggers than I could count hustle by, one audibly justifying their slow pace with a list of the other workouts they’re doing, ashamed they were heavy-breathing their way through a jog.

A conversation with a co-worker’s family member led to her telling me how much weight she lost by eating less and doing a minimum of exercise, on a day where we went a good seven hours between dinner and a half-sandwich for lunch.

Another woman who told me she hates to cook and thus, hates to eat, called me a “foodie” because I described the great feelings of self efficacy that follow being able to provide your body with delicious fuel that makes you feel good about yourself and the world.

After describing her dismay at being confused with a “heavyset” woman, a beautiful woman gestured to her own body and said, “I used to be kind of bigger but I’m not even…” before giving up on words and just poking herself in the belly, rather than saying the word “fat”.

Right now, I am a lucky gal and get to test-run a cool job in what I’ve been told is the chillest part of Canada–beautiful British Columbia. “Beautiful British Columbia” adorns license plates and leaves me with a small, tight knot in my stomach as I find myself surrounded by thin, white, upper-middle class folks who are open to piercings and tattoos but closed to diversity.

Everything is beautiful and wonderful and real chill but constantly running through my mind is whether or not I can survive somewhere that only celebrates difference it is comfortable with, when I am a brown, poor, queer, fat girl.

We decide arbitrarily that certain people are more worthy than others. It happens in many forms: skin colour, culture, gender, sexual preference, body size, hair length, literally any piece of rubbish we can come up with. But it’s simple: we are all deserving of so much. My worth is not lessened because I am fat, just as it is not lessened because I am mixed race, or queer, or a cis-woman.

So why is it that you are scared of the word “fat”? Why is it that you pretend I didn’t say it, ignore it altogether?

I am fat and as it turns out, it’s fucking fine. It’s great actually.

My body feels like a powerful form of physical resistance against patriarchal ideas that I ought to be as close as I can to nothingness, to double-zero sizes that literally ask me to be nothing on nothing. And I’m not sure if you knew this, but I am fucking beautiful, fat body emphatically included.

This is not to say that I am not ever self-conscious. Or that I don’t struggle with the pressure to be thinner or eat less or exercise more. Or that I am not deeply scared I won’t find love because you can’t internally deconstruct the patriarchal beauty standards that control what makes a dick hard.

But it is because of this that I refuse to be quiet about being fat. I will happily show you this great tattoo on my fat arm and I will say fat every time and I will enunciate the word clearly, singing it at a volume that will make you tremendously uncomfortable by the joy in my voice, in hopes that you will hear how few fucks I give. In hopes that you will care less. In hopes that someone within shouting-distance will hear how much I love myself and feel maybe like it is okay to love themselves too, no matter what size they are.

Mountains of gratitude to macdoninri for the beautiful graphic in this post.

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