Most people will never understand what it’s really like for someone who carries extra weight around with them their whole lives. I am prepared to share the complete, brutal, admittedly terrible truth with anyone who will listen to me on this day.
Allow me to answer: “What is life really like for the fat girl?” We can begin with the most obvious…appearance. You stare wistfully at your reflection in the mirror. No matter which angle you turn, you just don’t quite look right. The features on your face, no matter how beautiful they may be, are dwarfed by the extra fat you carry in your face. Your eyes, which may be wide and lovely, look small and particularly deep set in your skull. Your stunning high cheekbones; hidden in totality by the layers of tissue covering them. Your chin; pronounced, is a buoy floating on the sea that is your double chin. You can apply makeup, and help make yourself look better to a certain degree, but you know that no one is going to compliment your shade of lipstick today.
The rest of your body is a mishmash of lumps and bumps, protrusions and strange angles that you know you simply cannot hide, regardless of what you wear. Your desperation turns to panic as you raid your closet and realize that you have nothing decent to wear. Your panic escalates to heart failure as you remember that you won’t be able to find anything to wear…ever. The pants you own hug your belly, butt and thighs as if the cloth itself were holding on for dear life. The shirts you don only seem to accentuate your spare tire and bring attention to your ever-expanding waist. You realize this is as good as its gonna get and vow to avoid mirrors for the remainder of the day.
You leave for work. As soon as you exert yourself in the simplest way you begin to leak copious amounts of sweat from pores you didn’t even know you had. You are constantly plagued by this problem, and try to move as little as possible, because you know if you do, you’ll start to sweat again, and everyone will see it. If the bathroom, supply room, lunch room, whatever is downstairs you will put off going for as long as possible because you know that the simple climb up those stairs will cause those telltale beads of sweat to form along your brow…the one’s that scream “Look at the fatty, she cant even climb a flight of stairs without breaking into a sweat!!!”
You eat your lunch. Regardless of what you decide to have, you know that people are silently judging you. Salad or pizza, everyone is either thinking, “She should NOT be eating that” or “How pathetic, like a salad is going to fix THAT problem”. In addition, you struggle with your own guilt and self-loathing. If you pick the salad, you will be tortured with the smells of that penne a la vodka wafting off your friend’s plate. If you pick the pasta, you beat yourself up and don’t enjoy a single bite of it. Either way, you loose.
You go shopping. You dare not even attempt to walk into most of the stores in the mall. You have tried it before and were immediately put to shame by the disapproving glances of the sales people or your fellow shoppers. You realize that the largest size they carry is a 12, and since you are a 28, there is no way that is happening. Sadness overwhelms you when you realize all you can buy in the vast majorities of stores are socks, shoes, and earrings. You make your way to the “big girls” store and walk in, shameful, hoping no one saw you. Your heart aches as you ponder the wares being offered to you. Bottoms that are ill fitting and make you look twice as heavy as you are. Tops that are just as ill fitting that make you feel like you are wearing a garbage bag with holes cut out for the head and arms.
Everything offered is in garish colors like lime green or neon pink. The materials used are cheap polyester blends that just intensify your own body heat and will make you (surprise!!) sweat like a pig. You may find a few items that could potentially look OK on you and you say a prayer as you take them to the fitting room. As you try these items on you are not surprised by the result. You look fat…and the clothes only make it that much worse. Of course you need pants and sweaters, so you buy the closest thing to “ok” that you can find. Naturally you pay more for these items than your thinner counterparts because the stores know you only have one or two retailers to choose from, so if they charge 60.00 for a pair of basic black slacks…you are gonna have to pay it. No $10.00 items for you fatty!
You go out with your friends. While your thin girlfriends get drink after drink bought for them, you bear the shame of reaching into your wallet over and over again. While they attract positive attention, flirt shamelessly, steal kisses and get numbers you hover near the bar, pull at your ill-fitting clothing and wish you were invisible. If by chance some guy happens to pay you some attention you now its one of three things…Either; the guy is not someone that you would want to be with, they are super drunk and rocking beer goggles, or it’s the work of the super hot guy who is trying to bed your thin friends wingman. Sure, it could be just a guy who likes bigger girls…but come on, who the heck are we kidding? You know deep down that you will never attract the kind of guy you would want to be with long term.
That perfect guy, who is fit and handsome, has a great job and a great personality, who is funny and witty, who has great friends and a great family, who you would be proud to have on your arm and who will treat you right. That decent guy is out there, and although he would never be mean to you because he is far to kind, and although he would never poke fun at you because his mother taught him good manners, and although he may buy you a drink because it is the polite thing to do…you know that he will never turn to you, gaze into your eyes, kiss you softly and tell you that you are “the one”. Why? Because he is not attracted to you. Sure, you can get a guy, get a date, get someone to take you home…but is that really the guy that you would pick if you could pick anyone? The answer is NO. Let’s be honest.
You live carefully and are forced to ponder and worry about things your thin counterparts give absolutely no thought to. When you take a ride in a friends car you worry that you will not be able to fit in the backseat, and if there are others riding along, you worry you will squish them. The idea of getting into a two-door cars backseat terrifies you. How will you be able to get in and out gracefully? You won’t. Period. Going to a movie theater or a show strikes fear into your heart because you know you will either not fit in the seat or will be squished into discomfort taking the person to the right and left to the same hell you will be visiting thanks to your encroaching fat.
Getting on a plane makes you nauseous. What if the airline decides you need two seats? What if the seatbelt doesn’t reach? What if you cant fit in the seat? Let’s say all goes well and you are not asked to pay for another seat, you cannot mistake the looks of disgust and anger on the face of the guy you are sitting next to. You knew what he was thinking the entire time you walked down the aisle…”Please don’t let her sit next to me…please God”. Then you sit, you buckle your belt (if lucky) and then are embarrassed by the flight attendant who makes it a point to check your belt just to be sure you got it on. She checks you because she figures you weren’t able to buckle it. You can’t fault her for doing her job, but your face burns with shame for the rest of the flight.
Then there’s your health. Your knees creak under your added weight. Your feet swell and throb due to the extra pressure placed on your feet. Your back hurts all the time because of the extra girth you place on your poor vertebrae. Your skin expands and is ruined by silver gray streaking stretch marks that tear through your pink flesh as if being done by an invisible ripper. You suffer through pimples, blackheads and boils that form in the places where your fat rubs together over and over again. Your inner thighs and underarms are stained permanent brown due to the fact your skin has thickened thanks to the constant friction.
Your blood pressure is above normal, you are pre-diabetic, and your cholesterol is sky high. Of course even if you are able to kid yourself into thinking you are “totally healthy” you cannot deny knowing that if you stay at this weight you will NOT stay that way forever. Your friends and family are supportive and you know they love you but they will not let you forget, not even for a moment, how much weight you’ve gained or how much better you would look if you lost some weight. You know they are right, but it still hurts when they bring this up. You feel inadequate and useless. You try to fool yourself into thinking that its ok to be fat like this.
You read up on sites that proclaim “FAT? So what..?” and study sites that rally for fat acceptance. You hear people that look just like you proclaim that they are happy with their weight, that they love their bodies, and that they wouldn’t change it for the world. You listen to them say that society is the problem and that others should be more tolerant because we are all meant to be different. You pump your fist in righteous indignation and agree with them, heck, you may even truly come to believe in their bylines. However, there is always a part of you that knows that what you are is not accepted, not natural and not attractive. You know, deep down, that you are the problem…not everyone else. You also know that if a magic potion were offered to you that would melt away your fat and make you lean and toned you would take it without hesitation. You also know that all those “fat acceptance” people on those websites…deep down…would too.
This is the reality of being obese. This is what it is like. Maybe not everyday, but just enough days to make you really seriously consider becoming a hermit.