Big As You Feel
I long for the days as a kid, where I would eagerly waited to be big. My “bigness” was a trait I adored. I was the one my friends relied on to grab the cookies on top of the fridge and I could get to the top shelf in the hallway closet where anything from Christmas Presents to art supplies were stored. While being bigger came with it’s challenges, like not being able to play dress up with my friends or finding places to hide for a hide and seek challenge, for the most part, I enjoyed my “bigness.”
Being big meant that I was growing up, and like most kids, I couldn’t wait to be older. Being big meant that I would get more and more grown up privileges that I longed to earn. Being big meant that I could stay up later and watch TV Shows I wasn’t allowed to watch before. Being big meant that I could ride public transportation without supervision and be out on my own. Being big meant that I would have my own money to buy things like Christmas presents, or things for myself, without having to ask or explain why. Being big meant that I would someday get to travel and write my own life filled with stories and memories that I only got to hear about from all the grownups around me.
But being big also meant to me that I was unique. Until fourth grade, I was always the tallest girl in my class. But as I lost one status, I gained another kind of “bigness”, except this one was around my middle. Early on, I found ways to put positive spins on my incessantly never-ending growing body. When my mom started taking me shopping in the juniors department, I told myself that I got the cooler, more grown up, clothes. My mom helped me make sure my clothes were hip and tried her best to make me fit in. Instead, the more my waistline increased, the more socially awkward I became.
Because I couldn’t quite fit in, I found ways to tell myself I liked being different. In fact I realized by sixth grade that, if I couldn’t be exactly like my friends, then I wanted to be as different from them as I could. I wanted my own tastes, my own interests and my own quirks that made me stand out from the crowd. I wanted to be different so badly that I had placed a semi-barrier between me and everyone around me so slowly, but surely, I had distanced myself from ninety-nine percent of the people I knew. By the time I reached high school I had packed on a good two hundred pounds. I was wearing size sixteen jeans and I had grown very tired of my bigness. No one refered to me as “cute” or attractive anymore and all I saw was BIG.
My bigness had turned me into a self-conscious recluse. I didn’t like going out very often because not only was my bigness the only thing I thought people saw when they looked at me but, I felt like an elephant in a room full of mice. I was constantly going out of my way to try to make myself smaller because it felt like my bigness was constantly getting in the way of other people. “Excuse me” as my backpack and I bumped into strangers on the bus. It didn’t help that I was growing up in Los Angeles, the universe of superficial people. It was just added pressure because I didn’t know of any other socially awkward bigger girls like me.
But one of the many thoughts that have been mulling over in my mind lately is, what if big is just relative? My whole life it feels like, or the last decade or so, I’ve been the fattest girl in the room. And I felt like that’s the only thing anyone ever saw when they looked at me. Fat, fat, fat, fat quiet don’t give two cents about girl. I thought was no way a guy was flirting with me unless he was old and creepy. I was so sure at what I saw in the mirror, and while I didn’t think I was ugly, I didn’t think it was quite possible for any one guy, not even my ex, to truly find my body attractive. The only thing I thought a guy could ever love about me was my goofy personality that I worked so hard on making loveable.
When I was five, my grandpa was the biggest person I knew. Not only was he wellover six feet tall but he had the biggest, most impressive belly I had ever seen. The older I grew, he was still large, but he was no longer the giant I had imagined him out to be. It wasn’t like he had shrunk, it was more like my perspective had just readjusted. But even as a giant at five years old, I didn’t love my grandpa becauseof his size. I never saw my grandpa as ugly or unloveable or even clumsy because of his size. Just because he was big, it didn’t make me love him any less. His bigness was not the only thing I ever saw in him.
And as I grow bigger and bigger, so does my perspective. Now, at a fluctuating two hundred seventy-five pounds, I wouldn’t have called my teenage adolescent self fat back then, just clumsy. As I start to shift my perspective now though, I still see myself as a really big girl but, I don’t make myself out to be the giant I originally perceived myself to be. That’s because I’m not. And neither are most people. Like my roommate Devyn explains about how the same aura color can mean different things on different people, so does the numbers on the scale for different bodies.
I have no doubt in my mind that I am fat, and that I need to lose weight to be healthier. That isn’t the point I’m trying to argue. What I am trying to get across is that, what if we were to just readjust our perspective that fat doesn’t make you unloveable. Fat doesn’t make you unattractive. Fat isn’t the only thing people remember about you. Fat doesn’t make you clumsy or mean that you have to make excuses for your size. And here’s the hardest one I had trouble for the longest time believing… that fat is beautiful.
I’ve learned that people aren’t going to remember me anymore as that fat quiet nice girl with brown hair. Because I can literally “put my fat behind me”, I realize people see and will remember me as I am. People see me as the friendly big girl with a pretty smile who likes to laugh, who is silly and who is sort of a brat. Maybe that’s how people always saw me before, and I just didn’t want to believe it.
The weirdest thing is how most days, I don’t feel big as I actually am. Like an old man who still has a young mind, my body (or mind) seems just not to care of its actual physical size. I squeeze pass without embarrassment when I need to get by. I hold my head a little bit higher and sometimes I sway my hips just to feel my feminine curves and remind myself that I do have a waistline. While I do desperately want to lose weight to feel healthier, and yes attractive, I don’t let it stop me from just accepting who I am now. I’ve beenable to take the “weight” off my mind and stop comparing myself to other people. I am enough.