When I was a kid, I was pudgy. I was unaware of the fact until we moved back to Minnesota from California when I was five. I have a vivid memory of meeting all my aunts for the first time, and they informed that I was fat. I have never felt anything but fat and unacceptable since.
There have been periods of my life when I lost weight and looked good, but my body image had been so distorted that I never recovered. I look at old pictures and wonder why I never knew I was OK. But, that shame never dies.
When I was in elementary school, it was common for us to have rhymes and chants. The most painful ones were taunts from my brothers or boys at school:
"Fatty-fatty two by four, Couldn't get thru the kitchen door, So she did it on the floor."
"Here comes the bride, Big fat and wide, Watch her waddle, From side to side." (My pastor used this to discourage me from having the traditional Wedding March at my wedding and instead using another hymn--which caused some confusion.)
I turned down my sister's request to be in her wedding because I'd recently had a baby and was still quite overweight.
There was also the specter of my Old Maid aunt who weighed 300 pounds and never married.
She lived with Grandma until she died and then slowly faded away. The aunt lived and died in the same small town and died before she turned sixty.
And yet, for all my history, when I watch the TV shows where they have large people taking off weight, I feel a little annoyance at them blubbering about their predicament. Obesity is so universally loathed that even fat people are prejudiced against other fat people.
I look forward to being cremated and having all my ugly fat burned up. I imagine hovering above the furnace dancing and singing (for surely I can do those things without all the extra flab and creaky bones!) It's gonna be great!
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