Recently another woman referred to me as fat. (Don’t click away now. I’m about to spill some serious tea.)
There I sat in my size 8 jeans with the waistband pressing gently against my stomach. I could feel my throat tighten up and tears pierce my eyes. I forced a deep breath and a long, unnatural exhale and started mentally running through all the defense mechanisms I know for a situation like this–But not before getting up to double-check the tag on my jeans. Surely if I were wearing a size 8, I couldn’t be categorized as fat.
“This is completely ridiculous,” I told myself.
“Consider the source. This person is not your friend. Who cares what she thinks?”
“Jesus, hold my hoops ‘cuz I’m about to cut a bitch.”
“Did you feel fat BEFORE you heard this comment?”
I don’t know. Did I? I’m normally a pretty secure person. There isn’t much you can say about me that I don’t already own. And as an almost 47 year-old woman, I know what I bring to the table and what I don’t. But what I also know? This whole weight thing is tricky. It’s like a house of cards. Truthfully, I’ve never felt better. I lift. I spin. I run. I walk. I drink green smoothies for breakfast and eat salads for lunch. I drink beer. And wine (medicinally, of course) And I eat a little junk too, because a girl’s gotta live. I’m pretty much doing everything I know to do at this age to keep shit tight.
And someone was still saying it’s clearly not enough. FML.
So after my mental review, I did what any other woman would do and called my BFF.
“Am I fat?”, I asked with a small, strained voice.
Later that same week, I asked another girlfriend if she was looking forward to her upcoming vacation. She hesitated. “Not really,” she said quietly.
“What?? Why not?” I asked.
“Because I hate the way I look and feel right now. My weight hasn’t been this high in a while and I’m afraid to even try on my summer clothes. I know we’ll be eating out a lot and around a lot of food and drinking and family and the whole thing will just be hard.”
She wanted to cry. But so did I. For almost every woman I know, our weight rules our lives. If only the energy we spent on worrying about it burned calories, we’d be all set. It’s practically criminal. Imagine the things we could do and accomplish if thinking about our weight didn’t take up so much space?
Maybe this seems like a tired topic, but the reason it’s so well-worn is because we still haven’t figured it out yet. Not only for ourselves, but apparently relative to other women, as well. It’s incredibly draining for almost every woman I know to find a “resting place” in our minds and our bodies where we finally feel peaceful in our own skin. I’ve pretty much found mine. Most days. Except when someone refers to me as fat, I guess.
The other hurtful part of this comment though? I just didn’t realize women were still doing this to eachother. I’m no saint, but it’s just not in my wheelhouse to call another woman… well really anything, much less fat. And I never forget my daughters are watching me. And listening, too. Even if I thought it, I’m still not going to say it. I’m a big believer that people are doing the best they can and overweight people, especially, know WELL BEFORE anyone says a word, that they’re overweight. They’ve already been much harder on themselves than you could EVER be. Why would you ever add insult to injury and hurt someone that way?
At the end of the day, I don’t actually think I’m fat. Really, I’m just glad she didn’t call me mean. Or ignorant. Or jealous. Or a bully. Because I’ll take fat over those names any day of the week.