Dear God, Please Make Me Average

I’m fat.

Those two words are pretty much a guarantee that two of my best friends are going to yell at me, like they do every time I say them. My friends mean well. They love me. They see me very differently than I see myself. They’ve both known me for decades. They don’t understand, though. At my heaviest, I weighed as much as my two friends COMBINED. I am really glad that they’ve never experienced what it’s like to be really fat.

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Possibly the worst picture of me on Facebook. This was about 18 months ago, at my biggest.

They’ve never gotten on a plane and seen the look on a stranger’s face when they realize that they are stuck next to me for the next few hours. They’ve never had a saleswoman walk up to them and tell them that they needed to go to the fat people’s store three doors down because “there’s nothing here for [them]” – and at the time, I was shopping for one of my skinniest friends. Other than perhaps when one of them was pregnant, they’ve never gone to a restaurant and been seated in a booth with an unmoveable table that doesn’t afford enough space, putting them in the mortifying position of having to decide whether to say something and draw attention to the fact that there isn’t enough room or spend the rest of the meal with a piece of furniture jabbing into their ribs.

There is a kind of invisibility in being really fat that is hard to explain to someone who has never been there before. For the life of me, I cannot find it now, but I read an article recently in which a woman who used to be fat  talks about how now that she’s skinny, people treat her differently. People smile at her more, talk to her more, hold open doors for her – in short, people are nicer to her. In addition to feeling invisible, though, there is often a desire to be invisible. A desire to not be seen in the fat lady’s section of the store where all the clothes are dumpy soccer-mom attire. A desire to not be seen when you eat birthday cake at a party and catch the judgmental glares you get for not skipping the sugar.

When your body doesn’t fall within the “average” range, people aren’t shy in commenting about it, and -NEWS FLASH- we hear it. My dad’s side of the family is tall – really tall. My dad is the tallest of them, as far as I know, 6’9″ (about 2.05 meters, for my international friends) and is no longer the super-skinny guy he was in his early twenties. People laugh when I refer to my 6’6″ (or maybe 6’7″?) younger brother as my little brother given that he is 13 inches taller than me. Growing up, I knew that most men were shorter, but my dad was still “normal” to me. However, I also grew up thinking it was “normal” to walk into a room and hear people make comments to each other. The not-so-quiet whispers about how big “that guy” is were a normal thing. After a lifetime of it, he seems perfectly able to ignore them, and he doesn’t take offense when little kids with wide eyes are speechless. I’ve had fewer years to learn to deal with it, and the comments I’ve heard aren’t very kind, and it takes all the Jesus in me to not respond. I don’t hear people make comments about me as often, but I do hear them. I have heard how I’m described to people. It sucks and it hurts, but it’s nothing I haven’t already said about myself.

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Marquette, MI, near the end of January 2014.

For about the 47,000th time, I am trying to do something about it. I’m trying to make better decisions, get my lazy butt to the gym, all that crap. I’m trying to be patient with myself, and I am so grateful for the encouragement I get from my friends. I’m trying to not let it be all I think about, but when you’re really fat, the reality of being fat is inescapable. Because of my draw in the genetic lottery, my body carries more weight than is typical for my size – I have friends who wear the same size clothes, are the same height, and yet are 70 pounds lighter than I am, and that can be really demoralizing if I let it. I’m down to about the size I was when I graduated high school – for the first time in over a decade. I hope things keep going in this direction, and I know that it depends on me continuing to work on it. I don’t expect to ever be skinny, but I wouldn’t mind being average.

Average would be nice.

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About BearsGrl8

I'm a geek, a "Supernatural" fangirl, a progressive, an introverted loud-mouth, a damn fine cook, a Bears fan, a Blackhawks fan, and a fantastic aunt.

Posted on February 24, 2014, in Anxiety, On Being a Woman and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Keith & Christina Tyson

    Hi – my name’s Christina Tyson, I’m a Salvation Army officer in New Zealand and I really enjoy your blogs. However, I wanted to send you the occasional private message. Are you on Facebook and would it be okay to connect that way? All okay if not.

  2. Thanks for sharing your heart. I assume this wasn’t an easy post for you. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Way to go on your journey! Keep it up!

    • Thanks! Not easy at all – I had a bit of anxiety after posting it. However, it was a post that wouldn’t seem to go away until it was written.

      • That’s how I felt about the post about my uncle- not sure if you saw it. You never know how people will react or if you are ready to be that vulnerable.

      • I hadn’t until just now. It was very brave of you to write that. I also really liked your articles on adoption. I have a friend who cannot have kids and has adopted 4 kids (2 sisters in an open adoption and twin infant boys in a closed adoption, all of whom miraculously look like my friend and her husband). She has shared about her experiences, and they’re powerful. It’s interesting to read about it from another perspective. Thank you.

        It’s amazing how much relief and freedom and anxiety all happen when I write something really vulnerable. It scares me every time, but it’s also helping me with my anxiety in the long run. I process while I write, and then I just fling it out into the universe, and somehow, by letting people in like that, I feel less afraid of what they might see. I’ve also had people say “wow, me too,” and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

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