Wednesday afternoon. Shannin has posted something on her site today that really resonates with me. I wrote last Friday about some kids who made fun of me and made me feel terrible about myself and, although it doesn't happen often, each time it does I am made to feel like less of a person, or less worthy of basic respect, than thinner people. That is fundamentally wrong, friends. I'm certainly no better than thinner people, but they are not, by their very "thin-ness" more worthy of respect. Being fat isn't a character flaw, it's not something I enjoy but neither should it be something to cause me to question my very right to exist.
I remember when I was a teenager and fat. I was 125 at 5'3" and a size 9, and I was constantly ridiculed, reviled, and ignored by boys. I can remember going on my first diet before I even got to high school (I think it was Richard Simmons' original diet) and giving Jane Fonda's workout (on vinyl, of course!) obsessive attention in an attempt to lose the 10 pounds I was convinced would set me free. I look at pictures of myself from high school now and am so angry that anyone made me feel like a freak, as though I were disgusting and beyond the pale. Heck, I was smaller then than my goal weight now. I will never forget what one of the guys I had a crush on said to me as I was wrapping his ankle before wrestling practice, "You know, Denise, you really would be so pretty if you lost some weight!" How many times have I heard that in my life? How many times did well meaning relatives, all of whom genuinely loved and cared for me, say something similar? Each time, I internalized it, believed it, made it part of my very DNA, to the point that, even today, I know that I still believe it.