She Ain’t Heavy

I am fat and a fat bigot.Let me explain myself, because there are more of us living in the general population than you might think.

I am fat and a fat bigot.

Let me explain myself, because there are more of us living in the general population than you might think.

After three consecutive years of infections, illness and organ failure, I have lost and kept off 65 pounds. At my heaviest, I was a morbidly obese 242 pounds; now I am in my sweet spot of 177 pounds — two pounds below my Body Mass Index (BMI) weight deemed ideal for my body type (long limbs and big bones) and height (5 feet 9 inches tall.)

I have given away all my clothes that have X’s on the size tags and was forced to buy a few things with numbered sizes, like “regular” people. Whatever that means. So I have gone from size 20/22 jeans to a comfortable size 12. Bras do not fit and panties sag to the point that I pitched nearly an entire drawer of drawers.

I am not fully enjoying this new body because it is fiercely under attack by all manner of failure and disease.I am carrying pounds of poison in my legs and the side saddle bags of my mid-section; it is the poison kidneys normally dump that mine are not properly dumping.

My hardened limbs make it tedious and exhausting to walk, so I am largely house bound.

Feeling fat, though I am not really fat on paper.

When I do venture out, I noticed I have grown a hyper awareness of fat adults — mostly the cheaters who use electric chairs, handicapped parking placards and all other manner of riding and close-parking accouterments because they are otherwise obese and have grown lazy.

I sat in the truck Saturday and watched a chubby black woman without so much as a limp who looked a decade younger than I get out of her car in the handicap-accessible space and rush into the BroKro.

My partner and I had spent that morning finally getting our placard from the BMV for my convenience.

The woman shot me a side eye and I her.I almost held up my cane to the window.

Yet, I still call myself fat and chubby — mostly to my partner — because that has been my conditioning nearly my entire life. I cannot say I have ever hated myself or damaged myself because of my body type, figure or image, but I have remained keenly aware that the world does not fall all over itself for a woman shaped as funny as I.

This is not the only time in my life I have called myself “fat ass” or “my chubby ass” in the presence of my intimates as the punchline to my own joke.

There were three men in my life who had me believing I was fat when, in fact, I was not, and I just happened to find a photograph to prove it.

When I was nearly 14 years old, the summer before high school and when my sister was toddling around, I felt fat, uncomfortable, bloated and and out of control. In retrospect, surely the onslaught of my late-arriving menstrual cycle had everything to do with those feelings.

However, my sexually hyperactive oldest stepbrother, my half-brother then-recently freed from prison on a sexual assault charge and my sexually deviant father (are you sensing a theme?) made so many digs at me about my weight back then, I thought my middle name was “You don’t need that.”Before my father married my stepmother, he doled out no-name cans of soda like communion wafers; my half-brother was so used to a regimented prison workout and picking over carb-heavy food, he came in like a drill sergeant; and my stepbrother just needed to feel superior over someone because his self-esteem was so miserable.

It got so bad I went to my mother crying, and she told my father to back off, lest he give me a complex about my body. (It was too late.) Then she reminded him his main responsibility was to protect me. (Also too late.)

Not long ago, I was talking about all this with two friends of ours who were visiting, and I came across this photograph of my skinny 14-year-old self sitting on a small loveseat with my equally skinny mother, who was skinny because she was impoverished and chose to breast feed my sister.

My long legs were skinny in my jeans, and my long arms were extra skinny, hanging out of that little terry cloth top I used to wear that had matching shorts.

Mostly what I noticed, though, was how flat my stomach was and how long and narrow my neck and face were in that picture.

The lesson?

When we let it, the world can make us believe lies about ourselves and disregard ourselves accordingly. When I was not fat, I believed it was so; now that I am scientifically not fat, I do not fully believe it, either.

I do not know if all this is because I have an inordinate amount of time to think quietly, but the fact now that NBC and ABC have turned down Lane Bryant’s sexy underwear TV ads featuring large models jumping and floating around in panties, boy shorts and bras a la Victoria’s Secret just smacks of fat bigotry, and they won’t just come out and say so.

It is actually embarrassing because we all know what is going on. Instead of telling the store’s honchos what it is they do not like about the ads and asking for specific edits, the networks have rejected the ads and want Lane Bryant to play guessing games.

Well, they can stop guessing and replace all the big girls with normal-sized ones who would not even need to shop at the plus-size store.

That is what networks want, because fat is a shame.

It is confusing.

It cannot — no way in hell — be sexy.

Fat makes the un-fat uncomfortable, makes ’em mean, makes ’em strike out, makes ’em easy to feel and to be superior.

This is especially true of me when I say, “Man, he’s really gained weight,” or, “She knows she is too big for those leggings.”

Then I go home and look in the mirror and silently ask myself: Who the hell do I think I am to be criticizing someone else’s weight?

I am a fat-ass fat bigot, that’s who.


CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: [email protected]


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