Family · Mental Health

The Fat Friend

This post is going to be a little all over the place, so bear with me.

I spoke to my grandmother on the phone this weekend. She informed me that I was getting too big, and that I needed to exercise more. Now, I agree with her assessment, to a point. I’m heavier than I want to be, and I have a plan for losing weight. I’ve also tried to get into running and other exercise. Where it becomes problematic is when she informs me that my taking up running is “stupid” and that I need to join “social” things, like tennis. I understand – that was her thing, and it kept her in shape – but what I really want to address today is just how fat does she think I am, and why?
As of my last weigh-in, I’m hovering around 160lbs. You could add two of my friends together and add the weight of my cleavage and they would weigh the same as me. I seem to be surrounded by skinny friends while I self deprecate as the fat friend. The curvy friend, the voluptuous friend, the friend whose curves could put Rainbow Road to shame. I am not, however, simply “fat”, considering I can lift my friends with ease while they struggle to lift themselves. For the record, this is what I look like, in all my fat, fat glory:

IMG_0448

Granted, I’ve gained some weight since I graduated university and left college – I used to walk a whole lot more – but I’m not sure I’m at the point of no return just yet. I am, however, significantly larger than most of my friends my grandmother and my parents see. Is that why they talk about me like I’m at risk of a massive coronary by 25?
I sometimes think that my fear of losing weight is made up in part by the niche I’ve carved myself as “The Fat Friend”. My friends, of course, will never admit that I am the fat friend. They love me just the way I am, I’m gorgeous, they are entranced by my ample bosom (but really, who isn’t?), and I will always appreciate it, but the fact of the matter is that I’m almost 40lbs heavier than my friend who is 9″ taller than me. I am, without a doubt, the fat friend. I am the friend that is only hit on in bars because it is expected that my self esteem is lower because I am fat. I am cute, not hot. I cannot be fierce, only friendly. If I were a mom, I’d be a cookies and milk mom, not a MILF.
I’m ok with all of this, but if I want to get serious about losing weight, I need to abandon this mindset. It puts too much power in the hands of my past and doesn’t allow me the chance to build my own identity for myself in the future. I know I need to start seeing myself differently – more sure of myself, more dynamic, more powerful – if I want to take control of my life and my weight, but being the fat friend, well – it’s safe, isn’t it? I mean, it’s easy being the fat friend. The world doesn’t expect much from me, besides being nice, and complacent, and sweet. I’m unthreatening, I’m adorable, and for other women, I’m not a target for their jealousy.
I say this, but another part of me doesn’t believe it. My worth comes from things other than my weight, but the Fat Friend mindset diminishes my belief in all my other proficiencies, too. It’s not just my body that is unthreatening – it’s my mind, too. I’m cute, so I couldn’t possible be smart. I’m quiet, so I couldn’t possibly be eloquent. I hide my skills and my complexities behind my own self prescribed label because I’m scared of what will happen if I’m bold enough to stand up for myself and value myself more than I value the number on the scale.
I’m scared that once I hold myself accountable rather than my waist size, I’ll be more a disappointment than ever.

2 thoughts on “The Fat Friend

  1. I agree with this. And, I think to a large extent, there is a lot of danger in the ‘fat’ mindset because bodyside is fluid and I think when we box ourselves into this body-type we lose the nuance of who we are. And I think a lot of it is a problem with the media, but we also have stresses that other generations didn’t have, too. I’m not saying life was easier for them, but it was a much different time. I’m with you on this. And, sometimes I think we put that label on ourselves, you know? Like, we don’t have to be the ‘whatever’ friend. Sometimes, with my friends, because of my height, I always feel like I can’t be the cute one or the sexy one, I’m just the big one. And, it’s not just me putting those labels on myself, because people do it intrinsically because they want to define their identity in the group too. So, I think it is more about breaking down what these ‘places’ and labels mean. I really appreciate your post. Thanks for being so honest. <3 X

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