When I was born, there was a celebration of pink. My family was elated for their perfect princess baby girl. They were excited for the dresses and bows, the dollhouses and fairytales. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all of those girly toys that I was supposed to love, but instead of an ethereal baby girl, I came out of the womb kicking and screaming, my big brown eyes searching and exploring and wandering. I can imagine all of the dreams and wishes and hopes everyone had for me, but instead, I was fat.
I remember the first time I thought I was fat. I was five. I was five. And I knew what the word fat was, I knew what it meant, and I knew I was it. Fat. It was the first day of kindergarten, my wild red hair clipped in a bow, my floral dress perfectly ironed for the special occasion. I looked around the room and saw books and crayons and toys and pictures and games and other girls who were half my size, easily. My smile faded. These girls… my arms were the size of their thighs.
I remember the most recent time I thought I was fat. It was this morning. It was this morning. And I knew what the word fat was, I knew what it meant, and I knew I was it. Fat. It was today, just like any other day. My faded red hair- more of an auburn color really- curled and combed, my jeans taken straight out of the wash. I looked in the mirror and saw a gap in my teeth and uneven eyebrows and a big nose and bags under my eyes and my body, my body that was so big, no one would notice my teeth or eyebrows or nose or bags because it was so monstrous that they would be afraid I might eat them, too.
Fat. What is that word, what does it even mean? If we’re looking at it in chemistry class, it’s a group of natural esters of glycerol and fatty acids. In the animal kingdom, it’s an oily, greasy substance in bodies, which Webster’s Dictionary defines as natural- natural. Colloquially speaking, it can mean “financially substantial or desirable.” But to me, to the kids in the back of the school bus, to the magazines plastering the shelves at pharmacies and bookstores, fat is synonymous with me. A 5’9” woman with childbearing, beautiful curves who is a healthy weight for her height and is classified under “athletic” in body fat percentage.
Throughout my nineteen years of life, I have battled my way to this point, a point where I can flat out say and truly understand that I am, and never was, fat. But goddamn, it is hard to believe. I have moments where I’m on top of the world, where I know that I look good and I love my body for everything it is and does for me. But most of the time, I’m at war with my body, trying to tone this and change that, anything to rid myself fat. But no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, it’s never good enough. I’ve been 100 pounds and I’ve been 170, but no matter what, I viewed myself as not good enough. But here’s the thing: I am good enough. I am only human, and I am good enough. That’s all I can be.