I use the word “fat”.
I use it as a derogatory term to describe people who are heavy, overweight, obese. And I know that it probably isn’t a PC term — not that any of the others I just mentioned likely are either — but I use it. It sounds cruel and punishing and makes the very idea of being that so undesirable, so repulsive and so utterly reprehensible in my mind.
I have used the word “fat” to describe myself at points in my life where I weighed a bit more than I liked to, even though at my absolute highest I was always still well within the healthy range for my height.
And I have used the word “fat” as a way of differentiating myself from my family (“I come from fat people”) and thus making my athletic achievements and litheness all the more impressive.
In my mind, “fat” equals unhealthy and consequently it is something that I believe no one should ever aspire to be, and anyone who is should strive to no longer be.
But sometimes I use the word “fat” around the wrong person. Sometimes I use it a lot. When I use it to describe myself before my recent weight loss (when I was a full size 2), I probably sound like a total bitch. And I get that.
Someone close to me recently revealed that in their youth they were morbidly obese.
This someone happens to be extremely fit and very good looking, so you would think that this newly introduced fact would be hard for me to wrap my head around.
When this person muses about themself, they often use the word “big”… and not in a comfortable big and strong and muscular sort of way. They use it in a deprecatory way.
I wasn’t surprised by this revelation, but it did make me sad — not just because I felt guilty for having previously (and repeatedly) used the word “fat” in front of this person to discuss superficial matters and pass judgment and criticism upon myself for once weighing ten pounds more than I do now — because in that moment I realized that this wonderful person sees themself not as they are, but as how they once were. And more, that in doing so, they prevent themself from recognizing their full worth.
When a person goes through a change — a significant and life altering change — why does it take so long, if at all, to see oneself as they are now and as the rest of the world does?