FACT: I have always been a big girl. I’m over six feet tall, and at my heaviest, I was upwards of 500 pounds. I’m not ashamed to put these numbers out there, even though I know the vast majority of people in our society would be shocked to hear somebody admitting to being so large. But I’m not afraid of those numbers, because they don’t define me.
I am fat. I don’t feel ashamed to say that, because it is the truth. I’ve had people say, “no, you’re not!” or “stop putting yourself down”, which is evidence of the fact that people are taught to associate fat with negative and derogatory connotations. “You’re just fluffy” these friends will say, as though a euphemism is better than the truth, as though it is somehow more gentle or acceptable to deny the truth and put a seemingly “non-threatening” label on it. I prefer to call em’ like I see em, so I have a lot of respect for people who are honest.
Here’s what the late, great, outspoken Comedian George Carlin had to say:
“Only people are fat, and that’s what fat people are. They’re fat. I offer no apology for this. It is not intended as criticism or insult. It is simply descriptive language.”
It was important for me to come out as a fat person, because it is a liberating process. What I’m saying when I describe myself as fat, is that I’m not afraid of who I am, what I look like, or how people perceive me because of my size. The same goes true for my use of the term queer. I came out as bisexual when I was a teenager, but only to those I really trusted. It was the closest thing to a label that accurately described my sexuality. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more self-aware, and I’ve come to realize that my sexuality is fluid – I don’t have a “type”, nor do I have a gender requirement. Thought I identify as queer, I am not offended if I’m referred to as a lesbian, or bisexual, or even pansexual.
My use of these words and terms that “label me” may be misinterpreted, and perhaps even controversial to some, which motivates me to want to be myself even more. Being visible means I have a voice; it means I can speak for myself and for others who are oppressed . Eventually, society will be more understanding and accommodating to those of us who have remained silent for so long. And that’s why I am no longer afraid of what others think about me.
I’m more vocal these days than I have ever been about these issues, because remaining silent isn’t going to further the causes I am passionate about. I have been inspired and affected by some really brilliant people with whom I share some of these identities in common.
We are all worthy of love, respect, compassion, and acceptance. As the saying goes, “you can’t truly love another until you love yourself first.” So, If you’re reading this, I hope that you can say the following statement with confidence, at some point in your life:
I LOVE MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY