You’re Entitled To Your Opinion

I’ve got nothing of value today. Only anger.

I’ve been killing myself for years, and my body has done the best it can do. It’s kept diabetes away, despite my sweet tooth. It’s kept my blood pressure good despite my weight and anxiety levels.

I shouldn’t complain, really. But as I live my unwillingly sedentary life for the past three years with the inability to do simple tasks without pain from some still unknown cause, I feel like my body is failing me.

But is it?

I’ve done everything I can, but it’s not good enough without both of us hanging in there — body and mind.

I started it. I can’t blame anyone but myself.

Regardless of how all the pieces fell, it was always my choice, my body.

I could blame it on my dad for teasingly calling me “Chubs” or “Chunky Tuna” with my first bout of unexplained weight gain as a child, but that’d just be petty.

If only people knew that teasing and ridicule only makes someone go back to comfort.

Comfort is rarely healthy food choices and exercise.

I could blame the kids in school who’d poke me hard in the gut and say: “Does she laugh and jiggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy?” Like I’m just a thing. I can’t even be addressed as a real person, just a doughy white creature that doesn’t deserve human decency.

Kids will be kids, they said.

Maybe that’s the goal: Keep the chubby, pretty girl fat so she’s not so appealing to the general public.

Maybe that’s why when I hear someone say: “Jennifer Aniston looks like a man” or “Angelina Jolie is way too skinny”, I feel completely repugnant. Is no one satisfied? Satisfying?

I could blame the boy at summer camp who stared at me, brow furrowed with wonder. When I asked what he was looking at he said, “You know, if you lost weight you’d be really pretty.”

I could blame the guy I dated way back when. Just after we’d slept together we went outside for a cigarette. He stared at me.

“I really like you,” he said.

I blushed, naturally. But before I could reciprocate, he said, “But I don’t know what we could do together.” His hand cut through the air in the shape of my body. “I can’t take you out with my friends. We go out to the beach a lot and they always have their girlfriends in bikinis. We can’t do that kinda stuff together. Maybe we can just do this, but not exclusive or anything.” He motioned to the space between us. “Keep things quiet, ya know?”

“It’s time for you to leave now.”

“Don’t be like that!”

“What? Fat?”

I could blame the fact that the only time in my life where I was universally accepted as a wholly “beautiful” young woman was when I was starving myself and working out like I had nothing better to do. And because of the way I felt about myself, that’s what I did. I exercised and lost a ton of weight and looked like a voluptuous gymnast.

That’s what they wanted, wasn’t it?

They didn’t care that I was tearing myself to pieces to look the way I thought I needed to look to be valuable.

Then I started getting sick and I didn’t know why. We didn’t go to the doctor unless you were dying — that’s how I was raised. We never had the money for something as unnecessary as a doctor’s visit. So I let it go. Eventually the sickness got worse. My stomach began to harden and bloat, and my body started putting on weight again, for no apparent reason.

Why? What’s happening to me?

I researched and tried to figure out how I could “get over” this so I could get back to the gym and start losing the weight I was gaining for no apparent reason.

But I was so tired and so sick and no matter what I ate or drank I just kept getting fatter.

I talked to my friend about it and she said: “Are you pregnant?” And I remember distinctly saying: “You have to have sex to get pregnant.”

It had been almost five and a half months since I had.

I gave her some cash and she ran down to the store to get me “the right kind of test” because she’d been down that road a time or two.

Pregnant.

That was eight years ago.

Twenty-four months later I was pregnant again.

Married my best friend and had our first child together seven months later.

Ten months after that I was pregnant again.

Twenty months after that my gut busted while doing Pilates, trying to lose the weight put on with the last two pregnancies, because that’s what we have to do as mothers, as women.

It’s not healthy being fat. It’s not healthy being a big person.

Every body is the same. Everyone is supposed to be small and slim, no matter how tall or short or broad.

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of hospital visits, doctors, surgeries, procedures, tests, scans — is this how life is supposed to be now?

“You’ve had an awful lot of surgeries for being only thirty?”

No shit. Ya think?


This will end soon.

I will be healthy again, but healthy without the weight of caring about what other people think — what other people want from me.

I’ll be healthy, big but healthy. Because that’s just the way I am.

It’s my life. I’m gorgeous, no matter my size. You’re entitled to your opinion, and I’m entitled to not give a shit.

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