You are not fat.

(Originally shared via TinyLetter)

You are not fat.
 
Fat is not a state of mind, or a word that encapsulates all of the negative thoughts you have about your body. 
 
Fat is your kindergarten gym teacher gently suggesting you give up because of your size. Fat is your ballet teacher doing the same.
 
Fat is starting high school and finally finding a sport you love and having to quit because you grew out of the largest uniform available.
 
Fat is the strangers who moo at you from across the food court, or shout ‘Free Willy!’ out of their cars, or reply to your posts with a comment about Jabba the Hutt.
 
Fat is being terrified of sitting in a plastic lawn chair because of that time you sat in one at a party and it broke, as did the second one. Fat is perching on the edge of a folding chair and trying with all of your might not to rest your weight on it lest it collapse.
 
Fat is being told you shouldn’t worry about sexual assault the way other women do, because nobody would want to do that to you, because you’re Fat.
 
Fat is fielding unsolicited advice on the topics of diet and exercise from friends, family and perfect strangers from the age of 5.
 
Fat is having to buy all of your clothes online because there are no stores in your country that carry items that fit you.
 
Fat is going to the doctor and being asked about your weight every single time, regardless of your reason for being there.
 
Fat is sheepishly reminding the flight attendant that you need a seatbelt extension as the plane is already taxiing.
 
Fat is making your first male friend at 16, because boys up until then only spoke to you when they wanted to laugh at you.
 
Fat is being asked by psychiatrists if you’re really depressed, or whether you’re just sad about your body. 
 
Fat is people giving you dirty looks or audibly sighing when they have to sit next to you in public, on planes, even at Disneyland.
 
Fat is being looked over for jobs in favour of thin, beautiful women with fewer qualifications, and having a psychologist ask if that actually happened or whether it was just paranoia.
 
Fat is being described by well-meaning people as ‘morbidly obese’ and having to explain why being considered diseased is hurtful.
 
Fat is being judged as stupid, lazy, unkempt and unclean on first sight.
 
Fat is always being described as ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’, never ‘beautiful’ or ‘attractive’.
 
Fat is being so scared of rejection in dating that you don’t even try.
 
Fat is wondering if people see you as a person or just another statistic. Fat is wondering if people see you as emblematic of everything wrong with capitalism or western society. 
 
Fat is everyone thinking they know what fat is, because everyone feels fat sometimes. 
 
But fat is not a feeling. Fat is something that has defined my entire life. Fat is immediately obvious. If you have to ask, you are not fat. If you have to argue for the right to call yourself fat, you are not fat. Fat is being reminded regularly that society cannot and will not accommodate you. Fat is surrounding yourself with
positive body icons and that still not being enough to combat the thoughts inside your head, the build-up from years of reminders that your body is unseemly, undesirable, unworthy.

You may have fat, but you are not fat. I have fat, and I am fat. Society defines me by how much fat sits on my bones. Not by my accomplishments, or my writing, or my sense of humour, or my personality. None of that matters. Fat is all they see.