Fat and Proud
Tiffanie Woods

Fat and Fitting In

Recovering from an eating disorder brings about so many changes in the body, and the hardest for me to stomach is the additional flesh I find myself developing. My new fat is supple and soft. But it was the hardest part of me to love.

It sits on my hips, adheres itself to my tummy, cushions my butt, and wraps itself around my shoulders. When I touch various parts of myself, I am not longer meeting bone. There is meat there, and I can push on it and have it rebound back. No longer do I need to worry about slicing off a finger on my own hip bone… actually, where are my hip bones?

I hate this. This squish. This hideous cover. The webs of stretch marks etched across what was once unblemished territory. The way my thighs stick together with sweat. The roll of fat over the waistband of my shorts… if I can even button them now.

But I also notice these findings in other women. I see other women with thighs that are touching, and they are doubled-over laughing over something in the Starbucks parking lot. I see other women with stretch marks on their legs, and they are lifting more than I am at the gym. I see other women with extra cushion on their stomachs, and they are embracing a child’s head, resting it against those stomachs in a loving caress. I see other women with wide hips, and they are presenting their research to an audience who respects them. I see a woman with arms that jiggle, and she is reassuring me that the medication she is prescribing me will cure my virus.

And I realize now that I am like these women. These women are helping others, helping themselves, making lives that they love to live. They are skinny and they are fat, and a lot are somewhere in between those two extreme labels. But those labels are not what they laugh about, think about, or talk about. I can do that too.

There is something quite liberating about joining the ranks of women with flesh and, dare I say it, fat, on their bodies. But to be physically similar too, with breasts that demand support and thighs that touch, to women everywhere is a new feeling. The thigh gaps are never worth it.

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