When I First Learnt I Was Fat

Aga Byrczek
Story Saturday
Published in
4 min readJun 14, 2024

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When I look back at my childhood, my memories start around the age of six. Born in early 1984, I began school in September 1990, and by December, my family had moved into the house I would always remember as home. Everything before that time feels like fragmented scenes from a dull TV show — sometimes comedic, sometimes dramatic, and occasionally like science fiction.

I remember my first day of school vividly, partly because of the photos we took. Even now, when I look at those photos, I feel a pang of shame. It’s terrifying that a six-year-old girl had already internalized a lesson that would impact her entire life: that not being skinny was something to be ashamed of, something to hide, and something to fight against at all costs.

Somehow, being fat became my main identity, a label constantly reinforced from all sides. At school, the girls often talked about their appearances, obsessing over their perfectly thin legs or flat bellies, even when they were already slim. These conversations were laden with the fear of being fat. At home, the reminders continued. My mother, perhaps influenced by her own negative experiences, unintentionally passed these concerns onto me. While I don’t blame her now — I’ve accepted my body as it is — it’s important to recognize how such comments can shape a life. One particularly impactful moment was when she compared me to a friend…

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Aga Byrczek
Story Saturday

I write about social issues, mental health, fat phobia and micro aggressions. My mission is to raise awareness by writing ✊🏼 www.agabyrczek.eu