Let’s get one thing straight: I did not set out to lose weight because I thought it would make my life better to be thinner. Being fat never held me back from living my life.
I never had trouble finding a date in my twenties, despite my weight. In fact, I would say I am quite pleased when I look back at the range of men I dated during my “wild years.” I did have trouble in this area as a teenager, but that quickly passed when I moved out of my small judgmental town and into bigger more diverse cities.
Being fat didn’t stop me from going out on my own at a younger age than normal, supporting myself and finding my independence. It didn’t stop me from making hard choices for myself and looking out for my best interests. It didn’t stop me from escaping a bad family situation, the likes of which most people do not escape from unscathed.
I made my own path. I dropped out of college after the first try because it wasn’t right and I didn’t go back until I was 25. When I did go back, it was on my own terms and it was right. I gave it everything I had and graduated with honors and the coveted Best Portfolio of my class.
I was hired at an excellent and well-paying job before I even graduated and have been working and succeeding beyond anyone’s expectations ever since. I currently make more money than any of my friends who graduated from Ivy League schools several years before me.
I am in a 5 year relationship with a man I love. I would call him my soul mate if I believed in such a concept. We would be married if either of us believed in marriage. I am child-free by choice.
I did all of that while carrying an extra 120 pounds. Being obese doesn’t mean you lay down and die. It doesn’t mean you have no life. It doesn’t mean you can’t find love, have a career, be a success, or be a party animal. It doesn’t make you worthless or invisible. Being obese, for me, was an inconvenience, not a barrier to life.
It bothers me to no end when I hear women say “If I was thin, I would ___” I want to say, “What’s stopping you?!” Or when they say “No man is interested in me because I can’t lose this 5 pounds.” Girl, please. It has nothing to do with your weight. It’s all in the attitude. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was only interested in me physically anyway.
Now that I have lost an extreme amount of weight, I understand that of course everyone is going to notice. Everyone will notice that I’m wearing cuter clothes and just generally looking “more attractive” in terms of what is socially ideal. Men who never noticed I existed are suddenly finding reasons to say hello to me. Cute, put-together women all the sudden want to be my friend. This might all sound great to someone, but it is very frustrating to me.
I am so much more than what I look like. There are so many more interesting things about me. If you didn’t want to be my friend or my lover when I was overweight- I am not interested in knowing you now. And if, god forbid, you are the type of person who makes fun of overweight people, please, do not do so in my presence. If you insult them, you insult me. And I’m in shape now. You can run, but I will catch you!
Losing a lot of weight brings to the forefront of my attention just how much we are judged by our outward appearances. I know there’s nothing to be done about it. If anything, the focus on appearance only becomes more prevalent as time goes by. Plastic surgery, once shunned as a taboo, is completely normal. It is completely normal to cut yourself open and sew yourself back up in the name of vanity. Doesn’t this bother anyone else?
Some days I feel like I might be the only woman on earth who has decided not to swallow the “Be thin and Be happy, You aren’t good enough the way you are” myth. Some days, I feel like it is unacceptable for me to just say “I am fine the way I am. I do not need to lose any more weight, have perkier breasts, or firmer thighs. Yes, I have cellulite and stretch marks but so what? I’m healthy, and that’s good enough for me.” But I am going to keep saying it anyway.
Because there’s so much more to life than being thin and pretty.