Hugs and Hurt

Times I have been embarrassed or ridiculed for being FAT.

#1. My niece asks me about being fat.
Niece: Why are you so fat?
Me: (Hard blush) Well…why are you so skinny?
Niece: Because God made me this way.
Me: (Mentally-really??!) Oh…well, God made me this way.
Nephew: No, he didn’t. You just eat too much.
My Brother/Their Father: *Smirk, laugh, snort*
Me: *I wish I was dead, quite literally*
And scene.

#2. McDonald’s bathroom
A small, loud girl is standing outside the stalls, waiting her turn. The restroom is busy. She is asking very loud questions of Grandma and being a general nuisance to all those around her. I finish. I open the door. Loud, small girl as I step out: You’re fat!
I simply look at Grandma as she shakes her head and laughs, sheepish and apologetic.

#3. Exercising in YMCA. Foreign man points me out to his girlfriend and laughs as I bend over to take a drink from the water fountain. I don’t see it, my husband tells me later.
I go up to the man and tell him, “Next time, keep your mouth shut.”
He is also embarrassed.

#I’ve-lost-count. Sitting in furniture store. Talking with my family. Small, loud girl walks by and says, “Look at that big lady.” Father scolds the small child.

For the first time, in my entire life, my whole family simply hugs me in the middle of the store and no words are said. They know. They know how much these uttered words kill me. These words of misunderstanding and confusion. These words of bigotry and nastiness. They simply hug me without any more words. And I feel loved. It was the most wonderful, powerful thing they have ever done and I can’t even thank them because I have no more words. But they simply embrace me and support me, literally. I felt so cared for.

It hurts. To be noticed for my weakness. It hurts to be called attention to. For this. It hurts to be shamed or embarrassed.

But I suppose that girl. The one in the store on Saturday. She will know now. For the next overweight person. Don’t say that. I have shown her that you don’t point at, shout at, stare at, whisper about obese people. Or any people. We’re all people. Hopefully, she learns that lesson.

You know, I’m not fat because I eat too much. I’m fat because I wasn’t loved enough. Because of illness, disease and addiction-my own and others. Because I was given a battle that shows on the outside. I have worth whether I win that battle or not.

It’s not the victory that makes one a fighter. It’s war that makes the warrior. Win or lose.

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