I have never been slim. I entered my single-digit ages pleasantly plump. My cousin was admired for her caramel tones and slim frame. I did not care much as we entered our teens and her bust began to be the object of attention for her in some capacity. I say it did not bother me when my best friend blessed with an hourglass frame and ample butt that remains applauded in the Black community as a desirable trait since her household was full of this. I want to say my weight in high school- somewhere between 150 and 160- was heavy. I had rolls that needed to be concealed and a belly that would disappear when I laid down. My upper arms were large enough to keep me out of certain items.
I was fat. At least according to my high school peers.
Looking back with my closest co-worker, we would laugh at the idea that 150–160 was fat as our sedentary jobs took our weight into the 200+ range. It did not take a diabetes diagnosis to scare me into managing my weight gain. Depression kept the pounds on until I took a chance on myself and moved out of my emotional and financial hell. That move took me down to my stable-ish 200 pounds I currently tote. I am grateful for seeing that number on the scale with some level of consistency with COVID keeping people in compliant comforts and unabashedly displaying their COVID pounds.
Shame in my weight makes me hesitant to consider this path. As I prepare to enter society as an active member- as in I will be shedding my COVID comfort clothes and donning my sexy in my skin clothes- I am looking at other women in my weight class and judging how they wear their clothes. It is bothersome in some ways since if I were not preparing for an actual relationship, I probably would not care unless it was pointed out to me. At least, I have not been made aware of the casual way I will judge women in my weight class against some arbitrary standard of what pleasantly plump women should look like. Is it is the rigid way plus size women are displayed or my lust for an hourglass form?
Honestly, I do not know.
I want to say I am body positive to everyone but myself. I applaud women that will put on bathing suits that will not cover their rolls and gaze on Lizzo with open envy at her willingness to display her body in all its glory in public spaces with nominal cares if her captions are to be believed. I recently looked at several women whose buttons bulged a bit and the office culture viewing such as not being professional kicks in. My inner rebel rises to the surface when it comes to cleavage. It is something that I enjoy on myself and escapes my critical gaze of heavier bodies.
It is bothersome that the women that fall under my scrutiny are women of my own race in some ways. I liken it to not considering individuals of other races worthy of holding physical standards I want to compare myself to. Yet, it reinforces some level of internal hatred that already exists within my community. So I keep my observations on our soul weary bodies that may not have access to healthy options to myself. I am openly conflicted about my weight as I crave the junk food that I was raised on and combat the addictions with self-regulation not sure if my actions are truly in the space of an addict or just a denial of comfort food- a medium that has been afforded to America’s poor. It makes me stop looking at bodies and examine the individual. Mostly.
Fat shaming is a part of feminine culture. In queer communities, notably the gay ones, fat-shaming vacillates based on the subculture and kink. To consciously participate in it despite knowing it is influenced by marketing makes me want to not put on clothes or leave my home.
It does not mean the fat-shaming ends. I just don’t own a full-length mirror.