“When I feel disconnected from my body, I don’t take care of it. When I embrace my body, when I appreciate what it does for me, I do. Learning not to hate our bodies isn’t a matter of feeling good or appeasing the self-esteem of fat people, it’s a matter of our physical health and emotional survival.”
by “Your Fat Friend”
I was in fourth grade, sitting in a doctor’s office, the first time my face flushed with shame. I was, I had just learned, overweight.
“It’s probably from eating all that pizza and ice cream. It tastes good, doesn’t it? But it makes your body big and fat.”
I was confused. Dinners at home were usually fish or chicken, rice, and steamed vegetables; breakfasts were cottage cheese and cantaloupe. After all, I was the child of a 1980’s Weight Watchers mother.
“Just imagine that your body is made out of clay. If you can just stay the same weight, as you grow, you’ll stretch out. And once you grow up, you’ll be thin and beautiful. Won’t that be great?”
I felt my face sear with shame. My skin was neon, hot and bright, noisy and garish. I had learned so much in that one moment: You’re eating too much junk food. You’re not beautiful. You’re indulging too much. Your body is wrong. You must have done it.
Something was wrong with my body. I’d failed a test I didn’t even know I’d taken.