“A wonderful day to spend among women in leadership” said Rashmi Karthik an attendee of Women #BreakingBarriers Bangalore. Breaking Barriers is now coming to Pune, Panjim, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Chennai. Register now to attend!
I do not see myself as a fat woman, just a woman with certain weight issues. When will other people stop bothering about it?
By Tanzila Anis
I am my weight. Before you ask what it means, just savour this sentence, say it about 5 times and try to absorb it. It applies to all of us here. Each and every one of us. Because in this world our weight makes or breaks the person we appear to someone.
I can carry off any clothes better than girls half my size. I can also cook, sing, write and look better than them. But, it is the sum total of my weight which defines me. It’s a painful fact. It is something I have struggled with. I have tried to make myself into a person whose sheer personality will make people not notice the weight. But you know what, they still do.
I want people to not notice that I am fat. Because my being fat doesn’t take away from the kind of person I am. I am educated and have a career. But when people meet me, all they see is the weight. They see a fat person walking towards them and they decide that she must be slow, lazy, eat like a maniac, will smell horrible, would be unambitious and would be single. I am not kidding with any of this. Oh, and also that this fat woman must be desperate. She would be an easy lay. So with such glowing first impressions, it is hard to get the other person to even see what I have behind the fat. It’s like until I can peel the layers of fat from my own body, my fat will maketh me.
I want people to not notice that I am fat. Because my being fat doesn’t take away from the kind of person I am.
I realized a long time ago, in class 11th to be precise, that I will never be typically slim and pretty. The only thing I have is my personality. That’s what I can mould and make into whatever I want to be. And so I made an outward shell of a confident, I don’t give two hoots, loud and sometimes referred to as an obnoxious personality. It got me through college. It got me friends and it got me love too. Lovers even.
I have spent years agonizing inwardly about why I could never be slim and pretty. And believe me I have tried. I have been on crazy fad diets which have left my system so out of sync that as I grow older, I can feel the effects of meals missed and unnecessary punishment in the gym. It’s not a happy thought that the bout of gymming where the instructor thought that making me pound the treadmill would make me lose weight ended up damaging my knees and someday in the future I will have to get a surgery.
Every time I would fall in love with who I am, someone would point out how I am fat and hence not good enough. My threshold level for rejection is saturated because of the rejection I face due to my weight every single day. And it’s possibly because of this that I cannot deal with rejection well. My experience with my weight is not unique. This is the way most ‘fat’ people are. They are constantly trying to prove something, constantly trying to act as if they don’t care. And at the end of the day a lot of them go and submerge themselves into comfort food. Because they realize, no one else cares.
I know that most fat people and I have probably spent our lives compensating for our weight. Apologizing to the world in a way that ‘I am sorry I weigh so much and you can’t bear to look at me, let me crack a joke. Maybe then you will like me’. I know I do this everyday. I have been told how it would be a subject of ridicule that the man I love is slim and fit and that I would look older than him because of my weight. I have been asked to lose weight in the garb of ‘it’s for your health’ but I know it’s never been about my health. It’s about what my weight makes me appear. It makes me appear as a blob of fat. That’s it. Hence the discussions around me will be about only weight and losing weight and gaining weight and more weight till I yell ‘WAIT! There is more to me than my weight.’
Every time I would fall in love with who I am, someone would point out how I am fat and hence not good enough.
Because there is more to me. I can only hope for a place in life where to everybody around me, my weight stops mattering and I start mattering more. Of course if I look closely at my life, I have a man who loves me for who I am, friends who think I am amazing and a sister who thinks the world of me. So maybe there really are unicorns at the end of the rainbow and all us fat people can sit on them and ride into the colours and have shiny, happy and not dark and secret relationships with ourselves.
But that’s ridiculous. How fat or thin you are has nothing to do with who you are as a person. And if someone is going to judge you solely based on your weight, that person’s judgement is not worth anything.
I say this as a person who was slim (but still thought she was not slim enough), put on weight, and put on some more, and some more till she became really fat, who finally came to terms with her fatness, and then ended up losing weight because she fell in love with running.
Today you could possibly call me slim (after factoring in two kids and middle age), but I don’t care either way. Fat or slim, I am who I am, and my weight doesn’t matter to me.
Yes, I know that’s what you are saying too- that it shouldn’t matter.
Although I can’t understand what you have gone through, I also can’t agree with all that you said. I have a fat cousin, and I keep on pushing him to loose weight. Why? Not because he looks bad, coz I don’t care. I like him the way he is, but I am concerned about his health. Obesity is a disease, though we haven’t accepted this yet. Its a root cause of many serious health problems at a later age, and I believe anyone who is obese, must take responsibility to loose weight, not to look good to the world, but to care of her/his own health.
Instead of worrying about how I look or what the world would think about me, you should worry about what if I get a bad heart disease or cancer tomorrow because of my weight? won’t I end up hurting and inconveniencing my near and dear ones because of my illness? That’s how the attitude should be.
There’s a very good book, ‘Eat to Live by Joel Furhman’ – it has helped many of my friends to loose weight. Yes, I push my near ones to loose weight. They sometimes also get angry with me, but I think I am doing the right thing for their own future health. And there’s nothing wrong with caring for someone in this way! 🙂
I LOVE your post…I can identify with everything you’ve written….having once been slim and now having piled on the kilos I can actually compare the two states…funny thing is I have never felt better about myself that now…but everyone seems to think that not being my ex-slim self is some sort of a major loss….
Hello… I am a fattie. I am also beautiful.. beauty is in how you carry yourself. I have never had a problem attracting men. So there… having said that…. I would love to lose weight. I am scared shit about it. I am losing weight thankfully. It scares me that I could get all sorts of lifestyle diseases though I am completely healthy now. Maybe thats because I havent purposefully had white sugar for years or make sure I eat healthy, etc etc. And I dont do diets. I hate them. Instead I lose weight very healthily.
It is also of my concern that I might not conceive properly once I want to. And being somebody who was just born to be a mom (I am a kid magnet. Have even had strangers’ kids come up and bury their face in my bosom.), I do want to somebody. And I am not going to let my blob like structure interfere with that.
I think this post is full of denial. I have never been treated differently because I am fat. Maybe because I dont give a hoot about who stares or judges. I also dont have a tough exterior. I am just what I am.
typo…. I do want to *some day*.
Its understandeable that different people may feel differently. but I am afraid that does not mean someone is in denial. You are losing weight for yourself Sruthi and that is how it should be. I am aware of being healthy. but I dont confuse health with weight to the point that being ‘healthy’ becomes an unhealthy obsession. 🙂
and sejal, sometimes what you think is the right thing to do ‘for someone elses sake’ may not be the right thing to do ‘by’ them. I also understand what will harm me in the long run. the point is, i need to feel that myself. I have read this somewhere that your body is your best tool to your body. 🙂 it tells you when its had enough and when its not getting enough food, water or exercise. I rite this post as a person who feels truly healthy and can do anything that anyone half my size can. maybe better.
I loved your piece most of all because it was so transparent, Tanzila – which also means that it helped me enter your world and look at it through your eyes. Your writing suggests that you’ve come to terms with a lot. I hand it to you. I need more people like you in my life as I strive to be a better counsellor.
A lot of this resonated with me because I have a friend who is fat and a lot of what she has said to me sounds similar to this. I find people who keep insisting on the health angle completely annoying, because why do we seem to mostly only be so concerned about the health of fat people? I am not fat but pretty unhealthy but noone tells me about my health – in fact I get complimented all the time for “looking so good after two babies” Ha! And I will admit that I am more attracted to people who are thin… but I also have a couple of friends who I actually think look better with the weight on..up to a point though. This is my own prejudice and I rather be honest about it and aware of it than going on about how concerned I am about the health of other people.
@Sejal – You mentioned in the comment – “I can’t understand what you have gone through” Very true. You cannot understand what she might have feelt like until your weight becomes your identity and you struggle to change that every single day. Let people decide what is good for them. You statements like “lose weight for your own good” will not accomplish anything other than hurt the person or bring down their self-confidence. When you say say “Obesity is a disease” – you are making the same assumptions that the author speaks of. That the fat person is eating junk or being lazy and not exercising.
Reader’s Corner: With Shail Mohan
Yes, I Am A Single Woman In India! Any Problems?
Will Motherhood Derail My Career?
Reader’s Corner: With Sangitha Krishnamurthi
Get our weekly mailer and never miss out on the best reads by and about women!