You Don’t Get to Decide if I’m Fat

And Other Bullshit Expectations

I want to be clear. I don’t take society’s judgement personally. At the same time being skinny, or having the perfect body, and the impossible- young looking forever is plastered everywhere. It’s an expectation. A bullshit expectation, but sometimes it creeps in and I have to remind myself these thoughts are based off the toxic ideas of other people.

I don’t live up to your expectation? I don’t meet your standards? I’m not sure that’s my problem. It sounds like a you thing.

I was shopping with my husband. I already knew my clothes from last winter were no longer going to fit me. When I said I was ready to go he asked me if I planned to try on the items before we left the store. They’re a size ten. If anything they’ll be too big, but I’ll try them on just to be sure. Whatever.

Had I not, I would have went home to discover three out of five pairs of pants wouldn’t button. When I came out of the fitting room I felt mortified. There was quite a bit of OMFG and holy crap bouncing through my head. It was a switch that flipped. I forgot that I feel okay with myself and got caught up in the bullshit instead.

I squeezed, and wiggled, and tugged and contorted.

I couldn’t get my ass into an amazing pair of purple corduroy pants. Ugh, I wanted them to fit. They would’ve looked great with my deep gray knit sweater. The one that shows a respectable I’m in my forties amount of cleavage that dudes in their sixties ogle because let’s be honest, men always want women younger than them. That’s another societal norm.

I stood in front of the mirror looking at my big ole’ hips thinking, what in the god damn fuck but only because society expects me to.

We’re getting better though, right? At least now we acknowledge plus size models. Yeah, we put them in the spotlight as if we’re doing them a solid but in actuality we’re only drawing attention to the fact they’re not skinny. It’s the same with the #bodypositive movement.

I’m supposed to say I’m body positive to feel better about myself because you think I’m fat.

Hey, did you know skinny people have health problems the same as people who are overweight? People who fall below an 18.5 body mass index are more susceptible to poor immune functions, cancer, Osteoporosis, respiratory and digestive diseases, and run a greater mortality risk than those with a 25 + body mass index which is considered overweight.

Granted, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention I’m not overweight but according to society there’s an entirely different standard.

Ten months ago I weighed 105 pounds. This morning I weigh 142. That’s right. I’ve gained almost 40 pounds in ten months. How did that happen? Well, by sitting around on my fat ass eating Oreos’ of course. I have typical fat person syndrome. That’s a thing right? Or maybe I just think it is because that’s what society wants me to believe.

It couldn’t possibly be genetics, chronic illness, depression or due to any other force beyond my control. Nope, not an option. I’m just fat. Maybe even lazy . Oh, and I probably don’t care that I look like a slob.

When I started taking Lexapro and Klonopin almost two years ago they made a huge difference but they didn’t stop the suicidal ideation. Now, I would never harm myself. In fact I have a crisis plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy to feel or think this way. Quite the opposite actually. It’s terrifying and the stress affects both my physical and emotional health.

I tried everything. Exercise, meditation, therapy, journaling, an irrational amount of cats. I even wear prom dresses in my darkest moments. Anything to pretend I’m not me. Anything to feel safe. Anything to feel okay even if only mediocre. Anything not to feel desperate.

I would do anything. So I did.

I started taking a mood stabilizer and no shit, I stopped having suicidal ideation but I did gain weight at a rather rapid pace. Society doesn’t know that though. They just think I’m fat. I should go on a diet, exercise, did I eat my vegetables? I should do something, right?

Let’s review my options because we all know it’s true. The way I see it, If I’m fat I’m going to be judged. If I experience Bipolar Disorder I’m going to be judged. I wrote this. I’m going to be judged. I think it’s realistic to say the list of judgments can go on. You know you suffer from judgments too. Who doesn’t?

I assure you, I beat myself up far more for being emotionally unstable than I do for wearing a size twelve. Carrying the weight of society’s expectation is much heavier than an extra thirty pounds, but here’s the thing. You don’t get to decide whether or not I’m fat. Only I do.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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