Nice to meet you. I'm sorry I'm fat.

Nice to meet you. I'm sorry I'm fat.
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The struggle isn’t real.

I wouldn’t exactly say I struggle with my weight. I actually get along really well with it. Kind of like an old friend who’s always been there or a comfortable sweater that I’ve had for so long I don’t remember what life was like before it. Sometimes it goes missing for a while, but it always seems to find its way back. Often times, it brings friends. The more, the merrier, right?

Don’t mean to brag, but my socks from high school still fit.

Some days I am weary of being a cliche. The fat girl who broke a chair, who knocked over all the clothes on the racks at Aeropostale while checking out the socks that are the only thing my size in the store, who couldn’t ride the roller coaster because the safety restraint wasn’t long enough. Other days, I revel in the glory of rocking a fat girl personality, a personality born out of spending the better part of my adult life finding ways to apologize for loving a good cheeseburger, for breaking chairs, for being fat.

This big girl walks into a bar with a duck under her arm . . .

I’m fun. People tell me all the time. In describing me, people would sheepishly search for an adjective that didn’t involve “big” or “heavy,” and usually land on fun. And by golly, I don’t disappoint. I’m grateful for the extra weight all those extra donuts gave me because it also gifted me with a keen awareness of what works and what doesn’t in a personality. Fat and grouchy doesn’t work; I can tell you that. Fat and funny, on the other hand, slays in the break room and gets you invited to all sorts of fun things. Fat and funny is like a shiny party favor wrapped up in a puffy vest, bacon, and glitter.

Nice to meet you. I’m sorry I’m fat.

It’s awkward when people don’t know me, don’t know yet that my fat doesn’t define me. Awkward when I am with a new group of folks that don’t painstakingly plan where we can sit in restaurants because of the chance the booth might be designed for children and adult women who love hot yoga more than hot dogs. Awkward when the “bigger” free t-shirt at the event is still too small and everyone wants a group pic. In the shirt. That has now become a glorified sausage casing, seams desperately crying out for reinforcements.

Kale salad with a side of orthopedic supports

I wear my vice like an oversized suit stuffed with marshmallows and shame. It follows me with a trail of numbers that make the doctor politely smile, tilt her head with every effort to not judge, think to herself, “for the love of all that is holy, woman, eat a piece of fruit!” and then kindly hand me a flyer about the many benefits of kale. It traipses in when I’m shoe shopping and longingly ogle the cute trendy heels but plop myself down into a practical pair of orthopedic shoes that can support the weight of 30 years of overeating and guilt. It carries with it years of break-ups and celebrations, boredom and anxiety, socializing and independence, all knit together in that comfy, bulky, cellulite-riddled sweater.

Sorry, not sorry, and thank you

I read a while back that we over-apologizers are supposed to stop apologizing and start thanking. Instead of saying, “sorry,” we should say, “thank you.” Showed up late for a meeting? Don’t apologize. Thank them for being patient and waiting for you. Serves the purpose of acknowledging that you were late without devaluing you. Also gives them an “atta-boy” because they were indeed patient. So I’m here now to say, “thank you.” For laughing with me when I become the cliché that breaks the chair. For allowing me the moments to celebrate with a piece of cake that’s bigger than it should be. For seeing me as more than the inappropriately large number that squeals loudly on the scale in the doctor’s office.

Love the fat friend, not the fat.

Jesus loved them all. Didn’t matter if they had just thrown back a dozen cookies in one sitting or if they had gone out and rescued puppies in a hurricane. He didn’t care about what anybody did to try to establish their value. He cared because they were all valuable. Because they were. I am most definitely the product of my choices. Nobody forced me to eat that third (or fifth) piece of pizza. Nobody held me down on the couch for a Netflix marathon instead of going for that walk. And so, nobody should have to embrace my poor choices.

However. . .

The thing to remember is that I am valuable.

I am a funny person with some pretty terrific stories.

I am a self-taught expert in finding the most flattering outfit for a body type.

I make great chocolate cake.

I am a great listener and an even better keeper of all things private.

I care about you - yes, you - and I care what you think.

I am more than the incredibly large sum of my poor choices.

So while you’re seeing the whole person, don’t worry so much about embracing the bad choices I’ve made. Just try your best to embrace the person. Embrace as much of me as you can with your tiny little arms that can’t get around my waist. You won’t be sorry.

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