I hate being fat. Other people seem to hate the fact that I'm fat, too. Strangers have told me to lose weight as I've walked down the street; TV shows and movies crack jokes about women who look like me; and when I make a self-deprecating but lighthearted joke about "my fat ass" not fitting into a dress or a narrow chair, well-meaning acquaintances have delicately tried to assure me it's not true, as though my size — my factual and undeniable physical form — were something I should not accept.
But even worse than being a fat woman is being an unhappy fat woman. As the fat-positive movement continues to grow, with blogs showcasing people of all sizes becoming confident fashion stars on Tumblr and Instagram (love you, GabiFresh!), I can't just quietly be a fat person. Thanks to the tummy that hangs over the top of my jeans, the chin the doubles up when I lower my head and the upper arms that wiggle every time I wave, I am an example that fat people can and do exist. I'm not just a person — I'm a fat person. And in a society that time and time again rejects fat people — mocks them, judges them, assumes things about their health and social status — every time I leave the house, I am forced to be a positive example.
But I'm a traitor, and I've been carrying this guilt for too long. I love that the fat-positive movement exists. I love that because of it, seemingly more and more people are learning to love and not hide their bodies. But even with all the inspiring greatness out there, I still hate that I am fat. I will kick and scream on Twitter about people who cruelly fat-shame others (looking at you, Ricky Gervais and 85 percent of Reddit users), but truth be told, I privately fat-shame myself on a regular basis. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't look at my stomach or thighs and think, "Gross."
It's not like I haven't tried to change my attitude, and my opinion about myself doesn't apply to others. I have friends in a variety of sizes who rock the shit out of sexy dresses and cute outfits — they embrace every curve and bump and wear bright colors and tight clothes (both of which are plus-size no-nos, judging by the bland, tent-like offerings in your average department store), and they proudly post selfies showing off each day's efforts. And they are babes. Do you hear me, ladies? You are total babes!
But I am not a babe. At least, not in my own mind. And the fat-positive movement has not changed that. In fact, to be honest, it has made it worse. It has made me even more self-conscious, because the one flaw of the otherwise fantastic fat-posi trend is that there's no room to discuss the possibility that you might not feel so positive about being fat.
My husband has no complaints, my closest friends don't seem to care, but for whatever reason I can't apply the admiration I have for another woman's confidence to myself. Despite the fact that I've been the same dress size (18) for several years, I treat my body like it's temporary. I don't bother trying to dress myself in anything beyond a baggy hoodie and the same pair of Gap Curvy jeans because I'm not going to be in this body much longer. I will lose weight. I will get back to the size I was 10 years ago. I will start running again, I will stop eating candy, and I will be able to wear a pair of jeans for more than a few months before my thighs wear a hole through the cheap denim.
I own seven T-shirts that fit me without hugging my tummy or arms a little too tight — two of them are literally falling apart — but I have three boxes full of clothes that haven't fit me since George W. Bush was in office. I hang onto those size 8 Lucky jeans I wore when I was 24 as though they'll come alive at night and whisper motivating weight-loss secrets into my ear as I sleep.
I want to love my fat ass as much as I love the fat-positive movement, but I can't help but feel like a flaw, a bad example, a traitor. I am evidence that not every fat person is OK with the fact that they're fat, and I hate that.
But I hate that I'm fat even more.