So, I am fat. I am obese.
I am probably big-boned, but those bones are covered with a lot of flesh, so I don’t really know. When I say these things about myself, normal-weight people cringe.
It makes them uncomfortable to hear me identify myself that way, even though, if they were asked how to describe me, that’s what they would say. Oh, it would be in nicer terms like, “Well she’s blond and big, chunky, heavy, LARGE…” You fill in the blank. But for some reason when I call myself fat or a big girl they look abashed and tell me, “Oh don’t say that about yourself.”
It’s what I look like at this time and Lord knows I can’t hide it. But, notice how I said it’s what I LOOK LIKE, not WHO I am, that’s the difference and that is why I am OK with calling it out and even making fun of it.
Physically, I AM A BIG PERSON. I need to lose over a hundred pounds. You heard me right, I am carrying around enough extra weight to make a gymnast or a jockey! This fact about my appearance is not WHO I am though.
Inside me is the WHO I AM. I am someone who loves to hear people laugh, who believes in Jesus and the entirety of the Bible, who cries at sappy movies and commercials, who is stubborn when I believe in something, and who has been known for bouts of rebellion and inappropriate remarks.
I have been overweight most of my life, but I can say the majority of the time, I have not allowed it to stop me from living that life.
All this acceptance I have for my vast weight does not mean I am OK with being fat. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting to cart around a gymnast 24/7. When you’re fat you have to worry about fitting in seats at the movies, or any seats for that matter. You have to worry about children asking you if you’re pregnant, or seat belts in older cars fitting. It may sound trivial, but it can suck.
Being fat, I am always working hard for people to see beyond the flesh, to who I really am, and in reality, isn’t that what everyone is working towards? Not being judged for what’s on the outside, but for people to see what they have to offer on the inside?
It has been a journey, and I will be sharing more on this topic in future blogs because it is one of this girl’s missions to be healthy. So in between talking about awesome people doing awesome things and rambling about my life, I will also be sharing my story to shed this weight and get in fighting shape again (just kidding I was never in any shape to fight).
I’ll end with this story, where a four-year-old said it best.
A few years ago, I was meeting some friends at a play that their daughter was in. They had brought another couple and their four-year-old son with them. As my husband and I were sitting down, the little boy looked at me and said, “You are really BIG!” My friend’s son, who was quite a bit older than this boy, shushed him and said, “You shouldn’t say that…that’s not nice” to which the boy responded, “Why? I just said she was big. She is big and being big isn’t bad.”
Of course, I was embarrassed. I felt my face get hot and I just wanted to melt into the seat and disappear. But later, when I was reliving that moment, it struck me what he said and really how awesome it was. “She IS big, and being big isn’t bad.”
Thank you, embarrassing Four-Year-Old!
Jen Harp has worked in the area of non-profit marketing and public relations for 16 years. She has enjoyed the opportunities to share her unique perspective as a guest columnist for a local newspaper and various magazines and webzines.
Her mission is to help non-profits tell their stories through the power of marketing and social media.
Jen has had a heart for the homeless as far back as she can remember. Since 2011, she has taken a week each year and lived in her sister’s van, raising money and awareness for people who are experiencing mobile homelessness. You can see her Van Week adventures on video and follow her blog at BigGirlOnAMission.com.