I know that fatness, and the blatant discussion of it, stirs up more emotion than just about any other hot topic on the internet. So please, read this in the spirit it was intended… A frank and honest discussion. Nothing more, nothing less.

Whether they were true lessons to learn or not, these are 10 of the most powerful and unfortunate lessons I learned (or didn’t learn) as the fat kid growing up.

1) I learned that there is always an excuse to be fat. And when I say always, I mean always. My favorite excuse was my genetics. I have a family who, by far, the majority of its members are fat. We have many morbidly obese people in my family. And the reason was always pinned on our genetics. We also always talked about how enormously huge our bone structures were, and about how even the most active and fit among us were fat, so there was nothing we could do about it. As computers became mainstream, we all talked about how it was because of that. The world was always out to make us fat and keep us fat, and it was just easier when we all helped each other remember that there wasn’t really much we could do about it, even if we tried.

2) I learned that there’s always something better than diet and exercise. If it wasn’t here, it would be here soon. Pills, potions, magic elixirs, eat-anything diets. And because all of it worked for at least a little while, it was always the answer. I’ll never forget when Phen-Fen was so huge. I was skinny for the first time in my life. And then they took it away and I got fatter than ever, immediately. But the answer was to just wait for science to come out with the next big thing that hopefully this time didn’t destroy your heart valves.

3) I learned that the world doesn’t expect as much from you when you’re fat. It’s just true. The people in this world know that there is so much weight (no pun intended) placed on being skinny, and attractive, and perfect that it almost always rewards people who are skinny and attractive first. They get the jobs. They get the opportunities. They get the right people in their lives. You name it. I learned that when you’re fat, the world just expects you to float by and never make much of anything of yourself. After all, if you can’t control something as simple as your weight, how can you be on top of anything else in your life?

4) I learned that it’s easier to be fat than to actually face what’s making you fat. It really is. And believe me. It’s not food that’s making you fat (a lesson I’ve had to learn repeatedly). At my heaviest, I tipped the scales at 350 lbs. It was my rock bottom, and it was only then that I realized the difference between being a big guy and being a fat guy, and that there was something causing me to let myself be a fat guy. I would always be a big guy. It was a part of my genetics. It was inevitable. I’ll never be able to change that. But I don’t have to be a fat guy. The thing was, I never learned that I always would be until I could finally face the demons that were pushing me to destroy my body the way I was. And, when I hit rock bottom, I decided to finally figure out how to face those demons. Except I learned when I did, that it’s way easier to just be fat and so for the longest time, I gave up.

5) I learned that there is always someone fatter that you can judge harshly. Because I hated myself so much for my fatness, I always looked for other fat people, and especially for fatter people, to judge as harshly as the world seemed to be judging me. And you know what? There was always someone fatter who was more disgusting than I was, more not with it, and more lazy. It helped me validate myself as mis-seen, misunderstood, and misevaluated. It also helped me find some sort of weird self-esteem that I never could find when looking at myself in the mirror.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!