6) I didn’t learn that exercise was something one could fall in love with. In fact, I learned to HATE exercise. Because I was fat, nobody ever expected me to exceed at anything exercise or sports-related, and in fact they commiserated with me when I would complain or be in pain from enforced exercise such as weekly fun-runs in P.E. They told me, not everyone is meant for sports. They’d tell me that fat people will always have a harder time exercising. They’d tell me that exercise was something to get through so that you could say you did it. I mean, not in those exact words, but basically. I never learned that exercise was something you really could fall in love with. I never learned that it was something that would make your life and your happiness and your self-esteem sky rocket, even if you were still fat. I wish I would have learned that early on.
7) I learned that the fatter you get, the more you become one single adjective to others. I learned this as a fat kid. Think about it and tell me it’s not true. I learned that the fatter you get, the fewer adjectives anyone use to describe you until one day you are only fat. You are nothing else. This was the lesson I learned. Few people ever see anything else when they look at you. Your striking eyes, your beautiful smile, your awesome new hairstyle. It all disappears.
8) I learned that fat people want the same things as everyone else, and that they usually won’t get them. I learned that fat people yearn for all the same things most everyone does. Love, opportunity, sexy mates, I could add a hundred other things to the list. Weight has nothing to do with attraction, or work ethic, or desire, or dreams. Yet fat people are shut out left and right, starting with getting picked last for dodge ball just because they’re fat. Their dating profiles are often immediately overlooked. They will almost always lose the job opportunity to someone equally as qualified (and sometimes less so) who is more slender or attractive. I learned this early on, which just made me hate myself and my fatness more.
9) I learned that people don’t wait up for you when you’re fat. One of the reasons I hated exercise was because I learned that in just about anything I tried, people hated waiting for the fat kid. It didn’t matter if I was hiking with Boy Scouts or climbing a sledding hill. The looks I got when I finally caught up were gawd-awful and dependable. Eye-rolls, huffs, sighs. And all it did was make me skip out on it all as often as possible.
10) I learned that the fat get fatter. I learned that the world of fatness is so often like everything else. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Or in this case, the fat get fatter. I learned that because of the judgments, and the annoyance of fit people, and the cruelties that exist for the fat, fat people often shy away from it all as much as possible. It’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself indefinitely.
Yes, these are ten lessons I learned as a fat kid.
Not rosy, I know.
But very true lessons. For me.
And it makes me ask myself, if I could go back and ask others to change three things to give me a fighting chance as a fat kid, what would I ask them to change?
The life of a fat kid is so difficult, and so complex, and so completely full of the wrong messages, that a few changes made by others would make such a big difference. I know they would have for me. So here are my three changes I would ask the people of my past to make if we could all go back.