This started out as a reply to The Common Queen, a dear, dear friend who is cleaning it up on the Internet. Her little blog is going places, and once you read her posts, you’ll see why. In writing you need a voice, and Holly’s got it.
Besides this great post, which got two THOUSAND views in a day, she wrote this one. And it stuck a chord with me.
Okay, so I had to respond. I wrote it on Facebook where she linked. It was a run-on mess because that’s just how it is on FB. So I thought I’d respond here, too. Because you need to read Holly’s stuff, and, perhaps my answer will encourage you.
I know what it’s like to be the fat one. My mom said each winter I gained weight but ran it off every summer, until I didn’t. What no one knew was as I moved into puberty, I had PCOS, and quite a severe case. I’ve always struggled with hormonal imbalance and endocrine stuff. Although there were thin years I remember 5th grade when the weight stayed.
We were in gym class, of course, swimming, and a kid pointed at me and asked the teacher, “Does fat float?”
That 5th grade me stayed with me through the thick and thin. When I became a young adult I was so wounded I thought any attention from a boy would validate me. And honestly, shut that fat girl inside me up. Even when I asked Jesus into my life, I have to say—my eternal destination changed.
My fat girl mentality did not.
The shame and insecurity stayed with me through meeting my husband and marrying him. In addition to other issues, I was so insecure I waited every day for a decade for him to announce he’d seen the light and was on his way. My self loathing was that strong.
When I became pregnant with our second child, I knew deep down we were having a daughter. How I prayed she’d be spared. And while in the womb He whispered to me that this child would be an overcomer. I honestly thought it meant she wouldn’t have the tough PMS I endured. Maybe she’d miss the fat floats insanity.
She was born with endocrine issues that made things a challenge for her immediately. Her weight tripled from her two month check to the next one. Strangers stopped me and said the most horrific things. Things that make the fat float question sound genius.
I thank God because in that season, He was healing my heart and giving me confidence to see the bigger picture, pun intended.
I went through a Bible study by Stasi Eldredge called Captivating. God used that book to set me free. I don’t have the words to explain it, but to say I’m free. I don’t worry about what I look like anymore. I do my best to stay healthy, but that shame? Gone.
I also had a mentor encourage me by saying the chubby girls are listened to. When I give a speech or presentation women listen to me because I’m real. I’m one of them. They can relate to me. I’ve watched women with more skill than me try to speak and the women shot them down. Ignored them. Mocked them. Why? Because the speaker was thin and usually blonde. The audiences couldn’t relate.
When I watch my daughter walk down the hall at school there is such joy on her face. When she hears a comment most of the time she gives a look back that says “I feel sorry for you because you’re missing out on the awesome that is me.” But she’s human. It hurts her, too. I suspect as she matures she will hear more. And I hate it. As she’s grown she’s had additional diagnoses that unless God intervenes, she won’t be a size 2. And I pray she’s okay with that forever, as she is now.
My struggle continues. I went into forced menopause and that made losing weight even harder. I keep track on MyFitnessPal. I walk the dog. I do what I can. And I don’t care what others think or say. Truly.
So to the kid that asked if fat floats, I don’t know or care. But fat has a testimony if you allow it. My fat is a broken place I allowed God to use to encourage someone else. And that’s a plus-size bonus.