No Longer a Whisper
“We are no longer a whisper.” This was something spoken at Fat Camp that I’ll never forget. For so long, being fat has been this shamed, dirty thing. Fat girls hiding in the back of classrooms, wearing muted colors to blend in, not speaking up for fear of being seen. Being fat hasn’t just been about body shame but about something so much deeper. Shame of who you actually are.
In high school, I never talked to anyone. I silently sat in my classes and just hoped I wouldn’t be noticed. My fear was if I was noticed, I’d be ridiculed. Every social interaction that I was forced to have whether in group assignments or finding people to sit with at lunch was so painful. I just wanted to disappear. I’m sure a lot of people feel this way in high school because it’s just an awkward and difficult time, but being fat, all I could think about was that part of myself in how I thought others saw me. That people didn’t want to be seen with a fat girl or that all they saw when talking with me was my fat.
I imagine this is something other fat adolescents can relate to. Of course, as I got older, it got a little better. But, being fat continues to be something that I feel holds not only me back, but others too. There’s still so much shame and stigma associated with it that it’s just easier sometimes to be still, quiet and hope no one notices you. The weight of others’ judgment can be too crushing to try and be free to live your life at times. I still find myself not trying new things like a work out class or hike because I’m so scared of my fat body letting me down and what others will think. I can hear their thoughts in my head before I even try. “Of course she’s out of shape. Look how fat she is.” “She obviously doesn’t come here regularly if she looks like that.” And the unhealthy self-talk goes on and on.
Fat women have lived our lives as a whisper. Slowly losing who we are and limiting the joys we can experience in life out of fear and shame from others but also ourselves. We will never be free until we break our own chains and realize that we are enough. That being fat isn’t shameful but just one small piece of who we are as human beings. Once we realize the power of who we are and unite as fat women, there is absolutely no way we can remain whispers.
I’m so proud of where I am today in my journey to speak up and out about my body, stigma reduction and body positivity. I wish I could let that chubby high school girl see and hear me now. And that’s not to say everything is perfect. I still have days where I struggle and find it hard to love who I am, but at least I try to battle those thoughts. Even my inner voice has gotten louder. I’m so grateful for a community (thank you Annette for putting Fat Camp together!) that lifts me up and helps me through those days with encouragement, inspiration and motivation. Ladies, you are no longer a whisper but part of a movement that is changing lives! Continue being heard, living loudly and being your best self.