I used to be overweight. Not like, oh, hey, he could stand to be a little less heavy. But like legit fat. Or at least, I think so. Some people don’t like that word. I don’t know. But that’s how I saw myself, anyway.
That’s how I saw myself in the mirror, at least. I can’t speak for anybody else, but it was always the worst. No matter how much you tell yourself you look alright, the mirror never lies. The mirror shows you your shame, front and center.
Of course, even if you can forget it, society won’t. Society never forgets your status.
People treat me differently now. A lot differently. Some of that is how I view myself. No longer do I carry that shame. Well, not as much, anyway.
But some of it is something else. The way we view overweight people. The way we view thin people.
I never even realized how different it was until I crossed over to The Other Side.
Strangers smile at you when you’re waiting in line. People invite you to parties, even if you don’t know them very well. Co-workers assume you’re busier and working harder than ever before.
And girls? Oh, they’re nice to you, too. Heck, some of them are downright flattering. Girls have asked me out.
This wasn’t part of the Old Reality. In that world, you had to make up for the way you looked. You had to be funny and charming and goddamned brilliant and even then, most girls didn’t like you.
Of course, it’s not like I was innocent, either. Sure, I wanted a girl to look past my weight and see the real me. But she had to be pretty, too.
I’m as brainwashed as anybody else.
But it’s funny how different it is now. How obvious it is.
Now I see that our society doesn’t just see overweight people as ugly and disgusting. It isn’t just that they should be ashamed of themselves.
It’s that they are lazy. They are helpless. They are constant leeches to society.
They are punchlines and sidekicks. They don’t work out. They just sit around eating all day. If they could just put down the ham sandwich, amirite?
Well, no, you’re not right.
Obesity, like many health issues, often stems from mental health issues. For me, food was an addiction. A need. I couldn’t stop when I was full. I couldn’t stop no matter how badly my stomach hurt or how bad I knew the consequences were.
Because when all you feel for yourself is shame and disgust, then the only brief few moments you feel good are when you’re consuming that nice slice of pizza. That delicious reprieve from your self-loathing and humiliation.
Of course, overweight people see thin people differently, too. Or at least I did.
I saw fit people and was jealous. I thought they didn’t deserve it. I thought they cheated at life. That they were a bunch of fake jerks who just want to steal my women and fuck me over.
I didn’t see whether they were getting up before work and running. I had no idea if they were restraining themselves at every meal I wasn’t there for. I only saw the result, and it made me feel worse about myself.
The ones I focused on were the skinny people who just ate whatever they wanted and stayed skinny. I hated them. They didn’t deserve it. They didn’t earn it. Why should I be punished and they are not? But that’s life. Flip a coin, win the genetic lottery. Flip it again and lose.
Part of it is that we, as overweight people, have a hard time taking responsibility, because if we’re at fault, then we’re weak, and we are already judging and hating ourselves too much as it is.
We have to find a way to admit that we are at least partially responsible for our own health while also being able to stop judging ourselves for five fucking minutes so we can feel like real human beings and maybe change our lives.
Maybe be healthy. Maybe even be pretty.
Maybe even feel sexy and wanted and worth it.
Maybe like a real human being who counts.
And that’s the worst part about being overweight. You’re invisible. You don’t count. People don’t listen. After all, if you can’t even control your own weight, who are you to tell me what to do?
It’s ridiculous, but that’s the society we live in.
I don’t blame anybody. We’re programmed to view people this way. We are constantly bombarded with unattainable beauty. No matter how pretty you are, you’re never immune. We all have our insecurity.
I don’t know what the answer is. Perhaps we just need to stop viewing ourselves in us vs. them categories and realize that we all share a whole lot more in common than we do apart. Or maybe there’s nothing we can do.
I just know that as someone who has been on both sides, I don’t ever, ever want to go back.
But I refuse to judge people who are still struggling and fighting and clawing their way out of that despair and negative self-talk and feelings of worthlessness and compulsive eating.
My heart goes out to you because no matter how much weight I lose and no matter how fit someone might tell me I look and now matter how many times I’m still surprised a cute girl likes me…
… I’ll always feel like I’m one of you. One of us.