Disclaimer: Life has never been easy for me. Not that I have a horrendous tear-filled Orphan Annie like story to tell, but it just wasn't an easy road to walk as a young girl. I like it that way. Anything that's easy to get is something not worth attaining in the first place. There is a stigma to being the "fat" girl. A taboo topic. People look at you like you're less than them. They talk about you, but not to you. But dammit right here right now, I'm gonna talk about it.
I always laugh and say that the last time I recall being a "normal" weight was August 19th, 1981. I was born at a healthy seven pounds and seven and a half ounces. Not too much. Not too little. My first memory of knowing I was fat was at age three. My grandmother babysat me most of the time and Friday was our day to go grocery shopping. If I was good I could get a meal of my choice from my favorite fast food restaurant, which was the beloved McDonald's. Needless to say, I was always good. One Friday I decided that because I was a big girl I could choose a big girl meal. I chose a Big Mac and fries. To my surprise my grandmother didn't tell me no. So after unloading all the groceries I was allowed to sit at the kitchen table and partake of my big girl meal. Not even three bites in my mother walked in from work. Tired, cold, and preoccupied with other things she began to rant and rave about her work day. Mid sentence she placed her eyes on me and let out a screech, "What the hell is in my baby's mouth?" She took the sandwich out of my hand and turned to my grandmother. "Stop feeding my baby this stuff mama. That's why she's fat right now!" She then dropped my burger in the trash along with the fries. Being her hyper-emotional self she then ran into the bathroom to cry. At that moment at the age of three I learned two important lessons. I was FAT. And FAT was bad. It had to be bad. Otherwise it wouldn't make my mom cry. I wondered what could I do...to not be fat anymore.
My mother then began to discuss my fat-ness with her friends in front of me "Girl I just don't know what to do with her", she'd say. I'd keep playing in the yard with my friends pretending not to hear. She always had one friend who would blame my chubbiness on baby fat, tell her to leave me alone, and they'd pour another beer. I was okay with that excuse. Yeah it's baby fat, I would tell myself. And I'm going to outgrow it.
At five I remember my parents sent me to a nutritionist. As helpful as this was SUPPOSED to be it just wasn't. The nice white woman in the green dress (covered with a white lab coat I believe) asked me to make a list of my favorite foods. We then made a second list taking all my favorites that were healthy. One in particular was discussed. "You like pickles?" I nodded in agreement. "Well when you're hungry instead of having potato chips for a snack you should have some pickles instead". That created a pickle "addiction" that I still have to this day. Did I lose weight? Nuh uhn.
So I became the fat girl. No matter how I tried to fit in or no matter how many friends I had I was always very aware of my fatness. It changed my behaviorisms drastically. I became overly sarcastic and quick and sharp-witted because I had to be ready for the first fat insult. I became somewhat of a bullie to ensure that the insults never took place. I was always aware of my weight in the most horrible way. I survived the elementary and middle....but the hardest part was yet to come...high school.