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*this post contains mention of fatphobia and fat hate
When I was in 6th grade a beautiful boy kissed me in my neighbor’s backyard. He had a Bulls Starter Jacket and wore so much gel in his hair that it was crisp to the touch. When he tried to put his hand up my shirt I told him “no”. He pushed me and exclaimed “you’re a fat bitch” as he walked away.
In Junior High when I got in an argument with my friend, she would giggle and whisper “fat bitch” while walking past me in the halls.
When I was 14 I walked to the nearby convenience store to get a treat on Saturday morning. A man yelled “Hey honey!” at me. I kept my head down, kept walking. He yelled “Fat bitch!” as he sped away.
At 32, I post a picture of myself jumping into a pool while wearing a bikini. I am smiling. The caption reads “Ready for Summer”. Numerous strangers all leave the same comment: “fat bitch”.
I used to think that maybe people were right. Maybe I was angry, or hurt, or cynical because of how I looked. Maybe there is a certain bitchiness that comes with being a fat woman, likely caused by self hatred and anger from the excess flesh surrounding our bodies. Maybe we’re bitchy because nobody will ever love us, or want to have sex with us.
… or maybe we’re just fucking tired of defending our humanity.
Because living in the world as a fat person is traumatic. Because having other people project their own fucked up perceptions onto you is exhausting. Because even the happiest, most positive fat people are not allowed to feel down without the world accusing them of being in a hell of their own making.
Our bodies have never defined us, but these experiences within them have created a resiliency I didn’t know I was capable of. I thought I was alone for so long, that when I met other people who shared my reality, it felt like I was finally home. We are a community of unique individuals, all held together by society’s misconceptions.
I am proud of who I am and what I have become. Living within this body has shown me the strength of my values. Connecting with my community has shown me the power of vulnerability. Living loud and demanding respect has helped make my dreams come true.
I did not choose to be a “fat bitch”, the world placed that on me before I even understood what it meant. But I will no longer allow the world to hold power over my body. I will reclaim the words used against me and wear them as a reminder to everyone – we are a community created by other people’s misguided attempt at labeling us.
I am a Fat Bitch. We are the Fat Bitch. And we are unapologetically proud.
Photography by Rochelle Brock http://www.rochellefatleopard.com/