On being fat & othered

The world we live in, you and I,
was not made to accommodate these
hips or thighs.

One of these things is not like the other,
and woe to we, the other.
I am fat, yet I am made invisible, and it is done as though it
were some kind of favor.
Better that you not have to see me
than be offended by the sight of me.
It’s all about you.

Your narrow aisles, your armed chairs,
your armed words, your narrow minds,
Your narrow hips, your one-size-fits…

You are fashion and beauty and
business and family and health.
You are advertising and marketing
and glitter and glam.
I am, if I’m “lucky,” the object you react

I am a headless body seen in a
newscast in a story about — gasp
I am the enemy in the war on obesity.
My body is a disease.
My body is your target and your cannon

Because it doesn’t fit.
Because it costs you somehow.
Because it offends you by existing
and not fitting in…
To your narrow ideals.
To your skinny heart.
To your privilege.
But there’s plenty of room in your
To make me the punchline of the joke.
To erase me from your TV screen
except as a prop, an object lesson,
a patient.

As a patient, even with a broken bone
sticking out of my skin,
you see only my fat,
and your reaction, lose weight,
your chorus, your panacea,
cure, palliative, indictment.
It’s like you think shame is a

In church, you co-opt even scripture.
Your body is a temple,
mine an abomination.
Created in my inmost being,
knit together in the womb,
yet my body is still not good enough
for your men, for your women,
for your visible roles.
My visible rolls obscure me.

You shout at me when you drive by in
your car, “Go home, fatass!
You offer me unsolicited dieting advice.
You fear me and fear becoming like me.
You hate me as though hating me will make you happier with your own body.

Your waiters laugh both when
I order the salad
and when I order the cheesecake,
as though it were a moral failing
rather than a meal,
as though it were any of their business.
Oh, wait, it’s exactly that, your business.
You profit off of the othering you manufacture.

And God forbid that you see
a fat person in a relationship
with a skinny person.
God forbid that someone dares to
get naked while fat.
Even the slightest hint of fat is
more than enough to upset you.
As though you were the victim.

The voice crying in the wilderness
saying fat is OK,
love yourself,
be yourself,
you can be healthy at every size,
is silenced by those
who can’t even stand to hear our voices.
Those who want to erase us so much so that they sign and distribute petitions,
troll and terrorize and traumatize,
because our bodies are their problem.

And there are those reading this who will say, not all
We don’t all feel that way.
As if their exception negates the rule
of privilege
As if their special circumstance
is the point
I am other, hear me roar,
or just keep on excusing yourself
and look away,
leave me invisible.

From one headless fatty to another,
one chunky kid on the playground to another,
one fatass on the sidewalk to another,
one other to another other —
Fat is not a feeling.
Fat is not the worst.
Fat is not a cross to bear.
Fat is not a cause celebre.
Fat is not the problem.

Synchroblogging with SheLoves Magazine on the subject/experience of being Othered.

12 thoughts on “On being fat & othered

  1. “I am fat, yet I am made invisible, and it is done as though it
    were some kind of favor.”
    I’ve only been recently noticing how _not_ seeing my experience in culture/the Bible/other narratives bothers me. Your poem here really makes this viscerally real to me, and reminds me to keep asking, “Who’s not here?” “Who do we need to hear from?”. Thank you so much for linking up with SheLoves–I am so grateful to have this window into your experience.


  2. WOW. Let’s just start with what an amazing writer you are … !

    Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your world and specifically into how you have been othered. I’m shaken up in the best way. Thank you …


  3. Pingback: Life Changers 10/24/14

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