Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Even when you think you are, you're not.

Fat girls everywhere are rising up against the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch regarding his declaration of hatred towards those of us who are plus-sized.

As big people go - hell, as people go - I'm pretty fortunate. I was not teased in school, not ever. I wasn't one of the popular kids, but I wasn't uncomfortable with who I was (that was middle school). Even as I stuttered my way through my college experience, I never encountered cruelty.

Then again, I didn't hit the world of Lane Bryant until I was in my twenties. There are days when I'm almost OK with how I look, and others where all I can do is compare myself to others. Yesterday, for instance, I went to a store right after work to look for a top that would help to lift my spirits and confidence as I performed on stage last night. I love the women I do improv with, and they can't help their size any more than I can help mine. They're itty-bitty. This, of course, leads to me feeling like a hippo in their presence, but that's my perception, not theirs.

I don't feel like I need to defend my size. I'm saddened that I feel badly about it. I met with my psychologist earlier this week, and we discussed my health, and I rattled off all the things I knew I should be doing. I should be more active, I should eat more fruits and vegetables and fish. I should drink more water. I should get outside more.

Side note: This was all confirmed with the blood test results I received Thursday night, letting me know I have high cholesterol and really low Vitamin D levels.

What's really cool to note here is the way my psychologist chose to look at it. Very matter-of-factly, he says, "Don't you think it's hard to help a body you hate?"

Uh. Yes, yes, it would be. It is. I've invested so much time on working on the emotional me while blatantly ignoring the physical me because I thought that part wasn't worth it. I have issues and insecurities tied to my size that I just have chosen to bottle up and hide with blustery overconfidence, while allowing the nasty voice in my head to crucify my doughy middle and jiggly thighs.

When my friends and bloggers I don't know rise up in support of fat acceptance, I think I need to read it for me. I need to be one of the people who accepts it. That message is mine. I don't know anyone who judges me for what size jeans I wear. My friends wouldn't, because they know, in the big scheme of things, that means absolutely nothing. Well, it does, healthwise, but who I am isn't what I look like, to a degree. I make an effort, which is more than I used to be able to say. I do my hair, put on make-up, try to look nice...you work with what you got.

I struggle with learning to love this "what I got" and knowing I want to change it at the same time. I can dismissively say it's for health reasons, because that's a truth, but I wonder, too, if I'm worth the effort. I need to focus on the what is more than the what ifs. I shouldn't assume anything.

This what not what I'd intended to write, but I rarely come in here with a plan ahead of time. High five to me for the ability to surprise myself.