For the past couple of weeks, I have been working at  my family’s business, numbly entering information into a database. After a few days of feeling like my mind was turning to mush, I decided to give Lesley Kinzel of Two Whole Cakes and Marianne Kirby of The Rotund‘s Fatcast a listen. As silly as it sounds, my mind was completely blown. I had never heard of women talking about subjects such as bodies, shame, and power in this way. Beyond feeling like I’ve received booster classes in Fat Acceptance, these girls also made me realize how many similar experiences fat people share. One particular experience that I want to discuss today is the experience of being taunted, harrassed, stared at- all simply for being fat.

These girls and many of you have helped me realize that these situations are not my fault. I did not act in any way to incite these incidents. It is not my fault that someone has decided to be mean. However, to move on from feeling like the victim in these situations, I need to share them with you. I need to get them off of my chest and my baggage. I need to just say them and let them go. They can exist here, but I refuse to let them exist in any reasoning I form to not go after the things I want. These will no longer lurk in my fears. I refuse.

After putting together this list, I realized that in many ways these situations didn’t happen just because I was fat. There were other factors that contributed to them, but that doesn’t make them any less hurtful. Listening to these podcasts and reflecting on my own experience has made me realize that I need to be more proactive in combating bullying, combating the way people seem entitled to dictate and ridicule others’ bodies. And while this post risks sounding whiny, it is still something I needed to think about for myself. These are things that I need to shed. I hope that all of you can shed a bad experience or two. We all deserve to not let these people and experiences control our life or choices.

1. 3rd grade- a kid wrote in my yearbook that he hoped I would lose weight over the summer.

2. 6th grade- a boy I liked asked me to be his girlfriend only to later find out it was a joke concocted by him and other girls in my class.

3. Being taunted in the high school hallway by a fellow fat kid who liked to yell, “Big Beck!”

4. Having crushes on boys who told me I was too large for them.

5. Guys that were attracted to me, yet did not want to be seen in public with me.

6. Not being invited out for girls’ nights because it was “harder to pick up guys” with a fat girl along.

7. Being told that I would be acceptably attractive if it wasn’t for my beast of a butt.

8. Being told by a man that he was “drunk enough” that he’d “even consider hooking up with me.” Um- no thanks.

9. Hearing friends say, “She used to be a lot thinner,” in a negative way about my current body.

10. Being at any public place and receiving stares and/or snickers.

Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s over.