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Monday, Jun. 13, 2005 - 3:12 p.m.

~ Fat Pride ~

I cannot remember not being fat.

I do have photographic proof that upon birth the doctor did not hand me into my mother's arms and announce, "Mazel tov, it's a bowling ball." My Sears Portrait Studio baby pictures show a smiling baby graced with a perfectly acceptable amount of baby fat plumping my rosy cheeks. There are a series of snapshots taken the Christmas I was two and the little legs sticking out from beneath my plaid nightie as I stretch toward the tinselled tree are neither stick-like or sausage-like, but completely regular-looking little girl legs. I have photos of myself as the darlingest average-sized pre-schooler and in these white-bordered, yellowing photographs taken by my grandmother in the early seventies, I am the prettiest of four year-olds with sun-kissed arms, ponytails streaked with blonde, and the tiniest of proportionately poochy bellies under my flowered babydoll nightie.

However, the days of being dandled upon someone's knee without said someone wincing in theatrical pain must be buried beneath layers of schoolyard taunts, whispered and well-meant encouragements, sidelong glances, desserts doled out with miserly precision and the polyester-filled racks of Alexander's Women's Department, because I only know myself as a fat girl. I am the girl who was told to stand in the back row of class portraits while skinny girls much taller than me were positioned up front. I am the girl who felt awkward mall-shopping with friends who unthinkingly questioned why I never tried on anything in the Wild Bills and Raves they dragged me into. I am the girl who called out sick to amusement park field trips because I was over the weight limit on the most popular rides.

Since junior high, I have studied other girls' bodies. I am absolutely fascinated by how we are put together. How do those two girls who are so similiar have such different butts? How does that skinny girl manage to still fit all her internal organs inside a torso that small? How do that girl's heavy breasts still slope upwards? How does that large girl sit down without her belly fat flowing into another shape the way mine does?

At sex parties, opportunities abound to scrutinize bodies -- albeit from a polite distance unless I'm intimately involved -- and I make the most of this, watching every jiggle and stretch, each curve and hollow. I am an appreciative voyeur when I'm watching and an awed participant when I'm hands-on.

I am an advocate of being happy with who you are and celebrating size diversity...

...but I cannot remember not being fat and all that has meant to me in my life.

I feel torn sometimes between wanting to rage in the face of the size 2s who clucked their tongues behind me in line at Shaw's as they surveyed the pint of Ben & Jerry's perched atop the mountain of lettuce and chicken breasts and bananas and tomato soup in my cart and wanting to rage in the face of the size 22 on the bus last week who was wearing a snug minidress but who didn't see fit to hide her lack of panties so that the only thing between her and a buswide gynecological exam was her thigh fat. I want to applaud the gorgeous girl I didn't know who I saw at the parade on Saturday who was wearing a bustier and a pair of form-fitting capris on a body much bigger than mine and I want to hug the girl I've known for three years who I almost didn't recognize later that day at the parade when she walked by in a rainbow bikini and a pair of low-slung jeans that hung on a body seventy pounds lighter than it had been the last time I saw her miserable and talking about Overeater's Anonymous. I want to sit next to the girl who eats her lunch of Doritos and Dr. Pepper at the park across from my office every day by herself and ask her if she has someone as wonderful as Mr. Man in her life who dotes on her and pays homage to her every roll and ripple the way Mr. Man does and I want to throttle Mr. Man when he tells me how beautiful I am on my sweatiest, most-arthritic, yeastiest, thigh-chafiest days and how he wants to fuck my every fold and crevice and how everyone must want me but somehow he got lucky and actually got me.

I cannot remember not being fat. I probably won't ever know what it is like to not be fat. I do hope I can get back to being a happy fat girl sometime soon.

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