Pretty Fucking Awesome


Illustration by Andrea Forgacs



Fatphobia was a friend in our house growing up. Mental illness and disordered eating weren’t strangers either. The shame came in elementary school, with the bullies and the slimfast shakes. I would walk home crying, straight into my mother’s arms and her condolences, “it wouldn’t hurt to lose some weight.” In middle school my best friend told me to buy a better bra because my breasts were too saggy. In high school it was my belly. Had to remember how other people would look at me, suck it in, stand up straight. Wear clothes that look “flattering,” or rather clothes that hide me. Try to look like those I so clearly didn’t look like, or I better die trying. Every snide comment or remark hidden under the facade of a concern for health, though no one really cared about that. No one cared that I was active, that I played sports throughout my childhood, that I physically challenged myself regularly and vigorously at that.


The doctor’s first suggestion was always to lose weight. Still is, if we’re being honest. The liberation didn’t come until college, when I finally started to be recognized by my personhood rather than my body. But these feelings were still only based on the opinions of others. There was a reluctant love for my body, a tolerance, annoyance but acceptance because my personality “made up for it.”


Three years later and I still find myself fighting internalized fatphobic thoughts, only now they make me mad.


I used to look into the mirror and cry, pinch my fat and mold and shove it into different positions, imagining what I would look like “when I became thin.”

That is no longer my goal. I am fat, happy, and pretty fucking awesome. Now when I hear those nagging voices from my past, I am angry that those thoughts exist, in my head or anyone else’s. It radicalizes me further, encourages me to push even harder for the fat liberation that we have fought for for so long, that we are so entirely owed. I ache for my young self, my teenage self, my sensitive and self-conscious self who never needed to be, but mostly I hurt for the young ones now, the ones who are in these impressionable, awkward and uncomfortable years at this very moment and don’t yet feel that incredible power that courses through their veins.


Regardless of body, we are immeasurably rich with the blessing of autonomy and growth and mystery, if only someone would tell us that when we’re young.

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© Andrea Forgacs 2020.  All rights reserved.