The word often always follows me, even at times when it is not even being said. Whether it is the times that I am shopping for clothing, or the looks I get from checkers when I am purchasing food, I recognize and have always recognized that the world has put me into categories based on my size, my racial identity and my sexuality.
Yes, I am a Fat, Black, Queer Man.
Over the years, coming to terms with this has been tough, even at times in my life where I was at my thinnest. In my first year of college I got down to almost half my size, almost to a point where friends and family did not recognize me. Then again, right around the time I went through my first breakup because they only way I could keep my mind off of said person was by spending all of my time thinking about how amazing I wanted to look if I ever saw him again. Ugh.
Yes, being fat has always played a role in how I see myself, how I navigated my life and how I navigate society.
The first time I was called fat was by a kid on the playground. He did not want me playing on his team because he said I would slow the team down. Then in high school I was called a "fat ass" by someone during PE because my PE teacher put us into groups and made us do a timed run.
We lost because I had the slowest time.
In college, I was told by a guy I had a crush on that he did not date "big" guys, which led me into a spiral of 3 hour exercise sessions, vegetarianism and micro-managing every single thing that I ate. I mean, I started counting calories on water I was so obsessed. Just this week alone, I have been called "obese" twice on twitter because I wouldn't side with a view of oppression by so random twitter trolls.
Fat. Obese. Portly. These have always been descriptors that have been associated with my intersectional experiences and honestly has shaped the way I view the world and my perception of how the world views me.
So before I go further, I recognize that many of you might be thinking, "Well Jon, if you are so damn tired of being called fat, why don't you sign up for the gym and start working out?"
Oh.......... If life were only that simple. Trust me, I've been there, done that several times and honestly the gym/working out is never easy as a fat person. Let me repeat that again.
NEVER. EASY. AS.A. FAT. PERSON.
Being fat has never been about the way I looked. As a fat person, it has always been about the way I feel. Even at my slimmest, I was never "Okay". I am always thinking about how much more I could lose. Weight literally controls my world. Being a fat person, hearing "wow you look so good" is often a trigger because you fear the idea of gaining the weight back, which I have done. Being fat is more than just about hitting the gym and watching what you eat. Especially when you struggle with body image issues or the with the way you see yourself.
Fat, for me, is not just about my size.
The word fat is and will always be connected to my fears, my frustrations, my coming out process, the pain of not having a father in my life, the years of guilt I had/have for not being the "perfect son" in my mothers eyes. The stress of not being accepted in the LGBTQ community. Being fat is and will always be a part of my identity because big or small, I will always be fat. As I navigate this time in my life where I am honestly the biggest I have ever been, I am learn so much more about myself and what it means to come to terms with my true authentic self.
Big or small, Fat is and will always be who I am.
As I get older, much like my queer Black identity, I am figuring out ways to reclaim said word. Though my struggle with food is and will always be a life long task, I am screaming out in the darkest corners of my blog to let people know that sometimes, what you see isn't always what it seems.
As a fat queer black man standing on his soapbox, I hope this post reminds folks that Fat people don't need sympathy or advice: but an ear. Because honestly, before I take advice on how to lose the weight, AGAIN, I would honestly love to have someone lend me their time and help on ways to accept who I am fully, Including the two X's on my shirt and the extra notches on my belt.