Hey hey hey! I am Aastha, my pronouns are she/they, and I work as a Social Media Trainee! And I am fat.
So over the last year, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I’m sure you can guess that it’s been bittersweet. But the introspective process has asked me to admit many truths that I’ve been running from — to come out to myself in more ways than one.
And no, I’m not talking about being queer. (That’s a whole other journey!) This year I’ve admitted to myself that I am fat. Honestly, it’s still hard to type that because of how fiercely I feel I will be judged for existing unapologetically in my body. But here’s the hard truth: I weigh a lot of kilograms, I enjoy food, and I work out without aiming to lose weight.
I should preface the rest of this by saying that I am in no way going to be apologising for or justifying my fatness. And there should absolutely be no need for any fat people to. Okay? Cool. Moving on.
I’ve been fat for as long as I can remember being considered a girl, and not just a kid. In fifth grade, the nurse at the school clinic stopped reading my weight out loud when we had our annual check-ups. In sixth grade, my history teacher constantly pulled my cheeks and called me “cute.” In the ninth, a boy in my class said my stomach looked like an ad for Michelin tires. And in the twelfth grade, the headmistress made me change out of a dress because “girls like you can’t wear clothes like that.” I’m not sharing these experiences for sympathy, but rather as evidence of how heinous the stigma against fat people can be.
I am only nineteen years old and I hold a lifetime’s worth of trauma simply because society has been told that my body is a verbal punching bag. Of course, we could call it fatphobia. But I refuse to dignify the notion that ANY person should be phobic, i.e. afraid, of my body because it’s harming nobody but myself, and I am okay admitting that.
The worst part is, I’ve lost so much in trying to be okay with my body. My mental health has crumbled to bits, I have cried over being undesirable, and I have spent hours — if not years — crawled into a metaphorical hole of self-doubt. And I constantly wonder where this came from. Maybe it was my mother who said that I would only be allowed to wear skirts when I lose weight or the gynaecologist that told me that I couldn’t possibly feel happy walking around looking the way I do. All I know is, I have hurt myself time and time again because I believed other people’s opinions of my body. Though they shouldn’t have them at all.
The part that stings the most is seeing myself as constantly unworthy and undesirable, and the fact I lost (and continue to lose) so much pure joy because of it. For context, I am the queer, blue-haired, tattooed, fat best friend. But before these relatively recent developments, I was simply fat. I was a nerd with the big glasses who sat at the back corner of class and aced their exams. I was smart and beautiful but I could only ever see myself through the male gaze. And the intersection of my internalised misogyny and fat stigma told me that fatness was taboo, and that my body would never be the holy ground of worship that I craved it to be. So when I realised I was queer, I was even more afraid. How could I be bisexual and still be bi-myself?
Despite being the sex-positive raging feminist that I am, I still struggle to see myself as desirable. And hopefully, I’m not alone. The thing is, I internalised so much hatred against my body that even though I’ve gone on an entire journey of affirming that I am the hottest, baddest bitch to have ever walked this earth, I still struggle to see myself as worthy of romantic attraction. And yes, that run-on sentence is a bit stupid but it’s true.
I’ve allowed women and men (omg, so many men) to determine my self-worth, I’ve cried at transformation videos on YouTube, and I’ve sure as hell starved myself. Truth be told, none of those should be in the past tense. And I am okay with being a work in progress.
My journey with fatness isn’t unique, but it’s painful and scary. Books tell me to remind myself that my body is the least interesting thing about me, and that’s true, but I want to begin holding her in higher regard anyway. I am trying to fall in love with my Michelin tires, with the tree-of-life-esque stretch marks on my belly, with the insanely cool curly hair, and the giant feet that carry my incredible personality.
So if you’re a fat person, if you exist at intersections, and if you’re trying your hardest to just BE in a world that doesn’t let you – I got you. We’ll be alright. And we’ll get the adventures and joy we deserve.
As for me? I’m ready to see myself as worthy of desire and attraction and love and lust. I am ready to be worshipped like a Hozier song. Even if it is, for now, just from myself. Applications for external sources of validation remain open though. 👀
Sending love, warmth, and hugs,
Social Media Trainee
P.S. You can reach out to me at email@example.com or DM me @aastha.jani on Instagram. Or follow my work on LinkedIn!