Fat kid

Call me sensitive, but my blood pressure rises when certain groups are called out in society and the media for ridicule.

For example, the non-thin among us.

Particularly as I was a fat kid.

Or as I prefer to call it, ‘pleasingly plump’.

I admit some of my memories are as fuzzy as the picture above. But I believe it’s Easter Sunday, and my little purse is likely over stuffed with foil covered chocolate eggs.

A survival kit, just in case I grew hungry over at the Lutheran church during a long sermon.

I was never an athletic kid growing up, loathing my school’s army green gym uniforms as much as the gut wrenching push ups.

And my low phy ed grades weren’t the result of skipping class, but just plain old physical ineptitude and hating to sweat.

But I don’t regret those chunky years. I look at each of them as another hard, but bright tile in my mosaic of a life.

I was fairly fortunate as the cruel comments heard about my weight growing up were few, or maybe I chose to ignore them.

And some of the remarks actually caused more pain to the speaker, with their guilt hanging on for years.

“I’m so sorry I picked on your weight so much as a kid,” my brother confessed to me over a big plate of spaghetti one night when we were both in our twenties.

“No big deal,” I told him. Thinking the 50 pounds I’d lost were now a burden bulging over my own brother’s belt loops.

The tougher comments were the ones directed towards my mom for not being able to keep my weight in line.

Unfair to her for sure, as I was one very tough cookie (who particularly loved chocolate chip).

And then there were those comments from one well intentioned boss who asked me if I was anoerexic after I finally did get my weight in check, as an adult.

You can’t win.

I was intrigued though by a former classmate who apologized at my mom’s estate sale, adding how bad she felt about picking on me as a teen due to my weight.

I never knew she had, but I did feel sorry for her knowing she’d carried around that guilt for decades.

So in spite of society’s occasional unkind words, I guess the moral of my story is that a once chubby child can actually grow up unscathed. Even if she still has a weakness for too many malted milk balls, and too little kale some days.

And I like to think I’ve been blessed with a greater sense of empathy as a result.

I know I’ll keep working to find beautiful souls within each body type, to appreciate the grace and wisdom of seniors, and to locate brillant sparks of light in the minds of the infirm.

Even if society and the media don’t always cooperate.

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