I didn’t know how to stop being ‘The Fat Kid’, until I reclaimed that title altogether and used it to my advantage. When before, in school and elsewhere, it had been used as derogatory and cruel and judgemental, I now think of it as a strength.
Growing up as ‘the big one’ meant that my body image was almost always ingrained in my brain from the age that I became self-aware. You see, when you’re always paranoid and conscious about being perceived as fat, you don’t think of yourself as anything other than that. That was one of the most difficult things for me to accept when I finally started to grow into myself and my body.
(Beth is pictured wearing her first-ever outfit from TFK)
But it was a long process... one that took years to overcome and one that also took a toll on how I still view myself today, despite me loving the way I look now.
I am fat, big, chubby— whatever word comes to mind when you see a six-foot tall, size 18, 22-year-old fast walk past you on the way to the train station. I used to think that was all people ever saw me as, but I was wrong. To family and friends, they see someone they love. To myself, I see someone who wants to take care of the one body that she will ever have.
And alongside that change in mentality and general growth comes a newfound interest in wanting to flaunt it! Whether that’s with clothing or other forms of expression, being unapologetically yourself is one of the most freeing feelings imaginable. Wear what you want; don’t shy away from being yourself; and never allow someone to get inside your head about your own body.
It took me years to figure this out, after so long spent hating my body with all of its lumps and bumps and rolls. If I wear something out there now, I still have a nagging voice in the back of my head that causes anxiety to rise to the surface—but I have become stronger against it. I bat it away, I drown it out with a new voice that tells me I can wear whatever the hell I like, and to flaunt my one body as much as I want to.
The Fat Kid speaks about ending diet culture, embracing your style, wearing what you want no matter your size. Upon discovering TFK, I was immediately struck by the want to experiment and finally find my true style. Seeing Monica be so open and free and passionate about the fashion that she curates herself was so refreshing.
As someone who attended a dieting club (it rhymes with Swimming World), I know just how harmful they can be to your perceptions of food. For a year, all I cared about was a number on a scale and how much food I was putting into my body. I would take people mentioning my weight loss as a plus, instead of something that could be the opposite. At the time, I even overheard people twice my age talking about how I ‘used to be quite fat’. That crushed me at the time.
Three years later and I eat intuitively, I do not care for numbers and I do not restrict my diet. I think of the word fat as a blessing. Fat is not a nasty word, fat is merely a form of energy that we use to nourish our bodies. Fat is a word that has been ingrained in my entire life, but the meaning has finally changed after years of wanting to distance myself from it. I was The Fat Kid, but I am so much more than that now.
There is more to life than appearance. And there is more to life than being pegged as ‘The Fat Kid’. Reclaim yourself. Your time is now.
Writer: Beth Goodwin