I remember looking in the mirror for my holiday party. Usually, I am not excited to go, but this year, I was.
I lost 70 pounds this year. I always wore pants or blouses in sizes that started with two. Everyone told me I should dress up.
This holiday party, I was going to surprise everyone.
People have come up to me and asked if I lost weight. They know I have. My co-workers have seen me eat healthier foods. They knew I was working out. I have not bought new clothes, so I looked frumpy at work.
Well, my co-workers were in for a surprise. I bought a size 12 dress. I never wear dresses. This black dress looked great on me. I even got heels to match. I remember looking in the mirror. I remember being proud of myself. The dress went a little above my knees. It was one of the first times I showed bare leg.
I walked into the holiday party. Patty was the first one to see me. She looked shocked....
"OMG!!!! Is that you??""
I smiled. Then Georgia commented about how pretty my dress was. Then David has something nice to say. So many people came up to me to tell me how great I looked. I had more compliments in five minutes than I had my whole life.
Then came John.
I never liked John, and he never liked me. He is one of those people who will never be happy unless he makes others unhappy. He looked me up and down and said...
"Yeah, you are still fat."
My heart sank. It was one of those times in my life where I wished he called me any other name but fat.
Before I could reply with how I felt about him, people almost tackled him. Everyone was defending me and calling him an idiot. It got heated to the point where John walked away.
Everyone around me apologized. I am not sure why, since John was the only one to call me fat.
<"John is wrong. You are so not fat!"
"You look beautiful."
"You look fabulous! John is an angry toad who will never be happy."
I smiled. I thanked all of my friends.
I rationalized it in my mind. Who cares what John said? I mean, there are so many worse things to be than fat, right? I have called myself fat numerous times. I am one of those people who always get mad when people get offended by the word fat. I mean, it is just a word! Everyone gets so offended all the time! Words have no meaning unless you give them meaning.
I walked into the bathroom and looked into the mirror. I thought about it. You know, the dress was a size 12, but maybe I should have bought a size 14. No, I should have bought a bigger size. Why didn't I wear Spanx? I could see the rolls on the side of my dress. And my dress was way too short. I should have worn a longer dress. Why didn't I wear pantyhose? You could see veins all over my legs.
Why didn't I notice all of this earlier? You know, when I was happy?
When I looked in the mirror before the party, I looked great. For the first time, I did not insult myself. I was proud of every single accomplishment of mine this year. I felt sexy in the dress. I felt hot. I felt thin.
Now, after numerous people complimented me and one person who I give two sh*ts about insulted me, I feel different. Were my friends lying? Were they just trying to make me feel good? Why wouldn't any of them tell me I was fat?
No, John made the comment. Why do I believe him when so many others, including myself, complimented me? I believe him because I have heard it my whole life. I heard it when I wanted to feel confident. I heard it when I wanted to feel great. Every time I heard it, it brought me to an evil place.
Is being fat the worst thing you can be? Of course not. But in that moment, I wanted to be anything else. I could have been any name in the book. Even ugly, which is one of the worst insults. I would have been ugly. I expected ugly from John.
I did not expect fat.
No, sadly, one man who I do not care about called me fat when many others complimented me. It took me back to a place where I did not want to be.
Maybe I am sensitive. My mom told me that when she called me fat. Maybe I am naïve. My ex-husband said that when he called me fat. Maybe I am dumb. My former boss called me that when he called me fat.
But maybe I have to realize one thing.
People will always call me fat. It should not bother me unless I honestly believe it.
So, I looked in the mirror for the third time. You know what? The size 12 dress looks great. And honestly, the dress is the right length. Yeah, I love my legs.
Am I fat? Honestly, I do not know. Some days I am, some days I am not. Some people think I am, some people think I am not.
I know one thing.
I love myself, and I have not been able to say that for over thirty years.
Whether I am fat or not.
Note: All names have been changed.