I would never have consciously chosen to become morbidly obese, just as I would never fling myself into the path of a speeding Volkswagon or inject myself with malignant cancer cells. We don’t get to chose the hardships life sets in our path, yet there is a lot be learned from surviving them. In my case, it’s given me a great sense of perspective.
After I lost about 100 pounds, I was still 100 pounds away from my goal and still very much obese. Yet I felt like a superstar in the movie of my life. Ironic, since the last time I weighed that much I’d wanted to toss paint on all the mirrors of the world. Now I would check myself out in the mirror in the ladies room, turn to the left, turn to the right, strike a pose and think “I look so cute!” The last time I weighed that much I’d speedwalk past mirrors like The Flash and think “I’m so fat!” Same size, different attitude. I’d lost 100 pounds, I deserved to be self-smitten. Even now I’m still sort of fat, but I still check myself out in the mirror at every chance. I also had a fashion awakening and ditched the baggier, darker clothes I thought would disguise my weight but actually made me look fatter.
I have no doubt that many women would think I’m crazy for thinking I look so hot when I’m still overweight. I just know how much worse it could be, so I’m grateful for what I’ve got. It’s like when you watch footage of disasters like the Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina, you suddenly become incredibly grateful that you have electricity to power the TV you’re watching the bad news on. Being formerly morbidly obese, I appreciate being thinner more than someone who was never been fat can. It’s like if you’re born rich, you probably don’t appreciate your Coach purse in the same way as a poor girl who scrimped and saved to be able to buy one does.
I also suspect being fat made me focus more on developing my internal self instead of figuring out the best way to flip me hair. I’ve certainly never had to wonder if I got anything because of my looks. It’s also given be insight into how much the package you come in affects how people treat you. Being fat is like having a built-in asshole detector. People who are jerks don’t go out of their way to be nice to you. It must be hard being a thin, pretty person who always sees the best sides of people at first. How can you determine who the jerks are if they come at you wearing disguises?
Beyond all that, I know a secret. Being fat is survivable. Our culture treats it like one of the worst things a person could be. Sometimes it seems more acceptable to be a drug addict than it is to be fat, since at least drug abuse is recognized as an addiction. Fat tends to be blamed solely on the fat person. There are many, many things that suck about being morbidly obese, but even before I started losing weight I had a pretty good life. I had an interesting job, family that loved me, and a kitty that let me cuddle him more than he bit me. In some ways all the panicking and freaking out over fat is worse than the fat itself. Being obese showed me that even when the absolute worst happens, I can survive it.