My years as a fat girl

I have a weird confession to make: I loved being fat! Over the weekend I got rid of the last container of my big clothes that no longer fit me.

Over the past year I have lost so much weight that I’ve gone from a size 16 to a size 6. As I was packing the clothes up I thought back to the me I was when I could fit them, how I felt as a size 16 woman, and a rush of emotions came over me.

Growing up and throughout my teen years I’d always been a “skinny girl.” Being called bony and skinny felt mortifying to me, and the smaller I was, the less I felt I had a right to exist. It also disconnected me from the black American side of my heritage because it meant I lacked the highly valued “thickness” of having ample booty and breasts.

At 16 I was a size zero with AA bra size. I was thrilled when I got pregnant at 19 and grew supple, full C cup breasts filled with yummy sweet milk. I also got hips and my booty popped out and I LOVED how I looked. Sadly, after nursing my son, my breasts shrunk back down to A, now with stretch marks and less perk, and my body eventually settled in to about a size 4 or 5.

I had two more children in my twenties but due to my vegan diet at the time I gained barely any weight with either of them and after each birth went back to my body’s set point. I was left with about 120 pounds, very sagging B cup breasts and was a size 5.

Then, I had a fourth child at 32. During that pregnancy I gained nearly 60 pounds, developed gestational diabetes but my breasts were swollen to a whopping DD cup! Needless to say I was ecstatic!  My ass could rival any hip hop video girls’ and I didn’t care one bit about the belly that came along with it. After I had that baby I lost none of the weight. I actually didn’t want to because I loved my breasts and behind so much. I allowed myself to remain plus size and embraced it. Finally feeling bonded with “big girls” everywhere. I felt ripe and juicy. I still got tons of compliments on my beauty, my body and overall sexiness. I attracted both men and women who told me they loved my curves and worshiped them. I finally felt like the voluptuous, matronly and rubenesque goddess I always thought I should be. My whole life I had lived as a fat girl in a skinny girl’s body!

For five years I carried around an extra 50 pounds of post baby weight, happily and proudly! When I lost the weight last year it was not intentional but a result of a number of life stressors. I tend to eat more when I am happy and relaxed (fat and happy)- and when I’m stressed I lose my appetite. So over the course of about 3 months last fall, I was so stressed I literally dropped 40 pounds. Losing that weight actually made me feel more depressed. My beloved breasts were diminishing and my butt was shrinking. Everyone noticed and made comments that were humiliating and embarrassing. I wasn’t prepared for the weight loss, so my clothes were falling off of me and the last straw was when a coworker said, “you look like you are wasting away.”

You see, I’ve always associated size with power. Being a big girl I felt a sense of empowerment and somehow more of a right to exist in the world. I felt I took up more space on the planet so somehow I was entitled to more of everything. Plus there was just more of me to love! As I watched my beloved curvy body shrink rapidly, I felt remorse and started to actually lose my self esteem. I know this all sounds crazy because of how many people out there are literally dying to be as thin as I am naturally, but what I learned is that it’s all in what makes YOU feel good about YOU.

As I finished packing my big clothes, I smiled fondly at myself as a fat girl. I LOVED those years and had many great memories of lovers and admirers and just really enjoying my own lusciousness. Nonetheless I am back to a size 6 now and I am re-learning to embrace my body as it is.

Overall I have learned that we each need to define what beauty is for ourselves and not allow the media or the outside world to tell us what looks good or not. I am resolved to love myself at zero, 16, 6 and everything in between. I am also learning to appreciate the beautiful array of human body shapes all over the world and the remarkableness of our ability to change and mold them in to whatever we want.

May we each behold our beauty in our own eyes.

May 2015 vs. May 2014

 

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Week 28: Day 2

Things kids do in my class instead of learn:

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Week 30: Day 3

So the past month or so we have been doing an in-depth unit on immigration. First we studied the history of immigration in the U.S., immigration laws, and wrote letters to lawmakers about how to fix the system.

Then we started reading a memoir called Enrique’s Journey by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Sonia Nazario. Yesterday I shared with them the accompanying prize-winning photographs that illustrate the book.

One photo in particular struck some of my “too cool for school” 8th grade boys. It was a picture of a 17 year old Central American boy who had lost his legs while attempting to migrate to the U.S. by jumping on trains. We have done extensive background research on this practice, watched a full length documentary and discussed it.

So they saw this boy and said, “Wait a minute… he’s 17? Why does he look so small?”

“It’s malnutrition,” I said.

“Oh you mean so he doesn’t get enough to eat so he doesn’t grow?”

“Correct.”

“Wow, and we have so much food. I wish I could just give him some of ours.”

“Can’t we DO something about that Ms. Little? Can’t we help them?”

“Sure, what would you like to do?”

“Let’s send him some food!”

“Where are you going to send it? He’s homeless.”

“Are you kidding me, if I had the money I would load up a helicopter with food and clothes and just drop it over where he is.”

This was coming from a kid who acts like he’s hard all the time, but I know he’s not. Which made it all the sweeter that he was at last showing some empathy.

boy 17

Car time soliloquy

You know that time when you just get home and you’ve pushed yourself all day and haven’t had a minute to breathe and you’re still in the car and you know when you go into the house there will be a whole new set of things to do, but the car is warm and your music is playing and your seat is comfy, and maybe there’s even a sleeping kid in the back so you just sit and relax because the amount of energy it would take to move from inertia to the house is greater than you can bear?

Yeah. That time. I just love it.

Week 25:Day 4

Today is counted as our 100th day of school this year. Whew!

It is also “Friendship Day” at our school (instead of V day). Below is a picture of my bounty. Lol

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Week 23: Day 3

Recently our principal launched a new school initiative. It’s a curriculum she has bought into called “Morning Meetings.” Frequently in this school it feels like the decisions are made to benefit our K-5 students and the middle school students get swept into the mix even though its not necessarily age-appropriate for them.

Case in point: She wants us to begin holding 20-30 minute “meetings” with our 6th-8th graders who are 12-14 years old. These “meetings” resemble circle time that you would see in a K-3 classroom. The instructions were to circle the kids up, have them go around the circle saying “Good morning” to each other and shaking hands, then ask them to “share” something, followed by a “fun activity” such as singing a song, playing charades or 7up or some other such pre-school age activity.

Aside from this being very babyish, we only have 10 minutes in homeroom before the middle school switches classes and goes to first period. The K-5 grades remain in their homerooms for the first period of the day, or otherwise have their morning meetings with their first period teacher. So, without fail, the principal decides to come into MY homeroom to observe how I am executing this new initiative.

Of course, We have had exactly one half day of training and have been given a book on the concept that is geared towards K-5 but marketed for K-8… well of course she comes into my room, calls me to her office afterwards and lambastes me for choosing an activity that was not fit for my class. Ha! Yup… straight out of the book you gave us ma’am!

So after getting pissed, then frustrated, then back to angry again, I met with my middle school team, and the Dean of Instruction, and let them know that if they don’t give me clear expectations, then I cannot be held accountable for performing to said standards. I made her document to me and the other 7th grade homeroom teacher, in writing, exactly what they wanted to see; CC: the principal.

And then I came to a realization (not necessarily a new one, but maybe a confirmation of a previous one):

My principal’s opinions of me are actually her projections of her fears, insecurities and shortcomings. SHE feels fearful of her ability to run a middle school, or a charter school in general. So she rests on her laurels as a sword wielding business woman. She has no idea how to teach pre-teens, and she is intimidated by my close relationships with them. So she attempts to control it by telling me to be more strict. She tells me I am too friendly with them because she wants to be more friendly with them but can’t. She tells me that they don’t respect me because she feels disrespected at times. Her favorite thing to say to me is that I have “no sense of urgency.” And admittedly I am very laid back. Instead of accepting this as a fault, I am going to frame it as her lack of ability to coach me properly, thus throwing all the weight on me to figure out how to perform to some moving target she has in her mind of what things should look like.

That being said, I recognize she is my boss at the end of the day and I will make all attempts to do what she asks of me.

I just need to always remember who the real educator is…

Boxes

Soooo… I went to a new doctor’s office today and when I filled out the form I was thrilled to discover there was a category on the form for my “Race”

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For the first time in my entire life I did not have to check “other” or check more than one box, or even worse- “choose one”.

It probably seems trivial, but for me, not having a box to fit into has had a profound impact on my life.

I can only image how others must feel when there are no boxes that fit their sex or gender, their culture, their personal beliefs…

As we continue on this journey of humanity I hope that all the boxes that confine us and make us feel small will fade away so that we can all be free to expand and grow into whatever and whomever we can imagine.

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