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Just a Word

Just A Word

I am going to get personal and I am going to say a word that will make some of you uncomfortable. It is not a 4 letter word, but a simple 3 letter word.

That word is Fat

Now you might be asking yourself: "Hey what did she say?" Or "Did she say what I think she said?"

This is a word more often whispered in public, not spoken out loud, not discussed in "polite" company.

Of course, There are other words you can use obese, rotund

Which one of these words lingers in your ear?

And do you feel the same way when I say Tall Short Skinny

Does it bother you to hear "I want to buy a big fat pumpkin" or "I just got a big fat raise"?

Recently, I was driving with my 5 year old nephew and he asked me "Do you know any fat people?" I said, "Well Anthony, I'm fat." To which he replied "Oh no, you're not" (God love him!). He then proceeded to tell me that "Fat is a bad word." I explained to him that fat isn't a bad word, it's just a way to describe people or things, like short, tall, etc.

So, what does it mean to someone like me when fat has become a bad word?

I have been heavy all my life. And the idea that fat is a bad word has been part of my consciousness. So somewhere, I internalized this and felt that I, too, must be bad, that I was less than another human being because I was fat. They might be a smoker, or a drinker or a shop-aholic, but my problem was visible, I wore it around with me. And this made me feel like I was less of a person.

I carried this feeling throughout my adolescence and into my 20s, finding it hard to make friends and nearly impossible to establish any kind of intimate relationship. My life was focused on one phrase-- "When I lose weight, I will". When I turned 30, I suddenly took a long look at my life, and realized I wasnt really living. I said to myself, "I am fat, I have always been fat, I might always be fat, but I need to start living my life." At that point, my attitude really changed, I made a list of things I wanted to do and started getting out and doing things. I began subscribing to Mode magazine, and found some resources for BBW dating. I began to date and realize that some men like bigger women. I began enjoying life for the first time. I even became comfortable with the word "Fat".

Now, when children say Im fat, I just smile and say, yep, thats right, I am.

This is a speech given at my Toastmaster's Club in response to a discussion I had with my (then) 5 year old nephew Anthony.

Toastmasters International is an Internationally recognized organization that helps individuals foster communication and leadership skills.  Each club member performs a variety of speeches, meeting roles and leadership roles that help them develop their speaking, listening, leadership and organizational abilities.  For more information, please go to