Milk and Honey Magazine - when being called fat while online dating, Morgan learned the importance of self-love for your body. You are not fat, you are beautiful.

Reclaiming The Word "Fat"

Morgan Short

A few days ago I got bored so, as any twenty-something, single woman does, I opened one of the dating apps on my phone. As I looked over some of my matches I decided to send a message to Aaron*, a guy I had exchanged a few messages with previously, but actually hadn’t talked to in a few months. I sent him a light-hearted, witty message about the length of time it had been since we had communicated. He responded shortly after:

“That’s not funny but the fact that you’re fat is.” 

The body positive, unapologetic version of me wanted to unmatch him immediately and move on with my day disregarding the immaturity of his response. But the insecure, emotional version of me froze while tears filled my eyes.

Of course, he was first to the punch and unmatched me before I had the chance. So he got to move on with his day without worry or retaliation, while I decided I wouldn’t be eating for the rest of the day.

There’s some major issues in this scenario that I’d like to unpack. But first, a little background. I am a fat woman. And not necessarily in the good curvy kind of way. I have broad shoulders, huge arms, and a square body. So no, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m “thick in all the right places.” From Weight Watchers to Slimgenics, I’ve been on and off every diet in the book and have gained and lost weight my entire life. Even in my lightest years, I was still relatively heavy set. This summer while I watched my girlfriends trade bikinis, I dreaded the heat because it meant I couldn’t hide my body under sweatshirts or sweatpants.

Granted, my insecurities are not as bad as they used to be. I have been on a journey of self love and acceptance for a few years now. Not that I don’t have weight loss goals or want to better myself, I’m simply working on loving my body in every state it is in, whether bigger or smaller. That includes being kind to my body, listening to it, loving it and fueling it.

But when someone like Aaron comes around, it sometimes feels like you’ve taken 10 strides forward only to take 100 back. So let’s get back to what happened with Aaron…

It wasn’t merely the word “fat” that hurt me, it was the delivery and the intent behind it.

The word fat, at its surface and as an adjective, means that you’re a person with extra pounds.  That is really all it is. A descriptive word. And leaders of the body positive movement would tell you to own it so that people can’t hurt you if they decide to tell you what you already clearly know.

But I don’t believe Aaron meant to fill me in on how I look. No, Aaron’s lips said “you’re fat” but his delivery said you’re disgusting, ugly, taking up too much space, unworthy of love.

Honestly I don’t really blame Aaron. He, along with so many others have subconsciously assigned negativity to being fat because that is what we’re told to think. The message is clear. Hollywood casts the fat kid as the comic relief. Fat is funny. Cosmopolitan’s cover reads “10 ways to get rid of that excess, unwanted fat!” Fat is bad. Friends are quick to hush you if you, even for a second, elude to how fat you are. Fat is insulting. 

And those messages were engrained in our minds until “fat”, a simple descriptive word, became ammunition to tear someone down.

Aaron also had no clue where I was at along my self-love journey.

He had no idea that I’ve been slowly working toward living a healthier, happier life all around. Little did he know that I actually lost 10 pounds last month and have been eating healthy, working out, and keeping my soul happy by meditating and doing things I love.

Aaron also didn’t know, nor did he care to find out, that I love live music, dream journaling, and playing tennis. Or that I write poetry and am learning how to play the ukulele. He also didn’t know that I can make a mean egg scrambler or that I am fiercely loyal to those that I love.

He didn’t know any of this because he didn’t care to see the humanity beyond my body.

He made a mockery of me and dismissed me as fast as he could. Now I’m not saying you have to pursue someone if there isn’t a physical attraction there, but it would be nice to be treated as a human being – especially since we had already connected previously.

You never know where someone is along their weight loss or self-love journey.  If you take anything away from this article, please, please remember that.

My body is fairly fat right now. But I don’t wake up every morning hating myself. And I don’t tell my body it is ugly or disgusting. I’m loving my body at every stage that it is in. Loving how strong it is, how capable it is, how worthy it is. I refuse to let Aaron’s words, or anyone else’s for that matter, hurt me anymore.

So yes Aaron, thanks for letting me know I’m fat. And you sir, should know I’m so much more than that.

*Aaron’s name was changed for this article.

Morgan Short, pictured above, enjoys spending her money on experiences over material things, fuels via coffee, and loves big cities. She is currently a poet, content specialist, and photographer based in Minneapolis.