I was always the chubby, super uncool kid at school.
You could have easily described by body shape as ‘rotunda’ or just plain round.
I remember having the realization that I was always going to be plump, that was just the way I was made and I was OK with that.
By the time I was 11-years-old I weighed 53 kg (in context I only weigh a few more kilos now and I’m 28!). Boys teased me and called me ‘fat-buddha.’ My poor hand/eye coordination, and flat feet meant that never got picked for team sports since I couldn’t run or catch.
But I didn’t care; I was a happy ‘fat kid.’
I just really loved burgers, soft drinks and corn chips dipped in salsa and I just didn’t see the point in team sports. (Cricket? Ppft!)
I realized that as a fattie you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got. This means a highly developed wit, good sense of humor and a heightened sense of self-deprivation are essential tools in navigating daily life. These tools make life so much easier when your school uniform doesn’t quite fit anymore; it appeases the horror of swimwear shopping and makes the schoolyard teasing just bearable.
By the time puberty had properly kicked in I’d had taken a sharp u-turn from ‘happy fat kid’ to somewhat concerned boomba-larda who had started to care about the way she looked, felt and what other people thought.
Fortunately for me, I was a late bloomer. I grew into my face and my features stopped being so awkward. I broke up with burgers, replaced the soft drinks with H20 and befriended salad and the weight slowly dropped off. I even embraced hot yoga, sporadic attempts at meditation and hauled my ass to the gym every so often.
The teasing was quickly replaced by cries of admiration,
“Ohhh. My. Gawd, you look fantastic!” It would make me feel extremely awkward when people suddenly referred to me (former Miss Fattie) as attractive. I often wanted to ask, “Thank you very much, that’s very kind, but are you sure you haven’t mistaken me for someone else?”
Feeling good about myself soon became my personal mission. I read every article about diet and nutrition, practiced hot yoga, saw a personal trainer, had regular colonics, drank raw milk and went gluten-free and sugar-free.
Maybe it was in my millionth hot yoga class practicing head-up-my-own-asana or halfway through a juice fast or paying someone $100 to shove a hose up my bum that I decided that I preferred health, happiness and simple wellness over torturing and punishing myself. I don’t want to be a nutritional zealot, whimpering at the sight of inorganic vegetables and thrashing myself on a treadmill—how dull and incredibly unimaginative!
In the last few years I’ve made peace with my body and choose not to battle with it anymore. Sleep is my new BFF and my sporadic meditation practice has turned into a daily practice. I cook more and move smarter—no more extreme workouts or yoga postures that give me back pain! I even like my little fat rolls and think they’re pretty cute.
I may not have been the happiest fat kid, but I am a healthy, smart and beautiful grown woman. I’m never going to be a supermodel, I still can’t run and I definitely can’t catch; nonetheless I’m definitely a-bit-of-alright just the way I am!
Tanya Maria Mah is a designer, an occasional seeker of all things true, a yogi, a hippie (not a hipster), a teeny-tiny disco dancer, a sometimes-cook and an eternal optimist. She can be creative, is frequently inappropriate and aspires for inspiration. When asked for a bio she Facebook polled her friends for one word that describes her and they came up with the following: loves hearts, crazy (this was mentioned a few times!), sunshine, bubbly, meatball, mcskank (personal joke), excitable, spunky monkey, delicious, pixie and charismatically crazy (a new spin on an old favorite!) To get in touch, please email [email protected].
Like Elephant Journal on Facebook
Ed: Brianna Bemel
Assist: Madison Canary