Saturday, January 12, 2013

They shoot fat women, don't they: an ode to Suzanne Sugarbaker

Baby girl was nearing 12 weeks old: her thick black hair crooked on her head, like a preacher's toupee. She is cool in her onesie; Mississippi temperatures well above 75 in April.

Dr. L_____ walked in, no knock on the door, "Miss K_____, you're fat and you're going to raise fat children."

I pulled baby girl tighter to my chest, stood and said, "Then, I guess it is safe to assume your children are a@#holes."

And I left.

I always thought I was heavy, was told I was; though the few pictures salvaged from Katrina show a different story. I was always tall for my age, lacked toothpick or willowy limbs, with a round face and soft middle. Late elementary school would have me filled out, nearly 5'7", curvy, developed early, cutting short my neighborhood football career.

The boys in my class had eyes only for the other girls: short and tiny, with perms and bangs. It was my older brother's football teammate who first told me I was pretty; though with no one's echoes it fell on deaf ears.

After over a decade in scrubs, it is time for business dress. Today, I tried to shop for work clothes. Our small, college town has limited choices, but JC Penney's is good for black pants. I browsed the small store having been there as recently as a few weeks ago, but could not find the plus size section. The store clerk told me, "THEY took out our Women's section."

And just like that, the fat women were gone.

My body has been my enemy as long as I can remember. The large breasts and rounded behind gave way to thick curves and ultimately soft flesh filling out all the available space.

No amount of exercise would give me long legs and thin arms, not my body's natural shape.

And so I opted to not try at all, just eat what I enjoy, and focus on anything but my body.

My husband thinks I'm beautiful. I remember after a double-date, a friend telling me that she wished her boyfriend was proud of her in public the way my husband was of me. But despite his desire, I never liked my body.

I didn't want to raise baby girl with those same feelings. As a toddler, we would stand together in the mirror and both exclaim how beautiful we were. Though everyone has always told her how beautiful she was, even now as she is growing up, I remind her of all her strengths; her beauty included.

But today at Penney's, there I was with no department to represent me. Nothing above a size 14 in the whole store. And for a fleeting moment, I was once again mad at my body.

Then I was pissed at Penney's. How dare they scrub the store of a large percentage of the population? Who are they to decide plus size women don't need a place to shop? And though there are no other stores within 30 minute of me, I won't be darkening the door of JC Penney's again!

So today, I'm going to forgive my body and the woman who made it fat. It has, after all, survived relatively unscathed for over 35 years. It made, grew, and birthed the most beautiful baby girl I could have imagined. It lets me get up and work every day. Don't get me wrong, I am trying to treat it better (no soda, no fast food, organic and whole foods), but I am not waiting for thinner to be proud of my body and what it does.

So to JC Penney's and Dr. L______, yeah I'm fat but I'm beautiful, too.

1 comment:

  1. Yes you are sweetie. The most beautiful woman in the world and the only one for whom my heart beats. It is yours, forever and always. I love you!