Why I'll Never Stop Talking About Being Fat

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 

I’ll never stop talking about being fat.

Last week, someone read one of my essays, and she left a comment addressed to me. This woman went on for a paragraph or so, explaining that I write too often about being fat. She questioned whether I write from passion or just to get a paycheck. She told me I should write about other things.

Sigh. Nothing like a random person on the internet jumping to conclusions and telling me who I am.

But I get it. I’m not for everyone. Has anyone ever told you that you talk too much? If so, you’re probably my people. I’ve been too much since I was a little girl, and I’ll be too much until I’m in the casket. I am used to people telling me I care too much, talk too much, wear too much makeup…I’m quite accustomed to being perceived as more than what makes people comfortable.

As my mom told me long ago, those people aren’t my people.

In reality, I have written hundreds of essays about lots of things. Motherhood. Marriage. Raising a kid with autism. Current events. Movies. TV. Politics.

But without a doubt, my favorite thing to write about is life in a fat body, and that’s why I do it so often.

This isn’t a new thing for me. I’ve been vocal about living your best life in your body regardless of size since I was 15 years old. Back then, I used to travel and sing with a group that performed in schools. After that, I traveled alone, speaking to women in churches.

And now I write about it online. It’s not this career that makes me write about it; it’s my lifelong commitment to this topic that has allowed me to make a career out of it.

I will not stop writing about the issues surrounding fatness until I run out of places to do it. In my estimation, I don’t write about it too much. I write about it as much as I want to, and that’s the exact right amount for me.

I’ve got a lot of good reasons to never give up writing about life in a fat body. I would encourage anyone with a passion for any important topic to keep on speaking out for the same reasons.

Here are a few.

I want to write about it.

Last I checked, that’s the only reason I needed. I write about being fat because it’s important to me. I’m a grown woman and, to borrow a catchphrase from the incomparable Tabitha Brown, “that’s my business.”

If you have a passion, don’t let anyone tell you that you spend too much time on it. The world needs people who care deeply. If you can be one, BE ONE.

Every time I write, someone tells me they needed to hear it.

Just this week, someone sent me this message: “It’s so true that the word fat has been weaponized, and for my whole life I have allowed it to hurt me. However, since following you, I have become desensitized to the word and no longer see it as an insult. It’s very freeing.”

If you can make even one other human being feel less alone every time you do the thing you feel born to do, isn’t that all you can ask for? Keep doing your thing. Connection is so important.

I want to tell other fat people that they are enough.

There are a lot of repetitive messages available to us every day that make us feel like our fat bodies aren’t good enough. Everywhere we turn, there are a zillion reminders that thin is still in, fat is not okay, and our bodies need to change in order to be considered acceptable.

If I say the same things often, it’s because I want to provide equally repetitive reminders that we are absolutely fine just like we are. I want fat people to stumble across my work and feel less alone. By the same token, I want thin people to see my words and consider a perspective they may never have considered before. I am committed to making people in fat bodies feel like they are enough.

Who needs to hear your voice? What truth do you own that someone else can find freedom in knowing? If you can help someone else feel better about their lived experiences, who cares who thinks you’re too much?

I think my simple message has an important place in the conversation.

Fat positivity online can be deep, complicated, and overwhelming. I listen to hundreds of fat voices that are far more academic than my own. My quest for knowledge has led me to learn about fat history. I have been actively seeking this information for several years, and I still have so much to learn. I am careful to speak only about my own experiences. There are people who can cover the meat of this topic more adequately than I can, so I let them do that.

But there is room for simple voices like mine. People who are new to this community need the basics, and that’s what I can provide. One beautiful soul reached out to me this week to let me know I was the first person who ever told her she is enough, just as she is. I want every single fat person alive to hear someone tell them that they matter, today and forever, even if they never lose an ounce.

There is beauty and importance in simplicity. You don’t have to be the foremost expert. You have every right to say what you need to say. Someone needs to hear you.

I believe almost everyone has something to say. I think most of us could make someone else feel alone if we could work up the time, courage and motivation to share our experiences. So many of us have important, relatable knowledge just hiding inside that could change someone’s world if we shared it.

Not everyone wants to bare their soul, and I respect that. But anyone who wants to speak up, speak out and make a connection with another person should do it. For me, it’s about body size. For you, it could be about literally anything else. I think all of our stories are important.

So, I’ll keep on writing about being fat until I don’t have a place to do it anymore. It’s not just about fat. It’s about making people feel seen and heard and understood.

Is there really any way to do that too much?

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