No. Not all of you. I can feel some men already feeling offended.
No, you’re right. Not even most of you. I swear.
But to all of you (all genders!) – to say you have never judged someone on their weight is a flat-out lie. I’m a body positive – plus sized – self-love – advocate and I’ve done it. Whether it’s too fat or too skinny or weight in different places – you’ve made a snap judgement.
That’s not who I am here to talk to today, however.
I’m here to talk to a few specific men who said I was too fat. I want to address a few things about that.
Dear Men Who Said I was Too Fat,
To the first boy I ever kissed. I was 14. We were watching a movie and it just happened. I was so excited and the butterflies in my stomach were fluttering something fierce. We kissed until my lips felt chapped and my heart felt full. My little 14-year-old self was so excited to meet a boy who liked me, to meet a boy who wanted to kiss me, and a boy who wanted to be with me.
To you, first kiss, when you called me two hours after getting home and made sure that I realized that this did NOT mean that we were dating. And not to tell anyone what happened. Because it would be too embarrassing to date me at school because I was “too fat to date in public.”
To you, first boy, I found a man who is attracted to my body, my mind, and my spirit. I am going to marry him. Thank you for making sure I never made a mistake falling in love with a person like you.
Thank you for making sure that I knew how to be valued, how to be loved, and to find someone who is proud to call me their partner.
To the Coffee Shop Customer when I was 16. I was working after school as a barista to make a little extra money. I was wearing black jeans and a black top (which was the required uniform) and my hair in neat braided pigtails. To you, coffee shop customer, who said I would be so pretty if I just lost weight and asked if I would ever consider stopping eating white grains. To you, coffee shop customer, who said I was too fat to be pretty but just fat enough to have a great rack – I was a child. Literally, a child. To you, who sent a 10th grader crying into your latte while I had my back turned at the espresso machine because I didn’t know what to say.
To you, coffee shop customer, I have gone on to have a successful blog about the one thing you swore couldn’t be possible: being pretty and being fat.
Thank you for making me have a back bone to stand up to creeps, to defend myself, and to make sure that I have thick skin as well as thick thighs.
To you, the soul mate I met at age 12. We were electric. We were in love and passionate and dramatic. We remained that way until I was 22 years old. We have had electrifying kisses, a torrid love affair, and endless moments that seemed like a movie that we always got lost in. I’m sorry that the chemistry was not enough for you to overlook. I’m sorry that I always had to be your dirty little secret, to be kept behind closed doors, and something you had to justify to new girlfriends. I am sorry that I was “too fat for your taste”. I’m sorry that I let it go on for 10 years like that.
To you, decade long soul mate, I am sorry that I couldn’t be enough for you. But as it turns out, you weren’t enough for me either.
Thank you for making sure that I knew that I need someone who could be connected with my mind, spirit, and body. Not just my soul.
Thank you for leaving me so that I could continue to grow.
To you, the first director who told me at age 15, that I should start focusing on supporting characters because I was “too fat to be a leading lady”. To the show that I was devastated not to find myself as a love interest, but as a villain. To not even giving me a chance to show you my talent, my voice, and my passion for the stage.
To you, Thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes to the reality of show business. Thank you for breaking my little teenage heart.
I took your advice. I started focusing on supporting characters and kooky sidekicks. And you know what, I’m damn good at them.
To you, costumer, who. when I was 17, told me that you had ordered all of our costumes from a company that didn’t offer plus sizes. So you made mine. And I looked a little bit different from everyone else. To you, for making me always look like I didn’t quite belong. To you, for making me feel like I did something wrong for having a body.
Thank you. Thank you for making me more aware of my clothes. This moment is what sparked my clothing hoarding.
I figured if you couldn’t costume me, I better be damn prepared next time. Thank you for making sure I could costume myself from the 1920’s to today in all different styles.
Thank you for going above and beyond to hand make me a costume. I didn’t appreciate the gesture or the effort at the time, but I do now.
Thank you for sparking an interest in vintage, retro, and thrift fashion. Thank you. It helped me find a community of equally awesome people.
To the first man who messaged me on a dating app when I was 21. I wasn’t interested in dating someone who was fourteen years my senior with a child. But to you, for opening a message with some lewd comment about ‘bbw feet’ and how much you wanted to f*ck me and worship my feet and several other very graphic things. When I politely declined due to our age difference, you said “I was too fat to f**k anyway”.
To you, thank you for making me care less about what strangers think. Thank you for being the first jerk on a dating site. It made me be more honest about what my body is like. And forcing me to be more honest forced me to be more self accepting.
To you, internet trolls, when I was 24. To you, for putting very nice pictures (in a blazer and a skirt) up on an internet forum. To you, for letting strange men comment on the picture of me. To you, internet poster for asking ‘what was wrong with some people – why would they follow me on the internet? Does everyone have a fat fetish?’ To you, commenters, for saying that “I was too fat to live” and I should “lose some weight before I kill myself so I don’t break the rafters”. To you gentleman who thought I was some internet blogger who would never see it: I saw it.
To you, gentlemen, thank you for showing me what I’m made of. For showing me that I can’t and won’t fall apart for you.
Thank you for letting me know how tough I am and how strong I am. Thank you for letting me kick some serious ass in ‘not caring’.
Thank for creating the make or break moment where I either quit or doubled down and went harder.
I went harder.
To you, Daddy. To you, for never saying I was too fat to be loved or to be cared for. To you, Daddy for making sure that I had very high expectations of how men were supposed to treat me. To you, Daddy for being the best male role model of a man that a girl could want.
To you, new-husband-to-be, to you for loving my body, to helping me cherish it, to falling in true love and weight not ever having to be a factor in our love story. To you for making me excited to spend my whole life with you by my side. To you for showing me what a partner is.
Thank you to you two.
And finally to me,
Thank you for eating again after those six months where you dropped forty pounds but were miserable and surviving on an apple that you split into quarters and ate over the whole day.
Thank you for letting yourself wear dresses and forgetting that you had thick legs and worrying about your hips. Thank you for finding a community of people who care about you.
Thank you for starting something big for yourself.
Thank you for continuing to keep going on. To learn. To grow.
Thank you for falling in love and remembering what love is truly like.
Thank you for continuing to grow in mind and spirit. Thank you for realizing and appreciating the life that you have.
Thank you for being happy and content with who you are.
And I am not asking for pity in this letter. I don’t need it. Or an “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.” – I am perfectly content and more than happy with who I turned out to be and these experiences are all part of it.
I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
❤ – Penny Darling