To the Girl Who Called Me a Fatass on the Bus

I know we haven’t known each other for very long – we were only on the bus for a handful of minutes – and I suppose it’s possible that my weight gain is sudden, but it’s not. I have been hauling this junk in my trunk for probably longer than you’ve been alive. And you’re not the first person (and likely not the last) to call me fat. So not only are you not as shocking as you probably hoped, you’re not terribly original, either.

Not only am I a fatass and a big fat fattie, I am well educated, I have a good job with reasonable hours that pays me well, and I am loved. I go on vacations, I have fancy meals out with my friends, I have a nice apartment in a great building with wonderful neighbors, and a cute little dog who amuses the hell out of me. When I get sick, I can afford to see a doctor. My refrigerator and cabinets are always full. I have the tremendous privilege of free time to read, watch trashy tv, blog, navel gaze, meditate, and wonder about the meaning of life. I get manicures and pedicures whenever I want. I had a fantastic massage last week. I am surrounded by people who love me just as I am.

When I look in the mirror, at my face, I sometimes smile. I like who I am. I even like the curve of my hips and the swell of my breasts. I have managed to extract some self love from the battlefield that is my body. Like yours, my body has been under scrutiny and judgement for most of my life. We both face a constant barrage of images and expectations of what our bodies should be like. We will probably never be enough. Skinny enough, curvy enough, tall enough. We will never be just right. And if we are, or close to it, our reward all too often is harassment from strangers in the street, in the store, on the bus, where ever we have the nerve to be attractive to or noticed by someone in public. From early on, we are watching what we eat, binging and purging, counting calories, measuring inches, thinking about our “skinny jeans,” sold diets and fasts, and scrutinized for what we put in our mouths. And despite that, maybe because of that, your words did not shame me. That’s why I held your gaze for so long after you said it.

I’m not telling you this to one up you. I am telling you this because I wish the same for you. I hope that you grow up avoiding or shedding the judgement and shame that is foisted on your body and runs the risk of keeping you from living fully. I hope you find yourself in 25 years in comfort, with little struggle and lots of love. I am writing this to remind myself, too, that I am so much more than the words you slung.

I could have written the title of this post 25 years ago. The rest, I couldn’t have written until today.

63 Responses to “To the Girl Who Called Me a Fatass on the Bus”

  1. Olga @ MangoTomato Says:

    so well said! it literally gave me chills, especially the last 2 sentences.

  2. Enid Says:

    What Olga said. Rock on.

  3. Lydia Says:

    WHEN are you going to marry me & have my babies? WHEN???

  4. Sylvie Says:

    You amaze me. Thank you for reminding me. I needed this.

  5. AmyinMotown Says:

    Wow. That was amazing.

  6. certaintyexpert Says:

    Fabulous!

  7. rustmon Says:

    Righteous.

  8. citizenrobot Says:

    Nice work. The world is full of ugliness and you stay beautiful!

  9. Sizzle Says:

    This post is so right on. I wish I could say I could respond that way if the same thing had happened to me but sadly I am not there yet. Thanks for writing this!

  10. Susan Parker Says:

    THIS is an amazing article!!! THANK YOU!!! I can so relate. I had bulimia for 6 years and wish I had gotten this concept back then! The good news? I’m 25 years free of my eating disorder and now I know the girth of my thighs don’t define me…I do!

  11. Gloria Says:

    Wonderful! Other aspects can be substituted for the “fat” terms — things about height, color, culture, etc., all things to be celebrated, appreciated and shared for the beauty they bring but that are so often used as instruments of hatred and ugliness. Bottom line — we are all fantabulously duh bomb! And we need to recognize that in ourselves and others. What will the world be like when we all do that? Wow.

  12. Banshee Says:

    AWESOME!

  13. Intentional50 Says:

    Loved this. Especially your display of deep well-being and strength – your ability to show her that love looks like being able to treat yourself well and wish others well, too. Thank you.

  14. joanna cole Says:

    such courage. living well is the best revenge!

  15. Ananda Leeke Says:

    You continue to inspire and teach me. That’s why you are my sage sangha digital sister! Love ya neighbor lady! Keep telling and writing your TRUTH.

  16. Maria Says:

    Very nicely written. Love this.

  17. Teri Says:

    This is so inspiring! I love it!

  18. Nai Hiwet Says:

    Very moving piece. I applaud your courage to share yourself in this way. I’m inspired by your ability to love those who are not so loving towards you. It speaks volumes about the love you have for yourself and your life. Very well done.

  19. Mainemom Says:

    You.Are.Awesome.

  20. dianeswords Says:

    Bravo and ditto.

  21. Fatkini Riot Says:

    Absolutely fantastic. I always wonder what sort of malfunction is going on in the lives of strangers who feel the need to inform me that I’m fat. I pity them if attempting to tear me down is the only way they can see to climb up out of whatever hole they’re in.

    • dcmazzie Says:

      This is it exactly. Whether it’s mean girls or street harassers, I don’t at all comprehend why strangers feel so strongly entitled to comment about my body. Ihad put street harassment (by men) squarely in the “male privilege” box, but the mean girl stuff just breaks my heart.

  22. Lady Grinning Soul Says:

    As a young and happy fatass, what can I say? Thank you? I bow down to the awesomeness of this post. I have been trying to write this piece three months and failed because I had no angle; if only someone would call me fatass on the bus. But then again, maybe not… Still! Thank you! I am in awe. And about to follow your blog, because… well, how could I not?

  23. Lucy McLean Says:

    This is possibly the most amazing post I have ever seen on the net. I can’t tell you how raw this is for me right now or why I’ve spent the last few months considering drastic cosmetic surgery. This has helped a lot. And so beautifully written. Thank you.

  24. alicia Says:

    i love you. “your words did not shame me” gave me chills. this is so brave, beautiful and badass. just like you.

  25. Lise Says:

    So very well said. THANK YOU.

  26. pride: to the girl… | urban bohemian Says:

    [...] don’t do very much for Pride in DC anymore, but with it coming up next weekend in DC, this post from a best friend, beautiful person and more than occasionally a myopic little twit* was [...]

  27. IzoldaT Says:

    Well said.

  28. david jones Says:

    40 Years Earlier
    excellent post!! we all need to remember to be good to ourselves…

    40 years earlier

    Be careful
    The only one that really loves you
    Will be leaving soon
    You will not be able to be
    The man your father was
    Because his time
    Is done
    And yours is uncertain
    Your birthplace will leave you
    It will no longer exist
    You will have to raise yourself
    You will make mistakes
    On their behalf
    But you will learn from them
    They are white
    You are black
    Always remember that
    They will never forget it
    Though they will pretend
    Blindness
    Try to do some
    Of what you want
    Not always what seemingly
    Needs to be done
    They will tell you
    That they love you
    They will make you cry
    But seldom smile
    They will come slowly
    And leave quickly
    They will share drama with you
    They will share your bed
    And many times
    Leave you wanting
    Try to see the good in them
    And yourself
    They will give you a son
    And a daughter
    Love them the same
    You will live to see 55
    But it will be hard
    Prepare yourself
    Remember the old wisdom
    Use it in new ways
    You will not be rich
    But you will not starve
    You will have more than most
    But it will not be evident
    You may go crazy
    But that is expected
    Remember to keep writing
    It will heal you
    When nothing else can

    DJones 2011 / 1970

  29. Esprix Says:

    Bravo!

  30. Rebekah Rodriguez Says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. Self love is a constant battle in a society that tells us we are never ever good enough, and our bodies are community property. I’m just starting to be at peace with my body and myself at 35, and you inspire me to keep on going.

  31. Amanda Says:

    eloquent, moving and inspirational. Thank you for being YOU.

  32. Lx Says:

    My 7 yr. old daughter has a 10 yr. old friend who has pretty much stopped eating anything for fear of “getting fat.” If she even attempts to take a bit of something that is meat, she scrutinizes it for bits of fatty tissue. The 10 yr. old friend has learned all this from her peers. My 7 yr. old is starting to make static about “getting fat” as well. I don’t know what I can do besides the obvious…peers have much more influence than parents. I stay supportive and loving. My daughter is svelte and active and eats incredibly well–she adores veggies and fruits. But I see this coming down the pike. And I feel helpless. I don’t have any answers.

  33. Sam Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. You don’t have to be thin to love your body and you don’t have to be fat to not love it either. I’ve been thin for most of my life. I struggle, too.

  34. jerrygrundle Says:

    Bravo.

  35. Lee Says:

    Amazingly well-said. Never lose track of the knowledge that you’re brave and strong, even when you feel fearful and weak; we all have bad moments, but we should define ourselves by our best, not our worst.

    Lx, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself about nutrition, and encourage your daughters to do the same.

  36. Libby Says:

    Sing it sister!

  37. Summer Says:

    Wow. Just wow! I loved this so much.

  38. Links of Great Interest: Bring Amina home! — The Hathor Legacy Says:

    [...] the girl who called me a fatass on the [...]

  39. tweedles Says:

    This reads like you’re trying to convince yourself you don’t care that you’re fat rather than some stranger on the bus. If you actually didn’t invest much thought into being fat, why did you even bring it up? Wouldn’t it just roll of your back? If it’s not an issue, why did it warrant a “diary entry” style post? I think you do care, a lot. There is no scam behind healthy diet and exercise and nobody is naturally fat. Think of people throughout history, obesity is a recent phenomenon, our genetic makeup hasn’t changed, just our eating habits. I have hypothyroid syndrome and an essential lack of a metabolism, I lost 60 pounds just eating right, not drinking sugar water, and running. My fatness was due to me eating the garbage they propagate and having no self-control. You can take charge of your life!

  40. lifewellblended Says:

    Amazing post. Especially the last line. Congratulations to you for loving and accepting yourself. I have two teen girls who, despite their beautiful skin, wonderful, healthy bodies, and curious, intelligent minds, don’t know the meaning of self-love and acceptance. What I now know and love about myself at 48, I would not change to go back to those younger, “prettier” years of self-doubt and even, self-loathing.

  41. Johnna White Says:

    This is absolutely wonderful! May I please have permission to re-post it on my website about weight loss? This is the type of positive things that people need to hear when they’re struggling with their weight!

    • dcmazzie Says:

      You’re welcome to share it where ever you want! It’s not really about weight loss, though. I am all for spreading the radical idea of body acceptance.

  42. Johnna White Says:

    PS…I already shared it on the site’s Facebook page!

  43. Johnna White Says:

    Thanks! I totally agree! The idea is to lose weight for ourselves if we want to…not because society dictates that we should look a certain way! I’ll never be a skinny Minnie. It’s all about being healthy and happy!

  44. Johnna White Says:

    Here’s the link to the page where I shared it if you want to look. I put a link back here. http://weightloss.net/to-the-girl-who-called-me-a-fatass-on-the-bus-by-dc-mazzie/

  45. To the Girl Who Called Me a Fatass on the Bus (via mazzie) « Angela Theresa: 365 Days To Manifest Magic Says:

    [...] I know we haven't known each other for very long – we were only on the bus for a handful of minutes – and I suppose it's possible that my weight gain is sudden, but it's not. I have been hauling this junk in my trunk for probably longer than you've been alive. And you're not the first person (and likely not the last) to call me fat. So not only are you not as shocking as you probably hoped, you're not terribly original, either. Not only am I a fa … Read More [...]

  46. angelaura28 Says:

    You’re my new heroine! Love it!

  47. SavageGuppy Says:

    Thank you. Such a soul healing message.

  48. Katherine Says:

    Thank you for writing this! It is so true and self-acceptance is a beautiful, beautiful thing!

  49. Kellee Says:

    So very well said!! I think I have a big ol’ straight girl crush on you! :-D

    I have had a struggle with weight my whole life. This past St Patrick’s Day, at age 44 I had bariatric surgery (for health reasons and because I was ready to be not such a fatass), with a total weight loss of nearly 70 pounds to date.

    I too dealt with the insults, the looks, the feeling like every time I take a bite of something in public I am being judged, subtly or not so much. I never wanted to go places on my own, for fear of someone thinking “Wow, the fat chick doesn’t have any friends to do stuff with”. I wish I had 1/10 of your courage to stand up to these morons who feel it’s their place to point out what is blatantly obvious – that I was fat.

  50. Edgar A Greene Says:

    Fat is only ugly to those who hate.

  51. momto3ofherown Says:

    Well Said!!!!

  52. Liz Says:

    Thank you for writing this. I know it’s been said already in your comment section, but I had to say it again.

  53. Nicola Scott Says:

    Thank you for writing this…….was just sat here feeling sad because someone has just said exactly the same thing to me………..now sat here with a little smile of my face x

  54. Vic Says:

    This post is beautifully written, and really touched me. I will never understand why we, as a society, seem to be so intent on tearing each other down.
    With your permission, (and attribution,of course)I would love to use this post with my high school students next year – I think it would be so valuable.
    Either way, thank you so much for writing this.

  55. Emma Says:

    Wow, I am (almost) in tears! You are gr8 writer!!!

  56. KCL Says:

    It’s interesting to me – the thinnest friend I have is filled with the most self-loathing, which she turns outward, instantly noticing the weight of other people first. Sometimes, I think that I could stand to lose some weight. Sometimes, I think that weighing more gives me more gravity on this planet. Sometimes, I think I’m just exactly where I should be. The older I get, the more days I have feeling like I’m exactly where I should be.
    Also interestingly, when I was very, very thin (size 2) people still called me fat, just to get under my skin. It’s a word that gets flung around, because people think it’s hurtful. The less hurtful it becomes, the less I think people will be able to wield it. Frankly, I just don’t really find it hurtful now, because I’m perfectly aware that the venom is a product of something deeper.

    don’t know how I even got to this blog, but I like it! Thank you.

  57. Dizzy Daeze Says:

    Thank you. I needed that.

  58. Vicki WS (@CrowndVic) Says:

    Thanks for sharing. The thing about DC is, I feel like we are less superficial than LA and less fashion focused than NYC. But people will be shallow-people.
    As cliche as the “golden rule” might be, it holds true.

    Bitches be crazy.
    Maybe that’s the DC cliche?
    (with a side of politics, of course)

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