On Being the "Fat Friend" When it Starts to Get Warm Out

It seems like all our articles lately have been about the warm weather, but it's hard to avoid the topic of weather on a 65 degree day in upstate New York February. Swinter has been putting everyone in a pretty good mood, despite the fact that a lot of us are totally bogged down with work, but it's been bringing up some anxieties for me as well. 

So here's the thing. I'm not skinny. Like, by any stretch of the imagination.

Depending on your definition, you could also call me fat. It won't hurt my feelings. Personally, I consider myself somewhere in between skinny and fat--not because I don't like the word fat (it's just an adjective, and shouldn't carry negative connotations), but because I wear a L-XL in tops and dresses and a 32 or 34 in jeans, meaning I can find my clothes in most shops and don't have to seek out plus sized sections or stores (athough I can easily fit in the smaller sizes in those places as well).

Every year a pretty large part of my pretty large body quielty dreads the start of summer.

I hate being warm, but, even more than that, I hate trading in my baggy sweaters and skinny jeans for shorts and tank tops. I get comfortable in autumn and winter, and I honestly think I look best in leggings and sweaters and giant scarves and booties. It's my style but it's also what suits my body best.

The start of warm weather--of short and tank top and bathing suit season--stirs up some pretty bad feelings for me, and I know it does the same for lots of other girls, at all sizes, as well. I hate wearing shorts, and almost never do it, but I love the look of them. I love wearing tank tops, but I always feel a little self conscious about my arms in them. I love dresses, but I need them to cover my thick thighs (which, by the way, ripped one of my favorite pairs of leggings the other day. Thanks, thighs. Love ya.) This past summer, I wore a bathing suit to the beach for the first time in years--but I kept shorts on the entire time, and had a light cover up at my side for whenever I felt a sudden burst of body anxiety coming on. Plus, I don't have a single fat friend. Like, literally all of my friends are skinny--which is fine, and only really bugs me when they can all share clothes with each other but not me, and when I have a weird nagging sensation that everyone around us prefers them to me because we, as a society, are basically trained not to like fat girls.

I have a lot to say about body positivity, and I like to think I'm really getting good at practicing it. I'm better with others than with myself, though, and accepting my body as we move toward warmer weather and shorter clothing is always hard. I'll be spending part of my spring break in Los Angeles visiting a friend, aka I'll be surrounded by actresses and models and it'll probably be in the 70s or 80s and I'll be miserable if I wear jeans and a sweater. I'm packing dresses, mostly, and preparing myself to feel pretty bad for a little while.

But, I'm writing this to remind myself--there's nothing about being fat that makes me inherently inferior to others.

There have been boys and girls who have wanted to kiss me regardless of my size, and there are more and more role models every day for girls like me. Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine, Hunter McGrady, Philomena Kwao, Nadia Aboulhosn, Iskra Lawrence, and tons of other non-straight sized models are popping up in ad campaigns and on runways and in popular culture right now.

Maybe we're making moves. Maybe we're not.

But I am--and I need to. I realized as I wrote this that I have nothing constructive to say, but that I just wanted to share my thoughts. I hope that all my fellow fat girls out there are excited about warm weather, picking out bathing suits that they're gonna look incredible in, and realizing that there's no good reason to let your body stop you from enjoying warm weather.