At 18, during her first semester of college, the author says, she found “a fat sister-in-arms.” And that’s when, after years of being kept at a distance from classmates by virtue of their fatness, she says, they made the most radical decision:
All that changed in sophomore year when her friend told her that she’d decided to have weight-loss surgery, and she lost the only person who understood. She also, she says, returned to being “the fattest kid in the class,” and the person no one really wants to see.
“This was when I learned to love and admire bright and shining fat people, the ones who vibrated with joy, who refused to reject their bodies as character flaws or moral failings. …These, I learned, were my people.”
While a handful of fat people have recently dared to attain the celebrity and success usually reserved for thin people, others such as actor Gabourey Sidibe and plus size designer Ashley Nell Tipton have succumbed to the pressure to be thin. And their defection, for the many women who looked up to them, is almost to painful to bear.
I am reminded of all of that, and of what it means to lose someone you’ve loved and looked up to — the familiar drift of formerly fat friends into thinness. I’m bracing myself for the crash.