Story of my life.
A former friend once asked me why I had so many “fat friends” and I had to explain, and I fear I wasn’t gentle, that walking, talking, eating, studying, enjoying life with another fat person let me self-express so much easier because you don’t get into the cycle of “But you’re not fat, you’re beautiful!” with a fat friend that you almost can’t get with a non-fat friend.
With a fat friend you can ridicule the people who try to throw shade at you for eating fries—I mean, why go through life not eating fries? Why go through life not eating salad with cheese and croutons and a creamy dressing?
With a fat friend you aren’t told by someone of a very different (usually smaller) size that they hate their bodies because they’re fat—fishing for the inevitable ‘you’re not fat, I’m fat’//’you’re not fat you’re curvy! I’m the fat one!’ circlejerk.
Fat friends don’t and won’t say shit like that. I have plenty of variously fat/not fat friends, but I refuse to jettison ‘fat’ friends to make thinner friends feel more comfortable hanging out with me. I won’t do that to them, and I won’t do that to myself.
I was actually hanging out at a fast food place with a couple friends of mine, one of whom is around my size while the other was by comparison very skinny. And my and my first friend were joking around about our weight cause we were ordering milkshakes when the third friend kind of tentatively joined in because hey, you’re out with friends and you want to be part of the conversation, that’s pretty normal.
Except I realized that it’s only a joke if you feel like you have control over who’s judging you. And while I felt comfortable with someone my size saying I was fat, having a skinny person say it made me feel attacked, even though she didn’t mean it and actually asked if it was okay for her to say that (and graciously accepted my no, no it wasn’t).
For me when I say that I’m fat it’s a condemnation but it’s also a recognition. I am fat. Clinically speaking, I’m obese. But even just looking at me, I’m fat and I’m recognizing that. I’m taking something that hurts me and by joking about it I’m turning it into armor, into “yes, I’m fat, what the fuck do you want with me?”. I’m also joking about it with my friend because I feel safe now. When we were joking around, we were both fat, both okay with it. It was a sort of togetherness feeling and a sense of yeah, it’s okay. We’re okay. And it’s important to have those moments and jokes because the next time someone comes up to me and says in a derogatory or condemnatory tone that I’m fat, I’ll have that memory. It’s like how my friends joke about how gay we are. Yeah, it’s a joke but to me personally I feel a little bit like I’m joking about it to accept myself, because people can’t hurt you with something that you refuse to feel ashamed of.
Most of my friends are very slender and yeah, that’s something I have to deal with and nine times out of ten when I’m out with someone, I have this painful sensation that I’m “the fat one”. And it’s something I’m working on but being fat comes with all these negative connotations that even if you don’t believe them and actually like yourself, they still effect you.
tldr; jokes are often pretty telling of what people feel sensitive about, especially if they’re self-deprecating. And if you’re slender person around a fat person be aware that there might be a point of sensitivity about that that you might not experience, no matter how insecure you are about your looks personally.