Parkinson

Once a Fat Kid, Always a Fat Kid – Life through the Lens of Parkinson’s

No filters. I am thinner than I have been since I stopped growing when I was 21. But I still have a Fat Kid inside.

By Teresa Swartz Roberts

Blog 43. Copyright 2021

Once a fat kid, always a fat kid.

If you were ever a fat kid, you know what I mean. You know what it means to be picked last and to have a kid tell you why you’re being picked last.

“Hey, I have both fat kids on my team. No fair!”

You remember the sound your corduroys made when you walked and your thighs rubbed together or the rash you got in the summer when you were wearing shorts and your thighs rubbed together.

“Have you seen that her thighs touch when she stands up for the Pledge of Allegiance? Gross!”

You remember being made fun of by other kids, especially your rotten brother:

“Two-ton Tessie, two-by-four, couldn’t get through the kitchen door!”

You know what it’s like to shop for clothes with friends who can find everything they need in the Junior Department. You remember hiding behind dark, slimming clothing. Sometimes you even hoped it would make you disappear completely.

“I think I’ll take the black pants.”

You knew that if you just lost some weight, you would have a whole different life. And then you did lose weight, but it was never enough. Or in the right places.

“I see you lost weight. It was all in your boobs, wasn’t it?”

You know what it’s like to be hungry. Maybe you remember looking at the clock at the front of your fifth grade classroom and wishing you could have your snack sooner because that Dexitrim did not kill your appetite. Maybe you remember fad diets that used food combinations from beets to tuna fish to melt the pounds away.

“I’m sick of this diet! Let’s use the vanilla ice cream and peanut butter to make a sundae!”

You know that people make assumptions about you that aren’t true. People think you’re lazy or weak or unfit until they see you at the gym or moving scenery or in a Zumba class. People assume you are unhealthy, but your lab tests show good numbers.

“With that blood pressure you’re going to outlive us all!”

You wasted time thinking you were fat when you weren’t. You may be doing that right now.

“Why don’t you have any pictures of yourself at the beach?”

You kept trying to convince yourself when you grew up that you weren’t fat anymore, but the fat kid inside wouldn’t let you. You had something to prove. Maybe you were nominated for Homecoming Court in college and wanted to believe you belonged there. Maybe you were in the Marine Corps and in the best shape of your life, but you still had the Fat Kid inside.

“The Fat Kid can hang!”

Maybe you’re grateful for your fat because it forced to you to look at other parts of your humanity and work on those. Maybe you define yourself by fat. Or maybe you are leaning into a stereotype.

“Fat people are jolly!”

I lost over a hundred pounds on purpose. I am glad I did it. But now I lose weight when I don’t mean to. My doctor says it’s probably because I move so much. Lots of the movement is dyskinesia from my meds. The meds make me feel better, but I move in a jerky uncontrollable fashion instead of having tremors.

Because of my Parkinson’s, I now weigh less than I did when I met my husband 38 years ago. I am no longer a fat person.

I could have a conversation with a group of other women about shopping in regular stores or appreciate a picture of myself in which I am not sucking in my gut.

I feel like a spy. I’m not skinny person. I just look that way. I still have a fat kid inside. I hope you can still see her. I can.


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