Please don’t judge me by how much space I take

My heart gets broken easily. I do not have thick skin. I do not have a hard shell. What I do have are a kind and caring heart, strong muscles, and healthy bones covered in a soft, fluffy layer of too much fat.

I know who I am. I am a kind, generous, and thoughtful person who occasionally makes people laugh. Hurting anyone’s feelings even by accident — and it’s always by accident — makes me despondent. I just want people to be happy.

So I cannot imagine — cannot fathom — why anyone would look at me and see not my loving heart or my caring personality, but my expanding waistline and the way my belly presses just a little too hard against the front of my t-shirt. Why would anyone care about the extra girth to my upper arms or the extra jiggle to the inner parts of my thighs?

I am more than just my body. I am a spirit, a soul, a heart, and a mind. My body is just the vessel I use to get around when I’m hiking with my friends, or taking my mother grocery shopping, or playing my ukulele.

Former lovers have called me fat. Family members have advised me helpfully that I’ve gained weight since the last time we saw each other. My ex-husband said I was disgusting. My ex-boyfriend took a plate of food out of my hands and ate it himself.

No one was obligated to share their time with me. No one was obligated to date me, marry me, or have sex with me. I didn’t deceive anyone. If I was fat, then I was fat when we met. How does my weight become a problem once the excitement wears off? That’s what I’d like to know.

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