Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Everybody’s A Critic

I work in the public schools as a school librarian. On most days, I think it’s the most awesome job in the world because a lot of what I do involves talking to kids about books and about how great reading is, without there ever being the monkey of an assignment or a test on anyone’s back. It really is great and, in a lot of ways, terribly rewarding.

Anyway, in my library I keep a “suggestion box” where kids can write down the titles of books or magazines that they would like to see in the library and, a few times a year, I go through the box, pull out the suggestions and make purchases based on what they want. Yesterday was one of those days, so I opened up the old wooden box, pulled out the 200 or so slips of paper and started going through them. There were lots of great suggestions in there. Several kids wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules by Jeff Kinney, while others asked for Jeremy Fink and Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass — both of which I will definitely buy for the library.

But then I came across a suggestion that I wasn’t expecting.

There, tucked within the large stack of awkwardly folded slips of paper, containing the literary wishlist of over 900 middle schoolers, was one that simply said: “lose weight.”


Here’s the thing: I don’t think I have to go on and on here about what it’s like to be a fat child and adolescent or how the scars inflicted upon you as kid, when other kids call you cruel names or refuse to include you because you’re fat, never, ever really heal. I have a feeling that most of the people reading these words have a pretty good idea what that’s like. And it’s funny, you know, no matter how old and hard and crusty we all get, there’s still a part of us that will *always* be the fat kid on the playground wishing they had a friend. So… it’s really no wonder that, even as adults, when someone stabs at our chubby hearts with a comment about being fat, no matter how many sarcastic comebacks we have at the ready, it still hurts us. And I am the first to admit that there was a time when finding a slip of paper in my suggestion box reminding me that I need to lose weight would have devastated me. I seriously would have fallen into a depression, followed by a lengthy period of self-loathing until finally I’d have sought the solace and counsel of my good friends at Burger King.

But yesterday was different.

As I held the paper in my hand, my eyes didn’t well up with tears. My hands didn’t shake. My stomach didn’t turn. And I didn’t suddenly crave a whopper with cheese. Instead, I found myself smiling and thinking “listen, kid… I’m working on it.” Then I tossed the paper dagger in the trash.

Later, at dinner, I told my husband about the incident as I nibbled on a spinach salad and my half of the quiche we’d decided to split for dinner last night at Ruby Tuesday. As he listened, I could tell that he was silently gauging the situation, readying himself to go into damage control mode should I break down right there in the restaurant. But in the end, he just smiled and said he was proud of me for not losing sight of all the weight I’ve already lost and for not letting a snide comment undo the all the good that’s come from changing the way I live.

And you know what? I’m proud of me too.

January 31, 2008 Posted by | losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments