Believe in the Flowers.

Carol of the Zombie Jesus!

I am fat.

I don't like beating around the bush and using the PC terms. They're glorified words that mean the same thing twenty times over: large, obese, overweight, bigger, fluffy. I don't care what you call it, because everyone you're talking to knows exactly what you mean. You're talking about someone who is fat, who weighs more than you and your friends do, who happens to be some ten sizes larger than that model on the front of your magazine. We all know what we mean when we use the politically correct terms, so let's stop poking at the subject and get right down to it.

I am fat.

There, you have it: the Truth. And the Truth is that I am well aware that I'm fat, obese, overweight, whatever. I think I'm what the medical community would call "morbidly obese" while they click their tongues and shake their heads disapprovingly. I think that their head-shaking and tongue-clicking would probably be compounded by the fact that I'm only 21 (almost 22!), a mother, and am already suffering the lifelong effects of my weight: my knees click and crack audibly when I go up or down stairs, I sometimes find it difficult to breathe, and I have to spend a lot of money to actually buy clothing that fits me. I can only barely keep up with my one-year-old as it is, and I know that as time goes on this will only get worse. It will be nearly impossible to teach him to watch what he eats and to be wary of certain ingredients and certain numbers on labels when I don't practice what I preach.

I think that the problem, however, isn't so much that I'm fat, but that people seem to have a lot of misconceptions about the fat portion of the population. I'd like to address some of them, and correct those thoughts.

First, there seem to be a lot of people who are convinced that being fat was somehow a choice for us. These individuals paint a picture of a bunch of skinny, pretty, popular kids sitting around. One day, these kids all make the same decision: to be fat! Right, because, obviously, every child wants to grow up to have full joint replacements before age 50. Because we want to have arthritis, diabetes, joint problems, heart disease, and die twenty years before our average peers are slated to. This isn't something that we all sit down and consciously choose to live with one day. There isn't some long inner decision process that ends in the choice of being fat. We're born bigger and struggle with weight all of our lives. We make bad decisions and turn to food and away from exercise in difficult or stressful situations. Sometimes we fully understand what we're doing, and sometimes - more often than not - it honestly doesn't cross our minds that what we do isn't really the best for our minds or bodies. Trust me: if we constantly thought about what we were doing, we probably wouldn't do it.

For some of us, are difficulties are hereditary. Our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles are big. They don't eat right, don't exercise, and never encouraged us to do so either. We've learned all of our lives not so much that being fat is all right, but that we are the way we are and we should accept and embrace that - even if who we are means that we're going to die earlier and live lives full of mockery, pain, and physical difficulties. I think we're given the wrong impression by our parents and teachers; it's inappropriate to make us think that it's all right to be overweight. I'm not trying to say that it's a good idea to encourage children to be tiny and that size 0 is the only size to be, but I know I'm not exactly proud to be massively overweight - and I wouldn't expect any of my children to be, either.

Second, we are not all fat because of what we eat or how we live. For some of us, we have always been this way, and yes, there really are various conditions that cause some of us to be overweight. I'm not writing myself off as one of these people, although I have always been big. I'm just saying - I find it disturbing when disbelieving individuals sit around and say that all obese people choose to be that way. Think before you speak.

Third, and probably finally, it isn't just as easy as deciding one day that you're going to change your lifestyle and boom. It's incredibly difficult to change the way you live, to do a total 180 with your habits and schedules just to incorporate the things you should have been doing in the first place. And not losing weight immediately doesn't label a person a failure - it just means that they're at a plateau or that they need to be doing something different. Losing weight is not a race, it's a slow and difficult process (which is part of the reason some refuse to try to diet and exercise, as they know they won't see immediate results). Someone who is fat might be honestly trying to lose weight right that moment, but they won't always show as such.

I suppose that's all there is to my rant. Mayhaps there will be more later.

Meanwhile, Gabe is choking on his food (corn, green beans, potatoes, fish sticks). Poor kid. Doesn't matter how much I cut it up, he's still coughing!