Fattie or fat. What did you think I meant?

My husband and coach, Gary, was, apparently, telling his CrossFit group at work how well I’d done [glow] staying on task and that I’d started a blog to keep myself motivated and on track. When he said I’d named it “Confessions of a CrossFit Fattie,” there was an awkward silence, followed by a discussion by a bunch of fit guys about whether the F-word was appropriate. My husband’s position was that it was okay if I called myself that, although he generally dislikes the label. I alluded to the issue in an earlier post; I’m going to tackle it head-on now.

Gary’s right; I wouldn’t particularly care to hear that from someone else. But it’s kind of like being middle-aged; like it or not, that’s what I am. I hemmed and hawed when I started this blog about identifying myself; anonymity sounded safer. I decided that was a bit cowardly on my part, and that to remain anonymous would undercut the accountability aspect of blogging. Then I didn’t want to tell anyone I actually know about the blog. I mean, really, do I want them to know the exact weight on the scale?

But as in age, lying about it doesn’t really fool anyone but yourself. People can generally guesstimate; not telling anyone the number isn’t going to make someone think you’re thin when you’re not. As applied to age, I always thought lying was to risk someone thinking, “Gee, she looks old for her age.”

And it’s not like I’m only a few pounds overweight. I’m double the weight I was when I got married. I’m 75 lbs heavier than I was when I gave birth. I’m not a victim of trying to be like too-skinny perfection of cover girls. I’m overweight by any objective standard, to a degree that endangers my health (although, oddly, my cholesterol levels have remained low; it’s the always-been-in -great-shape hubby that has to take the Lipitor.  Genes account for some weird inconsistencies). I don’t feel sorry for myself nor am I trying to elicit sympathy; I’ve just finally come to grips with it, just like I’ve had to accept I’m 50.

But Gary asked a more difficult question. “What about when [I like his confidence; I’d have said if] you lose the weight? What will you call the blog then?”

I don’t know. The reason I chose the name was to appropriate it for myself in a way that both admits the problem and defuses the sting. The latter is a sociolinguistically documented phenomena: You see it in the use of “queer” by gays to rob it of its power to the point that “Queer Studies” is considered just as valid a title as “Women’s Studies” in academic circles. Personally, I think that’s what the underlying motivaion was/is for black men to call each other “nigger.” It hasn’t turned out as well  in that context, perhaps because it was not widely accepted as appropriate in the African-American community. However, as neither gay nor black, I’d never use either; in fact, it makes me uncomfortable to have typed them in an explanatory context, even though I’m not using either word to deride anyone.

But the “fattie” label in the title also is to let others in the same shape know I get it. That’s another sociolinguistic concept; that you use particular terms to identify yourself as a member of a community. No matter how much weight I lose, there will still be the inner fattie waiting for the opportunity to re-emerge. It’s kind of like being an alcoholic (not) or an attorney (am): you never completely lose the mindset even after you leave the bar.

So what will I call it then? I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. For now, it’s who I am and what I’m trying to work through. One day at a time, babysteps or whatever cliche you’d like to apply, it’s still true: you can’t get there until you get there.

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