One evening before I started writing a blog post, my fiancÃ© asked me what I was going to post about (he does this every night, sometimes it really stresses me out). “Fat days,” I answered. “Fat days? What’s that?” he asked. “You know, fat days? ‘Blech, I’m having a fat day’?” I said, at a loss as to how one might explain a fat day further than that. He stared at me blankly.
“A day where you just feel fat?” I ventured. “Oh,” he responded. “I’ve never really heard of that. I haven’t heard anyone use that expression, at least.” Well, in that case I guess I should get credit for not having complained of having had a fat day within earshot of him. Beyond that, though, let’s just go ahead and say it: what the hell? Who doesn’t know what a fat day is?
If you think about it, though, it’s not all that surprising that he would be perplexed by the concept of a fat day. I mean, really? A fat day? The phrase itself is nonsensical. Is it like Mardi Gras? How does one have a fat day? It seems physically impossible”“ I mean you can’t just go from one physical shape to another overnight. And that’s where things start to fall apart, because fat days have no basis in the quantitative. They have nothing to do with actually being fat; they exist on a plane that is completely independent of your height, weight, size, or any other physical attribute you have. They exist solely in your head.
If I hadn’t abolished the very notion of fat days from my system of thought, I’d go ahead and say that today I’m having a fat day. My jeans feel tight, I feel icky, bloated, crabby, lazy, and annoyed. It’s as though I turned into a slug somewhere between yesterday when I went to bed and this morning when I woke up. It’s totally disgusting, right? Well, no, actually. Wrong.
In spite of the way I may be feeling, I’d be hard-pressed to really and truly call today a fat day. For one thing, saying that those adjectives I listed above are synonymous with being fat is extremely unfair and only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes that have unjustly been created to describe what fat people are like (and in many cases, to justify discriminatory and prejudicial behaviors). That right there, in and of itself, is extremely problematic. For another, fat isn’t a feeling, it’s a physical descriptor. I may be feeling lazy, run-down, and crabby. I may actually be bloated because I’ve had too much salt lately, or because of (ahem) hormonal fluctuations. These things don’t add up to “feeling fat,” they add up to feeling kind of crummy and having kind of a bad day. Finally, and this is related to my first point, what’s wrong with being fat? When we say we’re having a fat day, we’re accepting the fact that society has taught us that fat is a stand-in for a variety of negative things. It’s not.
So I want us all to take on a challenge: no more fat days. When you feel compelled to say you’re having one, dig a little deeper and try to identify what you’re really feeling. Me? I’m stressed out from a job I don’t love, and uncertainty about the future. I’m tired. I’m frustrated about living in a city that is, even on the best of days, hard to live in. That’s what’s really going on, and now that I’ve articulated those things, I can address them. And isn’t that better than calling it a fat day, throwing up my hands in despair, and buying into the idea that everything going on is hopeless and beyond my control? I think so.