• Carmela Vecchione

The Fat Consciousness | Exposed

Welcome back to The Fat Consciousness Series! Previously on this show, we learned how interesting my childhood was, and how it helped me grow into an insecure human being. Assuming we’re on the same page, by now you've got how doubtful I grew up to be, kinda feeling good about my looks and personality, but never accepting I could be happy as a fat girl. 

When you grow up being fat and not confident enough, odds are you might slide into the “supporting role” character. There are always going to be the skinny friends who get more attention, are sassier and cooler. 

I was the funny, goofy, always there for you, keeping the tone down, never saying “no” type of friend. I’ve always been a pleaser, and I wonder if I would have been different had I been skinny instead of fat. I sucked at flirting. I was always anxious about social situations where there would be cute boys. Always thinking about how I can act in an attractive way while being “proper” for my agenda aka being fat. I was usually left with the awkward kid from the male group (if lucky.

Wait, go back a second… did I say proper

Yes. I thought I needed to always keep it cool because duh - I was fat. As if it would balance out. (As if I needed to balance anything out.)

Now imagine my mind when I met fat boys or girls full of confidence, overflowing power. I would freeze and my mind immediately got the “blue error screen!” WHAT IS GOING ON? How did you learn that? I don’t know how to be like that. It was like another duality - this one I can better explain using something I’ve heard - you either bleed in the shark tank or you are the shark. I sure as hell wasn’t a shark in the love scene. 

I kept on telling myself I was happy despite my body and lack of romantic engagements. That it would get better when I lost weight. That lasted pretty much up until my college years arrived. That was when I had my sexual wake up call. I was living it up - party, drinks, boys. I was finally faced with a side of me I didn’t know. While I was learning how to take advantage of my own features (like having a nice pair of boobs), I had no idea of how to manage my self-esteem or process my sexual being.  

This was a very doubtful moment and yet a very empowering one. I was discovering new things, yet my insecurity was also growing stronger along with a fear of rejection because I wasn’t skinny. College years just brought to surface a weird thread from my social life -  the “supporting role” I mentioned before. It’s like I didn’t pick, I was picked - and by people I wouldn’t want to kiss, but I’d give in because I really wanted to be kissed. It was a very passive way of living. I finally had a moment of ownership when… I lost weight in 2009. I lost a lot of weight, like 35kgs (over 70 lbs). I was finally seeing myself as an almost skinny person. I got the body I wanted, the boy I wanted, a crazy amount of attention. I was finally the main character shark-ing around!

While the relationship was over within a year, the “skinny high” sure wasn’t! And I indulged in it until I started gaining weight again. Suddenly, the fat consciousness thoughts took over my mind, holding back my newly found expression. But then I lost weight and “skinny high” was back up. As you might imagine, one’s self-esteem fluctuates all the time. So even when I was at my lowest weight, I would still be vulnerable into thinking I wasn’t pretty enough or that I still looked too fat.

I hit my highest weight in 2018 and this journey legit blew my mind. I was living in New York, where people were less judgmental than in Sao Paulo. This made me feel more confident to wear what I wanted, but on the inside I was a goddamn chicken living in fear of rejection and barely putting myself in “risky situations” (and by that I mean regular dates.) Basically, in a place nobody gave 2 fu*ks about my body, I was the most harsh on myself instead of living the freedom I’ve always wanted!

See, I acknowledge losing weight impacts my self-esteem directly and I struggle accepting this. I wish it wouldn’t fluctuate as much. But I have my own beauty standard (which isn’t skinny, it’s Marylin Monroe like) and I do feel very uncomfortable when too far from it. It just doesn’t feel like myself and I can’t help it.

I am now down 45kgs (we will talk about this in my next article). Dating is hard thanks to COVID-19, but at least now I found myself again. Working on your self-esteem is a daily effort, sometimes you’re just not feeling it and that is okay. I feel pretty and sexy but also very conscious I’m not either skinny or extremely fat & that now I have loose skin too. The fear of rejection is still present, but now I don’t blame myself or my body for it - I’m at my very best and if my partner can’t deal with it, that is his loss and my blessing ‘cause that isn’t the energy I need.

My foundation didn’t teach me how to be tough. I’m learning as I go with help of therapy and some kicks in the head life gives me. A piece of advice? The freedom you get when you own your narrative, when you ditch the “supporting role,” is mind-blowing. And guess what? Your body doesn’t dictate your ownership. Your mind does. You got to stop comparing yourself to others. You can’t hold your happy ending for a future you that might not even be worth it. You can’t live on the sidewalk, in the shadows of who you are expected to be. All the time I spent thinking I needed to act properly, tone down so I wouldn’t get too much attention… This is wasted time and energy I should have invested in who I am and my true expression. 

Remember, don’t be the one bleeding in the shark tank. Be the goddamn shark!

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