Before I learned my body was fat, all I knew was I was a little bigger than other kids my age. I recognized this in small moments, but it didn’t feel too significant.
There was the time my kindergarten best friend and I were in the backseat of her mom’s car, and I glanced over to see her sitting with her thighs easily pressed together. The size of one of my legs took up the same width as both of hers. Where her legs were thin branches that could rest beside one another, mine were sprawling tree trunks I could only bring together with effort.
Or the time a thick layer of fresh snow had fallen in the backyard of our Connecticut home and my cousin and I decided it was the perfect time to go out and play. Armed with plastic sleds, we ran and jumped onto them, ready to glide down the hill. But he was the only one soaring on top of the ice. My body and the sled sunk into the snow with a loud crunch.
Or the time I visited a friend and she wanted to play outside in the melting snow. I hadn’t worn snow pants, so she grabbed an extra pair from her older sister. They barely fit up my thighs, let alone over my belly. Rather than admit this out loud, I pretended I suddenly felt sick and had to go home.
I just knew I was different. Big. Bigger. But it took some time before I knew that I was fat.