surviving fat discrimination


A bit of this shoved down your throat
Do you like the way it tastes
So thick and creamy and obsolete
Your life
Watching the colors, oh the colors
swallowed by a laughing face
Oh, I hope to God you die
You suck

Nary a road without a smiling face
Go on and spit on me
I like it
There are those people designed for hate
to them go our burdens
to them I bestow
to them we laugh and point and cheer
as they walk face down in a crowded room
toward the razor-blades

Then they bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed
into their open mouths
greedily they lap it up
Beg mistress for another cup
or two
“To me and you”
To my horror I watch as I take one
and laugh and point and cheer at her
till I realize that it is me

Horrified I turn and choke into a dying sun
I throw up onto the ground
and then the red surrounds me
absorbs me inside
I think that I die then
But death doesn’t want me either
So I turn and walk away, face down
Desolate and Bleak

I wrote this poem when I was in sixth grade. SIXTH GRADE. It was around that time that I was in Mrs. Gagliardi’s class. The class was filled with a bunch of stuck-up little snots who enjoyed social interactions so as long as status was inferred within the conversation. For example, here is a conversation between myself and a disgusting, porky little boy we shall call Crillip Prain.

  • Crillip: Hey Megan! You’re fat!
  • Me: (*silence*)
  • Crillip: Haven’t you ever heard of Jenny Craig?
  • Me: Shut up.
  • Crillip: Yeah right, fat girl. Want to go out with my friend?
  • Me: (*silence*)
  • Crillip: Haha! You’re stooopid!

Life, for me, was hell, almost literally. You see, back then I was far more religious than I am today. Whenever I thought about heaven and hell, I would picture hell as being a place where you were constantly humiliated every single day. Usually this happened inside the classroom, being made fun of by your peers in a class where the teacher didn’t do shit to stop them, but would just let them get by after a firm talking-to. Maybe, some days, she would make them stay in for 5 minutes during recess. Usually, though, she’d just tell them to quit and that would be the end of it. But then, either ten minutes or a day later, they would start again….and again….and again….

Immediately after someone makes fun of you, you are forced to make some rapid decisions as to how to face this situation. You can:

  1. Get into a fast-paced argument and stun them with your witty repertoire.
  2. Say something ineffectual like, “Shut up” or “Leave me alone!”.
  3. Tell someone and have them, hopefully, do something about it.
  4. Fight them.
  5. Do nothing and “just ignore them”.

I was given advice #5 practically all the time. And it was about as effective as chopping off your hand to make the papercut on your finger stop hurting. During that year, 1996, I didn’t say anything. I would sit at my desk and never, ever speak unless spoken to, always holding a book of some sort because it was easier to escape into a fantasy world rather than face the one I was living in at that moment. I lost some good social skills that way, as well as some potential friends I wish I could’ve made. I really didn’t know how to talk to anyone. It was like, the moment someone opened their mouth, my mind when blank and I could only nod and say polite, hollow things like, “that’s nice” or “um”.

Since I didn’t speak, words would sometimes buzz around in my skull like flies on acid and I would hear the insults repeated over and over and over again, each time inserting a feeling of self-hatred.

If you’ve ever hated yourself, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well…it’s like when you look back and you wonder why you were even born in the first place. And you begin to notice things, like how everyone else in the class is friends with one another except me, that everyone has to make room for me, that I’m in the way, I’m the waste of time, I’m the loser, the sacrificial goat, the ugly one, the stupid one, the fat one.

If you’ve read the book Brave New World, you know that in it the government used audio repetitions to mold the beliefs of the citizens. The same thing happened with me. The same words, used over and over again, slammed into me like a physical bullet, ripped me into a sniveling, pathetic girl who was all fat and blubber while the teachers and the authority figures just sat back and shook their heads in a vain pretense at sadness, saying to themselves, “children are cruel” as if that overused phrase made what I was going through any better.

I think sixth grade was the first time I contemplated suicide. That’s all it really was, though; contemplation. I never cut myself or swallowed pills or looked for Daddy’s handgun or anything like that. It was just after an endless string of people would harass me, all day, that I would think about dying and how sad those people would be when they found out that I’d killed myself because of them, because of what they had been doing to me.

Always, at the end of each of these quiet ponderings, I would decide that I wanted to live because I wanted to say that I was alive during the year 2000. Stupid, huh? The thing was, that was enough for me to decide that I wanted to live. To see the year 2000. Ironically enough, the New Year’s Eve party I threw wasn’t even all that great. But at least I was alive to see it.

But Franklin Regional, back then, was the closest thing I could think of as hell. I thought about death a lot and I wrote poems like Bleak and I was silent and self-loathing because of Franklin and its inane and utterly misinformed views on how harassment should be dealt with.

I’ve suffered a lot over the years, but sixth grade as a whole was the closest I’ve ever come to complete self-destruction.