I recently came across a web-post of the best body shaming comebacks ever.

First off, well done and thank you to all of you, I say, for being tough enough and brave enough and honest enough to stand up for yourselves against people who, quite frankly, aren’t worth the time.

More than that, thank you for standing up for all of us who aren’t or who weren’t able to stand up for ourselves.

When I was a kid, I was fat. I was fairly normal looking until I was around eight years old, then I got fat. I know now what triggered that, but, at the time, I was eight. Eight year olds don’t really go into much deep review of their emotional states. And eight year olds in rural Alabama in the ‘70s were certainly not encouraged to seek professional help. (Hell, my dad was a doctor and I still don’t know if there even was a psychologist in the town I grew up in. . . .)

Anyway, I was fat.

And do you know what I remember?

I remember a woman walking up to our car while I was waiting with my dad for my mom and saying to me “You sure are fat, ain’t you?”. And I remember my dad laughing and repeating that story over and over and over again.

I remember being told that I might be okay in my dance classes if I weren’t so fat.

I remember finding out that a boy I had a crush on said I might be pretty if I weren’t so fat.

Do you know what I don’t remember?

I don’t remember anyone considering why I was fat. I don’t remember anyone talking to me about eating and what it was for and why we do it and how we can do it well. I don’t remember anyone talking to me about how exercise could be fun if I found something I enjoyed doing.

Now, it’s 35 years later. I’ve done some serious damage to my body trying to not be fat. And, the fact is, I’m not fat. I’m fit. I’m active. I walk. I run. I have a wall full of half-marathon medals. But every single morning when I look in the mirror, it’s the same:

“You sure are fat, ain’t you?”