Throwback THURSDAY: A Fat American Label Story

A throwback of Lady Mprez 9 years ago (2011)

This is a throwback of me 9 years ago. I’ve always been known as someone who is rather confident, yet at one point, I did have my insecurities.


I’ve been a big girl my whole life. Even though I didn’t really get into sports, I was quite athletic when I cared to be. I had a killer arm, which made sports like dodge-ball, softball, and tetherball fun. Boxing, I have fiery fist as my brothers would say. My younger brother and I use to host a kickball game every weekend where the block would come down and play. I didn’t care for cheerleading, even though I was one (which was short lived), but I could kill cartwheels, somersaults, and splits. Yes, this big girl is flexible. I never really had an issue with my weight. I would hear the term fat thrown around here and there in elementary school, but it never really bothered me until my middle school years. A mix of puberty and developing earlier than the other girls, made me the target of any joke you could think of. “Hey, there goes big fat titty girl.” I even remember hearing my brother call me this at one point, but I realized later he got it from the other kids at school. I was in elementary school, 4th grade, already a B cup heading to a C, and I overheard a boy call me “big fat titty girl” as I ran to the tetherball court. I was like whatever 🤷🏾‍♀️.
In middle school though, it hit differently. I was born in Southwest Florida and came up in a Caribbean household. Jamaican to be exact. My mum, grandma, aunty, cousins and whoever else came to the house, use to call me fat all the time. Like “Ay fat gyal.” Or say things like “Yuh suh fat. ‘Ow yuh fat up suh (You’re so fat, how’d you get like that).” This never bothered me. My parents come from the Caribbean and in the Caribbean they call you whatever you are. If you’re fat, you’ll hear terms for girls like phat-phat, phatty, or fluffy. Guys, you’ll hear bigs or biggaz. So when my people said it, I never took offense to it. It wasn’t until middle school when I started to realize the word “fat” was a bad thing.
I heard it nearly everyday at school, mainly from the white kids and from the Black Americanized kids (that’s how we labeled black people with a certain mentality or culture). After awhile, it started to take a toll on me. This was around the same time I was going through my heavy depression, experiencing high levels of anxiety, and had MANY ideations of suicide, including a near suicide attempt. Going through this all at one time and then going home to a place which felt like a war zone, it wasn’t easy for me to cope with my depression and anxiety. I developed so many insecurities to the point that I didn’t even want to talk to anyone in school because my anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t even put together proper words and sentences without it coming off awkwardly. The kids labeled me as “weird” because my social skills just weren’t there, but they didn’t know what I was dealing with. Things were already hard and I was trying to get through it, but there was this one day that stuck with me for the rest of my life…

I was in 7th grade and everyday seemed like a horrible day. My dad wasn’t able to see me due to how nasty things got between him and my mum after the divorce. This really took a heavy toll on my younger brother and me. Mum wasn’t the easiest to deal with during this time either. So living with her was like an emotional roller-coaster. Everyday in my household felt like a bad day, but this one day, I was actually having a good day. I haven’t had one of those in awhile. I went to school feeling good that day. Then it was lunch time. I usually skipped lunch, just because I became so insecure about my weight and kids picking on me when I did eat, that I didn’t like to eat infront of people. But this day, was a good day, I didnt care, I told myself that I was going to eat. I’m a music lover (as you all should know by now), so I always had my little head phone plugged into my ear during lunch. I went into the lunch line, and I could feel someone looking at me. I looked towards the lunch line and there were 2 boys a few feet infront of me. I noticed they were staring at me mad hard. They started talking about me and how fat I was. I tried not to make eye contact, but they kept talking as if I wasn’t there. Then these words came out of one of their mouths. “Ewww she’s so disgusting. I WOULD NEVER F*** THAT!” The other kid nodded, agreed and said, “That’s what you call unfu**able”. I was so shocked at what I just heard and looked right at them like “how could you say that.” They just kept staring at me as if I was the most disgusting thing on Earth. As if I wasn’t even human. I felt numb an ashamed at this moment. I simply just walked out of the lunch line and didn’t eat lunch again until the end of my 8th grade year. Crazy thing, I still remember the names of the 2 dudes (but I wont be an a**hole right now). At this moment, I finally realized “fat” in America was a bad thing. Fat was disgusting. Fat was ugly. Fat was unfu**able. I was down the whole week about this. I remember during this week, coming home after school and my aunty approaching me. Every time my aunty seen me, she would say “Ay, what’s up Ms. Piggy.” Usually, I didn’t care, but that day, after coming to the realization what fat really meant in American terms, I snapped on her.
“So you’ve been calling me ugly this whole time, just like the kids at school. You’re mean and wicked just like them! I hate it when you call me Ms. Piggy. DON’T CALL ME THAT NO MORE. YOU’RE MEAN! I HATE THIS PLACE JUST LIKE I HATE SCHOOL! “ I stormed off. As I walked away I heard my aunty talking to my brother and saying, “Well if she didn’t like it, she should’ve told me that.” I locked myself in my room like I always did and didn’t come out unless I had to go to the bathroom. I fasted for a few days after an ate 1 meal a day when I got home at times. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t seem to drop the weight.

When I was about 14 preparing for high school, I felt something was really missing in my life. I don’t know why, but one day I just decided to get on my knees by my bedroom window and pray. I can’t tell the last time I really prayed on my own since my dad wasn’t around. I asked God to help me become more confident and to take me out of the depression I was in. I told him I just wanted to be “happy”. The next day, I felt different. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t depressed, I actually felt good. I decided to take a walk to clear my mind. I walked to this lake across the tracks (that’s what we called the other side of town) and sat at the bench for hours. I don’t know if it’s just my Aquarias soul, but I love water and it always relaxes me. Once I found this lake, it brought me peace. I would ride my bike there everyday after school, do my homework (if I was in the mood), and just chill until it was time to go home. Mum would be sleeping by then. After that, I had more good days and less depression. I felt God answered my prayers…

Now let’s skip some years and so many other depressing stories of more reoccurring insecurities due to my weight. Let’s skip all those years of having to deal with depression and anxiety on a whole different level, and let’s skip until adulthood…

I was able to travel back to Jamaica one year when I got older and felt like a queen. The fellows loved my size. I wasn’t ugly to them, I wasn’t unfu**able to them. I was simply BEAUTIFUL. I was beautiful when I was in places like Bahamas, Barbados, and Haiti. Discovering this made me realize that it was more of a cultural thing. Living in America made me feel bad about my size. I know body shaming is everywhere, but I never really felt ashamed of my weight living in a Caribbean household. I never really felt ashamed of my weight until I recognized what the American association was for the term fat.
After traveling to different places and experiencing different cultures, I found my confidence again and realized there was nothing wrong with me. I’m beautiful! There are girls on these islands my size and bigger doing flips and splits as well. They’re not labeled as ugly or disgusting, they’re actually seen as “healthy” on the island. Oh and lets not even begin on how my African breddrens treat me. They love this fluff 😅…

I realized, I live in a country that expects everybody to fit a certain standard to be considered beautiful. You have to look like a model and have a body that’s damn near non-existent. It’s all based on an unrealistic Eurocentric standard of beauty. For America being as diverse as it is, it’s sad that the culture’s ideology of beauty is still to be white or of fair complexion, and thin like a Slim Jim. Well what if you aren’t white and skinny? I’m black with some a**, a whole lot of chest, and I’m nowhere near a size 6, but even after all these years of expansion in America in regards to diversity, which has made America into the beautiful melting pot of culture it is, it’s still a rarity to see a girl like me on a cover of a magazine and being labeled as beautiful because I got some weight on me. Labels. All I have been my whole life is a LABEL. I’m labeled as automatically going to have health issues when I’m older. News flash, everyone is prone for health problems because it comes with this thing called “aging”. Also, I’ve had relatives with weight on them living into their hundreds. So what can you say about that?

America has a rather toxic and discriminative culture if you ask me. If you don’t fit a certain standard of beauty, you’re not beautiful. LABELS. This place loves to LABEL everything and everyone. Luckily, I came to this epiphany that I’m fine the way I am and if someone can’t see past my weight, then they’re not meant for me to waste my energy on. That’s when my world began to change. When I stopped feeding into these LABELS.

I want this little story to be a message and a reminder that God made you beautiful as you are! Whether you’re a size 6 or a size 16, you’re beautiful. Just because someone doesn’t fit a messed up cultural standard, doesn’t mean they should be treated worst than a dog (Yes, dog’s get treated better than some humans do). We are all human! We all have feelings, we were all made different, yet beautiful in our own unique ways. I read this quote some years ago “You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.” God has made us all beautiful within his unique image and we should accept the flaws that make us stand out, because those flaws are a part of our beauty. Your inner beauty reflects a lot more than your outer beauty believe it or not. So learn to love yourself from within first, because that’s where it really counts. Remember, anyone that tells you that you’re not beautiful, most likely has no love for themselves, because anyone who has love for themselves, will spread love to others. So don’t feed into this toxic culture with their labels. Be proud of who you are and love yourself! You are beautiful because of your flaws and you shouldn’t want to change that because that’s what makes your beauty stand out from the rest of the world.