Or: 6 Reasons to be Glad You Grew Up Overweight

While I’d love to erase the stretchmarks left over from growing up overweight, I wouldn’t want to erase anything else. In my opinion, the perks of growing up a fat girl outweigh the detractions. Many of the challenges you’ll face in our culture as a result of being a heavy kid turn into benefits in the long run. These are the top six advantages of growing up as a fat chick.

1. You cultivate a wonderful, self-depreciating sense of humor. I’ve rarely met a large woman who can’t laugh at herself and set a whole room at ease with her humor. I think it’s because learning to laugh at yourself is one of the greatest ways to cope with being persecuted and belittled. It’s a way to regain your narrative power and, of course, shame your bullies by being way funnier about your foibles than they are.

2. You develop thick skin (and I don’t just mean literally). Another silver lining to growing up getting disapproving looks and being called fat is that you develop more grit. Sure, it still hurts—you are human after all—BUT your body’s natural self-defense mechanisms help you to become more immune to bullying and trash talk. (If you are anything at all like me, you also learn how to put bullies in their place.)

3. You take more pride in who you are than how you look. The ironic benefits of being excluded from our culture’s definition of beauty is that you can feel freer to rebel against the notion that your beauty defines your value. Instead of using your looks to win friends and influence people, you rely on your personality.

4. You learn to appreciate your beautiful features. One of the pluses to maybe not loving your full naked body so much is that you spend more time in front of the mirror clothed. It gives you more of an opportunity to focus on the small things to love about yourself like your flowing locks, your expressive eyes, your great legs that almost compensate for your small breasts…alright that’s my list but you get my point.

5. You’re less competitive with other women. Knowing that the odds are stacked against you in a competition of beauty makes you more inclined not to compete. Making that decision can completely alter your relationship with other women for the better. Instead of seeing them as your rivals or the measure of your worth, you’re more inclined to view them as comrades and sisters. This seriously helps to eliminate cattiness from your relationships (for the most part).

6. Your laissez faire attitude will be your ticket to coolitude. You know that moment in Eat, Pray, Love when Elizabeth Gilbert decides to throw vanity to the wind and inhale the pleasures of Italy by eating her way through the country with abandon? You have been embracing that unfettered hunger for life since childhood. It’s your ticket to cool. Once you realize how powerful it is that you have less vanity and a greater sense of abandon, you’ll be the life of every party.

Feature image by Jaie Miller.

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