A Perk for Being Fat

Mar 15, 2021

I got my COVID vaccine. 

In my family, we’re very aware of rules and how systems work. One member in particular uses this knowledge to work the system, so when I shared my news of getting vaccinated there was an underlying assumption that I had somehow snuck my way in. “How?” they asked. I responded “BMI.” Also, in my household growing up, we did not use the word fat. It was considered a bad word. I always thought that was a bit ridiculous, because not using it made it feel like the word had even more power. I personally like the word fat but have not spent much time reclaiming it. 

However, the chance to get vaccinated has given me the perfect opportunity. I’m still a little unsure about why people are surprised when I tell them I’m vaccinated. I suppose I don’t usually identify as fat, and maybe my friends don’t think of me as fat either. I’m “big-boned” or “curvy.” I wear it well. But, I am a heavy person. Even at my leanest, a size 6, my BMI was still in the obese category. I am currently at my heaviest ever. I’d like to say thanks to COVID, but I was already on my way here before COVID. COVID just pushed  the extra pounds to get me teetering on the edge of “Severely Obese.” 

I hadn’t ever dreamed that I would get to jump to the head of the line and get vaccinated before one of my parents. But then, I heard two friends who are obese tell me they had an appointment because they were fat. When I heard them say that I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m fat. Could I get an appointment?”

I’d had many conversations with friends who had underlying health concerns, or were pregnant and debating about getting vaccinated, arguing that they didn’t feel they should jump ahead of other people who were needing it more. The conclusion I kept drawing was if they call your name you sign up to get vaccinated. You can’t assume you’re taking someone else’s spot. They’re calling YOUR name. It’s past the time to debate whether they should be calling your name. When they call your name, get vaccinated. 

They called my name: Fat people. 

At first I was a little shy about saying I was fat person, but then I started saying it and realized it made people laugh, probably with discomfort, but that it could be delivered with a proper punch. 

“How’d you get an appointment?” 

“I’m fat.”

It is funny. As someone who has dappled in comedy, I’ve never commented on my weight. It seemed a taboo topic and not funny to me. It never has been funny to me. It’s always stressful or dangerous to my health, or worse yet, better ignored altogether. 

I wonder if there are other women in particular out there who would qualify but are scared of taking on the label. I say go for it. It’s freeing and not just getting vaccinated, acknowledging something about yourself for a positive reason. I want something and I can get it because I’M FAT. 

Claim it. There has never been a better time. 

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