Using obesity to my advantage

I’ve gotten fatter since we last talked. But I would hope that the addition around my waistline, the extra padding around my thighs, the something extra you see in my face when I smile is something like joy. I want to be obese with it. Because that would mean I’m full. Full of life. Full of love. I hope it would mean I’m full of too many ice cream runs with friends, too many late night burritos and the occasional chocolate kiss.

I want to be obese in a healthy kind of way. Because anorexia is an absence, a need, a lack of, a belonging miscommunicated. A false life. The “absence of” makes it stronger. It being Depression. Suicide. Eating disorders. Without recognition, I give it power. So here’s to you. To it: friends die every 10.9 minutes from suicide[1], 1 in 10’s depression will go unnoticed[2] and eating disorders have risen 10 to 20 percent[3]. They all just want to be full. I am depressed like the other percent, but as I dwell on the last cookie taken in the cafeteria or the misplaced assignment, the mounting stress test I’m failing or the one moment too long I’m alone, I’ll remember what its like to be full. To not want. We can thirst and hunger together and maybe find what we are looking for.

I want more. Thomas Foster[4] said that “whenever people eat or drink together, it’s communion,” a consuming desire. So dine with me a while on the meaning of life and even if we don’t figure it out, we’ll thank the lucky stars we tried and fall among them as we land back on earth, obese and content from our travels. What if it was okay to be full? What if we believed in deserving the fullness of life? I want to be obese in self denial not self rejection. I want to be obese because people say that it’s one of the worst things to be. Full. I want to surprise everyone because I lift more than they weigh on my back, and on my shoulders the world rests. But I’m obese in understanding and a need for more. Excess or gluttony wouldn’t touch me because I’m surrounded and guarded by the love of few. I can be obese with you. Would you accept that? Full well?

The bread, the wine, the Swiss hot chocolate and the extra butter, theatre style microwave popcorn, the spaghetti and meatballs, the light and the dark, the sin and the redemption. Don’t these dualities make the most auspicious pair? So as I clean the coffee ring coring its way into my kitchen table and reclaim the extra space keeping me warm this winter, separating my muscle from my organs, and surrounding my heart, give me space and give me love, honesty and understanding enough to know that I am full.

That space will create room for trust and loyalty, for me to stretch myself instead of tightening up from being too fit, too perfectly sculpted. I’ll shower you with my imperfections in a single glance but from the looks of it, you’ll know I lived. So it’ll be okay that I can’t reach my toes because I’ll be too busy reaching out, and reaching almost entirely around you for that hug. Our fingers might just touch. That’d be enough. I’d have just enough space to bring you with me and just enough room to let you in and give you a place to stay. We’d eat to our hearts’ content and then give the rest away in a form of service. The roots of our giving embedded in the fullness of our own hearts and minds living in the fullness of a higher calling.

I’ve gotten fatter since we last talked. Can you tell? Can you see it in my face?

Join me at the table.



[1] American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[3] February 2013 study by the National Eating Disorders Association

[4] Thomas C. Foster, How To Read Literature Like a Professor

Callahan is a senior journalism major.