The Weight I Carry – What it’s like to be too big in America

The Weight I Carry – What it’s like to be too big in America

By any reasonable standard, I have won life’s lottery. I grew up with two loving parents in a peaceful house. I’ve spent my whole career doing work that thrills me—writing for newspapers and magazines. I married the best woman I’ve ever known, Alix Felsing, and I love her more now than when my heart first tumbled for her. We’re blessed with strong families and a deep bench of friends. Our lives are full of music and laughter. I wouldn’t swap with anyone.

Except on those mornings when I wake up and take a long, naked look in the mirror.

My body is a car wreck. Skin tags—long, mole-like growths caused by chafing—dangle under my arms and down in my crotch. I have breasts where my chest ought to be. My belly is strafed with more stretch marks than a mother of five. My stomach hangs below my waist, giving me what the Urban Dictionary calls a “front butt”—as if some twisted Dr. Frankenstein grafted an extra rear end on the wrong side. Varicose veins bulge from my thighs. My calves and shins are rust-colored and shiny from a condition called chronic venous insufficiency. Here’s what it means: The veins in my legs aren’t strong enough to push all the blood back up toward my heart, so it pools in my capillaries and forces little dots of iron up under my skin. The veins are failing because of the pressure caused by 460 pounds pushing downward with every step I take. My body is crumbling under its own gravity.

By Tommy Tomlinson, The Atlantic

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