Fat Boy Syndrome

One of my best friends in the whole wide world is a woman named Alicia. She and I have been friends for over 15 years, and we have been through it all together; our marriages, our divorces, and our dating relationships. We have counseled each other, laughed until we cried, and cried together until we thought we would never be able to laugh again.

Because of my separation and subsequent divorce, I was essentially homeless for about 10 months. I literally lost everything, and most of my material possessions that meant anything to me, were in my car. My car became my sanctuary, my place of rest and safety. When I wasn’t living in my car, I couch hopped and stayed with family and friends until I got it together.

Even though I had many hard days, there was one day in particular when I was soemotionally drained that I didn’t just need a basic hug; I needed someone to hug my soul because of all of the pain I was in. I was trying to be strong and pretend that I had my stuff together, but inside I was crumbling.  I was freakin’ exhausted.

On that day, Alicia called me and said, “Hey Babe. Come by the house; I want to cook for you.” I went, and she had cooked my favorite; fried fish. It tasted so good, especially after I put a little hot sauce and mustard on that joint. Then to top it all off, she had cooked a side of grits and there was white Wonder bread, too.

“What ya’ll know about that?”

However, the conversation I had with Alicia completely shifted me because we were examining a lot of my issues with women at the time. She said, “Bim, you have Fat Boy Syndrome.” I said, “Excuse me?”

She said , “Yeah, years ago you were a little ‘chubby guy,’ and you mentally still see yourself that way. So now here you in the midst of your life, and you are desirable to most people you meet, except yourself. You need to pray and get healed from this syndrome because it’s causing you to make decisions that aren’t healthy relationally.”

The convo is still relevant to me today. I am on a diet currently, because I want to have my beach body ready for my family vacation in a few weeks…

Hearing her say those words made me think about how my Fat Boy Syndrome began.

From age newborn to 2 years old, I was cute as a button I am told. My parents were admonished by the doctor to put me on a diet, but apparently I was a darling little “chocolate sumo wrestler of a baby.” My mother would even tie my hair up in a little bun on the top to make the realization a little clearer and easier for those who met me. Ha! From age 2-8, I was a normal sized kid. Then, all of a sudden around age 9, I started hearing people tell me I was a little thick. By age 12, Mom had to shop for me in the “Husky” section.

By age 13, my mother was literally buying the same pants for me as she did for my dad, with the exception of cutting the bottom of the pants off, and putting a nice little hem on them. Then all of a sudden, at 16, I had a growth spurt, and all the folks started saying’ “lil Bim” is cute. I no longer had rolls; I had a little 6-8 pack and some pecks, and I was back shopping in the regular young men’s section. I was like “what’s happening here?” My voice dropped, and I learned about colognes and it was all over; or it had just began for me.

Once I became an adult, I essentially kept my weight together, but I was never a skinny guy. I was always a thicker guy, and inside that would always deeply fuck with me because certain things would never fit me right.

Every time a pair of pants didn’t fit, or I would look in the mirror and something was protruding from my body, I felt ugly inside. So, I hid behind my talent and other qualities to cover up the huge dissatisfaction I had with myself; all the while, the inner fat boy was crying out to my inside and telling me that I didn’t look good”

Alicia was bothered by the fact that I appreciated attention from anyone, despite the person’s character. Because I didn’t believe I didn’t deserve attention from “attractive” people, I would try hard to gain their approval because I was so insecure that I didn’t believe anyone could want to be with me for the person I was inside.

That conversation with Alicia, along with my relationships with God, helped me stop that toxic pattern. I began to see myself from the inside out by focusing on my character more than my physical appearance. I had to understand that before others could see the beauty in me, I had to first see it in myself.

I started celebrating my body type, and the more I celebrated my “inner fat boy,” the more I learned how to combat the outer fat boy.” However, unlike my other entries in my blog, when I have things figured out, I’m still a major work in progress regarding this issue. To this day, there isn’t a mirror I don’t walk by where I don’t tuck in my shirt or fix my clothes to appear less fat.

But these adjustments don’t tear away at my soul anymore.