Spilling Over, a Fat Girl’s Story

But I was a fat girl. And the rules were different for me.

Back then I was only slightly chubby — more curvy than fat. But I didn’t fit in. And we all knew it.

Yes, but…

Is she thin enough?

My daughter did not hear those boys. And perhaps it’s because she was singing too loudly with the dog barking wild accompaniment. She was drafting in her head the next pages to the sequel of our sci-fi/fantasy book about a precocious, world-traveling survivor of a girl. She was searching for fractals in the natural world around her, patterns that speak to some mathematical beauty in the creation all around us. She was dancing along the sidewalk to the beat of her own drum.

And I mothered her that way.

Women, we’ve gotta mother this world, loves.

Unshame ourselves. Unshame each other.

My first instinct was to flip those boys off.

We will not let them destroy us.

When I was a ten-year-old girl, I would wear my mama’s sweaters and the kids at school would laugh at me because they were oversized, and they would say destructively cruel things about my beautiful, talented, nurse of a mama — who worked her way from a CNA to a Doctor of Nursing throughout my lifetime. A Mexican-American woman who was not allowed to go off to college after high school, so she married and had children and did the best she could in a sometimes volatile relationship with an alcoholic man who called her a Brick Shithouse for the weight she’d gained. She put herself through school anyway — and became La Doctora.

How can any human overflowing with such vast light, such beautiful shining joy and creativity and intelligence be expected to fit in?

So all of you whose hearts are fat and spilling over with abundance —

Jenn & her daughter Lina, co-authors of the YA novel PI LUNA AND THE SHADOWBEAST OF THE FORSAKEN, represented by Curtis Brown Literary Agency



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Jennifer Givhan

Jennifer Givhan


Poet, novelist, momma, Chicana feminist, professor, wannabe singer of shower, overly avid Starbucks patron.