Whether it was my high school bullies shouting it at me, snide comments from strangers in public or people who I thought were once my friends, fat became a word that I hated. I would even call myself it when I truly hated my body. I'd cry about the fact that I was fat, hating every roll, stretch mark and extra number on my dress size.
For me it was a negative word that meant one thing: I wasn't good enough.
My body is fat. I have fat legs, a fat stomach and a fat ass. I have stretch marks caused by weight gain during periods when I was deeply unhappy and attempted to eat my feelings. My body is a result of a slow metabolism and a habit of seeking comfort in food.
But my body does not define the person I am.
Rather than looking in the mirror and insulting myself with the word fat, I started to look at myself and use it to describe certain parts of my body. Yes, I may have a fat stomach, but I also have a natural waist. I might have fat arms, but my body is in proportion. I may have stretch marks, but I have also worked hard to move past my depression, to live with it every day.
Every pound I carry and every scar on my skin is a mark of what I have been through and what I have survived.
I have also realised that fat is beautiful.
The number of stunning plus size models and bloggers who have exploded onto the fashion scene in recent years has proven this. Every single one of them is gorgeous, fierce and in charge of their own body type. They are fat and they own it.
These women and men have made me happier in myself as I am able to see past the negative attitudes toward fatness that have been pressed upon me over the years. I have looked at myself and have been able to admit that I am beautiful in my own way.
This is a huge step to make for the girl who used to cry when people complimented her because she couldn't believe the nice things people were saying.
As well as describing my body as fat to myself, I have been using the word in public. I have found that it has shocked people to hear me talking about myself in this way, which proves that 'fat' is still very much thought of as an insult rather than a descriptive term.
Using the word also means it has less power when people seek to insult me.
You want to try and bring me down by calling me fat, so what? Are you going to use the colour of my eyes or the length of my hair as an insult now too? It's exactly the same thing; a description of my physicality.
Using the word to describe myself honestly and to learn to question why it matters has meant it has lost its power when people use it against me. I can now honestly laugh at the attempt to insult me with the word because I know that I may be fat, but I don't have to tear others down to try and feel better about myself.
I'm not completely comfortable with the word 'fat' yet, but I'm getting there. I have someone in my life who loves my body, I have found a style that I adore and that shows off my figure rather than hiding it and I know that I am beautiful in a way that is unique to me.
I am fat, but I'm also many other things.