I went to three different fat camps over five consecutive summers of my life, with that final summer spent as a counselor. In promoting Moose, I’m asked almost daily to provide fat photos, show some proof. It’s not that anyone doesn’t believe me. They just want to do the whole picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words thing, then add their own words, or in the case of Q&A’s add my words. The problem is, with a nickname like Moose, I wouldn’t (if you can believe it) sit still long enough for anyone to take my photo, unless it was deemed mandatory. As in, "You will not eat unless you pose for this." So I don’t have many. And I certainly don’t have any in my home, so a few days ago, I found myself emailing my father, "Send me fat pictures of myself! NOW!"
I should have clarified. I only needed fat pictures of myself then, not now. Because post-pregnancy with contact dermatitis that made my eye pucker like a piece of rotten fruit wasn’t exactly what I needed (see the worst photo of me ever taken above, and a more recent photo below). It’s not as if Moose is a memoir about losing half my body weight, so how fat I actually was isn’t the point. Not to mention that aesthetically speaking, "fat" is such a relative term and seems to be different to everyone, something I explore in the book. Mostly, it’s about what it was like at thirteen-years-old to be clinically obese and shipped off to fat camp. And realizing as a pregnant adult, forced to gain fifty pounds, the feelings and struggles of my past were far from long gone. The photos might not have been in my house, but the memories were being relived as I finished Moose.