Mom was fat

The powerful lesson she taught me

Shefali O'Hara
2 min readDec 24, 2021


Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

When I was growing up, my Mom was fat.

She hadn’t always been a large person. In her youth, she’d won trophies in the discus throw, long jump, badminton, and table tennis. In black and white photos I saw her slim and smiling, with shining dark braids, dressed in beautiful salwar kameez. Mom loves pretty clothes.

I never knew the thin Mom. She gained weight when she got pregnant. She gained more with the second child. She never lost it.

I thought Mom was beautiful. So did Dad. He and Mom loved each other very much.

I didn’t realize Mom was fat and that this was an issue until one day we were in a pizza shop, just Mom and me. I was maybe 10 at the time.

We were both enjoying our thin New York slices while we sat at the counter near the window. A man walked in through the front door. He passed close by us and said, in a low voice, “Die, you fat b*tch.”

I stopped eating. I felt the rage rise in me. I wanted to kill him.


She totally ignored him. Our eyes met. She looked at me with love. The pleasant expression remained on her face.

She didn’t care.

This was the powerful lesson she taught me that day. It took me many more years to really learn it. But as I incorporated it into my own life, it’s given me the courage I’ve needed to ignore the haters and the assholes.

They exist. They live to tear others down. It’s what feeds their miserable, angry souls.

My Mom didn’t care about them.

She ignored them effortlessly. So they had no power over her. Defanged, declawed, their venom could not touch the tranquility of her spirit.

At some point, Mom decided to lose weight, for her own health. She cut back on the sweets she loved, but in a sensible way. She still has treats, but only once in a while, and she watches her portions. It works for her. She’s still fat, but a lot healthier. She’s over 80 and still going strong.

Mom is fat. And beautiful. And strong. And loved.

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Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.