by "The Observer"
[This tale was inspired by a recent Weight Room post of a lass named Rochelle, whose college weight gain was noted but not fully explained. In this story her experience is put in the context of a knowledgeable mentor, who also helps her teach Trisha what she needs to know to become a successful member of the size acceptance community. This leads to a fulfilling and hopefully lifelong relationship with an understanding and loving FA.]
Trisha thanked the cab driver as he deposited the last of her belongings --- two suitcases and three boxes --- and gave him a $5 bill. At 18 she had not traveled that much, but knew that it was proper to tip someone who serves you. The college dorm room was bright and airy, with a window overlooking a small glen and pond. Other than a college custodian who had let her and the driver in there did not seem to be anyone in.
On the dressing table there was a partially emptied box of doughnuts with a note --- "Have a few on me if you want. There's milk in the fridge --- back around 6. R."
Next to the closet were a couple of unpacked suitcases; in the closet were a coat and a couple of dresses. It was apparent that her roommate arrived. "Probably someone who can eat anything and not gain an ounce," Trish mused. She caught site of her own size 6 reflection in the mirror, breasts and hips disproportionately large compared to her waist. "Well, they say in college you gain a few, so might as well enjoy the hospitality that's been offered."
She made her way to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. It was barren except for the proffered milk, two cans of whipping cream, and two pumpkin pies. Again there was a note, in the same handwriting: "Save for this evening. R."
"Hmmm," Trisha thought, as she poured a large class of milk.. "It seems my roomie has a sweet tooth!"
Walking around the dorm, which was actually a converted eighty year old home at the edge of the campus, Trisha noted that there were four bedrooms, each with two beds. There was also an ample living room, a large former library which had been converted to a study hall with cubicles and computers, two bathrooms and a kitchen. This last she found odd. mostly because all-you-can- eat meal tickets at the college common were included as part of the college bill being funded by her Stepfather.
Returning to her own room she sat down and enjoyed the view, contentedly munching on her milk and doughnuts. After three of them had disappeared she got down to business and began unpacking her bags. Most of her clothes were a couple of sizes too large for her present figure --- purchased that way, she knew, very deliberately. Once everything was safely put in its place she lay down and looked at the ceiling.
"I wonder," she thought, "how long it will take to do what I have been planning? Now that I have the freedom, will I even want to go through with it?"
Her reverie was broken by the sound of steps in the hall. Swiftly she sat up and swung her legs over the side of her bed as a girl around 5' 8" with cascading locks of black hair came into the room. She was somewhat stocky, perhaps 160, but solidly built. "Hi," she said. "I'm Rochelle and you must be Trisha, right?"
"Right," Trisha replied, "and thank you for the donuts."
"Happy to do it," Rochelle replied. "There is an old legend that you can never be disliked by someone you have fed. Not entirely true, probably, but its a nice idea. I'm treating the dorm to Pumpkin pie tonight."
"So I noticed. Do you mean we're not the only ones here already?"
"There are supposed to be eight, but I've only met three others so far. The last two years have had the same pattern --- a few are here early, others trickle in through the day, and a couple show up at the last minute. Say, its nearly dinner time --- have you been to the commons yet?"
"No, the taxi dropped me off and I guess I drifted off after unpacking --- is it 6:00 already""
"About a quarter till. Come on, I'll show you around."
With that the two new friends headed for the commons, where they shared a hearty supper together. Trisha was surprised at her own appetite but Rochelle seemed not to notice. In fact, she went back for seconds first. Trisha realized that her plan would be easier to execute than she had imagined. They arrived back around 7:30 to find five others already there --- the three Rochelle had met earlier plus two more. To Trish's surprise one of them, Linda, had brought some apple pies and ice cream which complemented the pumpkin already there.
"I'm sorry," Linda said sheepishly, "I didn't know someone else had the same idea."
"No problem," chirped Rochelle, "It'll just drag out the time we spend getting to know one another a little longer. Besides, it looks like we'll have someone else coming in later."
Which, around 10:00, is exactly what happened when Cheryl showed up after enduring a six hour plane delay. By then everyone had had two pieces of pie and some ice cream, although there was still plenty left over. But since Cheryl had not had any supper Rochelle gave her a ride to the local Burger King while Trisha went up to bed to consider the events of the day.
Rochelle, she had come to find out, was a Junior and was actually the overseer of the dorm. The kitchen was for supplementary cooking and private parties; anything in the refrigerator was fair game for whoever wanted it unless clearly marked with the owner's name. Whenever things became too crowded there would be a 48-hour clean out notice posted. She seemed to be a friendly person who wasn't especially concerned about her weight or anyone else. This suited Trisha just fine.
Trisha knew she was in college primarily to get a liberal arts degree and go on to law school. The schooling was being financed by her stepfather, who had been the only Father she had known since her natural Father had died in an accident when she was only two. Her stepfather had cared for Trisha and her Mother very much, but her Mom's constant obsessing over weight issues had driven him out of the house when she was seven. Eventually they were divorced. He maintained his relationship with Trisha, however, even after he had remarried a voluptuous BBW.
For seventeen years she had had to live under her Mother's thumb, getting good grades, being a good girl, but feeling half starved except for when she was visiting her step-dad. She knew her body was disproportionate and felt it was unnatural --- but had tolerated it rather than listen any more than needful to her mothers comparisons to her Aunts. Both were over 200 lbs and her Mom fretted that Trisha would wind up being the same --- a fate which Trisha really didn't see that much to mind about.
Now she was free, being financed in college by her Step-father, who she knew would be concerned about her academic record regardless of what the scale said. She had heard of the "Freshman 15" and had prepared carefully to make it more in her case --- perhaps even the "Freshman Fifty."
The next morning she was one of the first ones up, although Rochelle had mysteriously disappeared. She dressed quickly, using a belt to cinch three inches of extra fabric on the waistband of her loosely fitting slacks. "I wonder how long it will take me to grow into these?" she wondered. Then she headed for the commons and breakfast.
She happily selected a cheese omelette, two turkey sausage patties, hash browns, and an apple filled Danish. "That should get me started right," she thought --- but then found her stomach, not used to such feasting, wouldn't let her just wolf it down. So she gradually worked through the meal, people watching other diners as she did.
Orientation for classes, which officially began the next day, was at 9:00. Trisha was there on time but, due to various delays, it was nearly 1:00 by the time things wound up. By then she had located two of her two dorm mates and they headed back to the commons. Trish wondered how they would react to her newly liberated appetite.
She initially had mashed potatoes, two piece of chicken, some vegetables and a side plate from the salad bar. Interestingly her new friends seemed prone to follow her example. But when she suggested going for seconds Laura, balked, saying "if I let myself eat as good as this tastes I'll gain weight in a second."
"That's what I hope happens to me," Trish surprised herself by replying. "I'm tired of being Miss Wasp Waist." And with that she went back and got another plate.
"You really mean that?" Laura said when Trisha returned. "You want to be heavier?"
"Absolutely," Trisha declared, deciding to test the waters. "Not gigantic, of course, but inside I see myself as being at least eight sizes larger and its comfortable."
"Actually I sometimes wish I could let myself gain a few pounds as well, but another part of me says its wrong," Laura replied.
"We all have to do what we are comfortable with, I suppose." Trisha replied. "I won't criticize you for restraint if you don't condemn me for my wild abandon."
"I won't condemn --- but maybe envy a little," said Laura.
Within two months Trisha's determination was beginning to show some results. She had gained a pound or two every week and was ten pounds heavier. She had persuaded Rochelle to have a Thursday evening "ladies night out" which always included a late evening snack. At the same time she regularly slipped into the refrigerator stocks of unlabeled goodies which anyone who desired could partake of. Of course she was her own best customer. And if anyone wanted to slip away for a late evening snack she was always willing to oblige.
By the end of the holiday break Trish had added eighteen pounds and let a couple of notches out of her belt. Most of the other girls had gained at least five pounds and Rochelle had figured out who was secretly stocking the refrigerator.
"Do you like cooking?" Rochelle asked Trisha one evening.
"I suppose," Trisha replied. "Why do you ask?"
"Because you seem to enjoy food. I think it would be nice if we had an evening each week where we cooked meals for some of the men and everyone invited a guest. I was thinking of you to co-ordinate it."
"Ummm --- possibly. I guess you have noticed my gaining weight."
"Also that you work at it. Obviously its something you want to do --- I understand the feeling. I'm not that slender myself you know."
"You gained weight intentionally?" Laura questioned.
"Not exactly --- just used to exercise a lot so it balanced out my love of food. But then I hurt my leg, had to have some operations, and picked up forty pounds along the way. But I don't want to starve myself so I've accepted the idea of being a person of size. I think I have been gaining a little more than usual this year under your influence this year though."
"I'm sorry --- I didn't mean to be bad."
"Yes you did, but don't mind it. It was my choice to go along. I'm just thinking that it would be nice to turn our culinary tastes to good advantage. By the way, have you thought through the problems that gaining weight can cause at a certain point?"
"Up to a point --- and when I get past that point I guess I'll have to face it," replied Tricia defensively. "But that will be a long ways away."
"Um hmm --- you don't want to get to know men, have a job, be insured, or travel on airplanes then?"
"What do you mean?"
"These and other issues arise as one gets larger --- that doesn't mean we shouldn't be, mind you, but it helps to know what is ahead before one gets there."
"And you know someone who can do that?"
"Sure do --- and if you will take on the co-ordinator's job I will introduce you."
Trisha realized that she had been so preoccupied with studies and new-found female companions that she hadn't noticed or cared about her lack of a social life. But Rochelle, who still outweighed her by thirty pounds, was gone most Friday and Saturday evenings --- she knew some of the time with men.
"OK --- you're on. A different ethnic cuisine each week, you get the guests. Now when do I meet your guru?"
"Soon --- are you free for lunch on Wednesday?"
"I'll try and set it up."
That Wednesday Rochelle was a good as her word. Trisha met Maureen, a 5' 10", perhaps 260 lb., paragon of energetic femininity. She was well groomed, cheerful, with intense eyes and an expression that bespoke both ability and concern. Her luncheon tray was as well stocked as Trisha's and she sensed she had met a friend.
"Rochelle tells me you are one of the rare ones. Congratulations and welcome."
"What do you mean?"
"A person of size who deliberately seeks to be so isn't that common today --- most simply become heavier in spite of themselves. But a few desire to be so and are honest enough to act on it. From what I am told you are doing that and you are to be congratulated."
"Rochelle tells me that there are risks I should know about --- I know that some people don't want to date or hire larger people, but frankly I wouldn't want to be around such bigots anyway."
"Good for you -- but there is something else. Large people can't hide, and they have a false stereotype which a few manage to wind up fitting --- lazy, unkempt, slow, lacking in ability or self esteem, unable to keep up. It can happen --- and there are things that can be done to avoid such a fate."
"You and Rochelle certainly don't fit that image."
"Nor do you, which is why she wanted me to talk to you. Have you ever wondered where she goes early each morning."
"For a walk to get energy she says."
"Correct --- power walking stirs up the blood and gives you oxygen for the day. It also makes the bloodstream carry out of your system toxins and poisons which can make one sluggish. It also insures development of the muscles to carry our kind of weight properly."
"So the two of you go walking each morning?"
"Actually its a group of us --- presently we have three girls and five men. We go for about two miles each day. It also helps with grades. But that's not what Rochelle is concerned about with you.
"Any person who is a member of any minority group has to work harder and stand out in a positive fashion to be accepted by the majority. It may not seem fair, but that's the way that it is. The good news is that it can be done."
"You are saying that as I get larger I will have to be proactive to avoid others rejecting me? I had already anticipated that."
"Glad to hear it. How do you propose to be proactive?"
"Rochelle is a good example --- genuinely liking others and showing it. Offering to do things for them. Being a resource to look to instead of someone to make a target of. Probably paying attention to my dress and carriage."
"Excellent suggestions --- but what do you do with those who would make rude remarks and put you down?"
"Simply not tolerate it --- I think I know what my value and worth is."
"That may be true now --- but without a support group to fall back on you can lose faith quickly when the flack starts coming in."
"You make it sound like a war zone."
"It is --- and filled with land mines. But they can be defused. That's why Rochelle thought you needed to consider such issues as why some people are heavier and how that should be explained to those that regard weight as some kind of sin."
"Some may be glandular, but the others just eat more than they consume. My difference is that I have no problem with doing just that while some feel guilty about it."
"Not entirely true. Accurate for your situation, perhaps, but not always. There are actually three causes of being heavy, and in many cases more than one applies."
"What do you mean? "
"Research has shown that most heavier people have a weight set-point which is higher than the average --- and the body will, given a normal diet, try to reach that point. Overeating is not the primary cause. This set-point can be raised by a number of things, including dieting and pregnancy, but for some people it is higher than average from childhood. Only the most extreme measures can keep such people in the "normal" wight range.
"There are, however, two other possibilities --- and these need to be recognized. For some their eating habits and/or weight is the symptom of psychological or medical problems."
"Like a person on TV who claimed that the majority of obesity was the result of childhood sex abuse?"
"Correct --- not a valid generalization, but true in some few cases. Such people subconsciously defend themselves against future attacks by being unattractive to potential attackers. Unfortunately they are also unattractive to themselves and their self-esteem is therefore int he pits."
"Well, that's not me. I have just always visualized myself as a heavier person and now that I am free of my Mother's ability to harass me over it I am doing my best to find out what its like. So far its been great!"
"Which is fine by me. I come from a larger family, will be getting married after graduation, and have no intention of losing an ounce. I am not here to prevent you from being a person of size, but simply want to help introduce you to resources you may find useful on your journey."
"Like what? Sources for large clothing and the like?"
"That, but also a support group made up of larger people here in the student body --- about a dozen of us who get together once a month. We also have lists of books that can be helpful, some of them we have placed in the college library."
"So you would like me to join the group?"
"If you care to drop in --- at least you know we are there."
By this time classtime was approaching and Trisha had to excuse herself. But she had been given some things to think about. She joined the walking group the next week and resolved to attend at least one of the discussion group meetings. Meanwhile she began making plans for the Tuesday's dinner.
It was a culinary if not a social success --- only three men came, all friends of those living in the dorm. Trisha had delegated the job of securing the men to Rochelle but it hadn't fully worked. The idea was for those invited to bring others, but that for some reason that hadn't happened. Trisha and the others who had not personally invited anyone recognized that they would have to do their part. The question for her was, who should she ask?
She knew that some men liked heavier women, but was shy about broaching the subject. Her stepfather was the only male of that preference that she knew. So she called him and thanked him again for financing her college education --- then told him what she and some of her dorm buddies were trying to do, mentioning that "some" of the girls were heavier and wondering how to attract the attention of men who liked that type of person.
"Just eat alone in the cafeteria several days in a row and notice who's watching," he suggested. "Then find an excuse to start a conversation. If the right choice has been made a table will wind up bing shared --- and then the invitation can be issued. No college man would turn down commons fare for a genuine homecooked meal, especially in a group."
The next couple of days Trisha made a point of being near the buffet line seated where she could see the maximum number of other tables. By this time she was only using one notch of her belt to compensate for the roominess of her slacks. Her belly had begun to plumpen and her overblouse climbed up towards her waistline. Her face, arms, and arms were, to the discerning eye, rounder as well.
The morning walks, she had found, were invigorating. It also made her look forward to getting to breakfast earlier, although her appetite seemed to be about the same. But she did notice an improved vitality which continued into the day. It was the second day during lunch, while having seconds on chicken and mashed potatoes, that she first noticed a young man discreetly watching her. Then, after she sat down, she felt he was still looking at her. She decided to linger a little longer and have a piece of banana cream pie and see what he would do. He dithered with his food and loafed until she was finished. Sure enough, she thought, he is definitely watching me.
The next day she deliberately arrived about ten minutes late for lunch. Sure enough, her watcher was there. She took a less generous than normal helping from the salad bar, hoping to co-ordinate her timing with his on the main serving line. She took a deep breath as she slowly munched on the macaroni, cottage cheese, lettuce and jello, then finishing it quickly as he got up and began to move towards the entrees.
She rose as well, part of her mind racing about the boldness of what she was about to do. The young man seemed to be aware of her presence as she approached and moved slightly over to accommodate Trish. She thanked him with a smile and he smiled back.
"The food here is pretty good," he volunteered, "what do think is best today?"
"Pizza and fried chicken?" she replied. "Maybe with some mojo potatoes?"
"Good as anything I suppose," he replied, following her suggestion with ease. "My name is Roger, what's yours?"
"Trisha," she replied, selecting the same items she had recommended.
"Are you by yourself today?" he enquired.
"Yes," she said.
"So am I. Would you mind if I joined you for lunch?"
"I was right --- he has been watching me," she thought. "Well, here goes."
"Sure --- I'm right over there at the table next to the column."
Roger turned out to be a freshman as well, who hadn't made up his mind whether to become an attorney or follow his Father's career as an investment banker. For now he was taking business administration courses and keeping his options open. But while sharing this about himself he kept gently trying to get Trisha to open up about herself. Trisha was flattered and felt safe in telling Roger about the Tuesday culinary fests. Roger thought it was a great idea and volunteered to come and bring dessert.
The other girls were successful as well --- there were eight ladies and eight men to enjoy an Italian extravaganza. But Roger and one other man, whose name was Brad, were the only ones who brought something to share. At the end of the evening Roger thanked Trisha and asked if he might return the compliment with a restaurant of his choosing the next Saturday night.
He took her to an unusual Japanese restaurant where the guests, sometimes total strangers, were seated around a unique table with a heated grille in the center. The ingredients for each diner's meal were brought to the table raw, then cooked with great showmanship by a knife-wielding chef. It was a unique experience and Trisha enjoyed it immensely. It was the first of what was to become many dinners they would share together.
Over the next several weeks word began to get around. Men started asking the girls in the dorm out noticeably more often, and frequently trying to wrangle an invitation. Trisha continued her morning walks, with Roger becoming a regular after about two months. She also continued to eat well and filled out accordingly. One day she noticed that she no longer really needed to use her belt; indeed her slacks were becoming noticeably snug for the first time.
After about two months of culinary themes Rochelle, perhaps with Maureen's encouragement, had another suggestion --- why not, as a dorm, engage in service projects once a month in the community. The Tuesday evening dinners thus became a planning forum for service, not merely an exercise in hedonism. It also gave the dorm and those in it a reputation for caring and sharing. Maureen and her group were among those prominent in joining in the effort.
"The best way to break the stereotype people have about fat people is by example," she explained. "If we are energetic, outgoing, and giving it projects a more powerful message than any amount of protests will ever do."
Roger emphatically agreed, to Trisha's satisfaction and admiration. He volunteered the use of his van for whatever needed to be done and thereby became one of the "regulars." At the same time he continued to develop his relationship with Trisha.
One evening after they had been dining and dancing Trisha decided to test Roger. He had been gracious enough to never ask her what she weighed or comment on her eating habits, although he was always courteous enough to offer her dessert. But now things were getting to the point that her wardrobe was definitely getting tight and would have to be upgraded.
"College life," she commented, "certainly has its effects. Not only do you grow in knowledge --- but many seem to grow in size as well. I can barely believe how many pounds I have added in the past nine months."
"You will never hear a negative word from these lips on that issue, my dear," he said. "I have a namesake called John Roger who wrote about such matters in a book called Life 101 and agree with him completely."
"What is that?," she said.
"He says that weight is of itself a condition, of itself neither good or bad, from which we can learn lessons about life. It can be of value or a detriment depending on how we view and use it. Fatness represents stored energy, a treasure which can be both beautiful to behold and a resource to be drawn on for doing good. The Bible uses it as a symbol of prosperity. But some today see it as a thing of evil, and for them it becomes a yoke which keeps them in bondage. From what little I know of you I think you see it as a treasure and are in bondage to no one."
"That's lovely. And I guess you are right. I have been eating very well this year deliberately. Its because I have always wanted to be larger than I was permitted to be when I was living with my Mother. She was one of those people in bondage you are thinking of."
"I think of you as one of the most wonderful and beautiful women on earth," he replied, "and hope I won't lose out on your friendship by saying I have been in love with you for some time. I hope you stay as plump as you want to be forever!"
She looked at him in wonder for a moment, then reached out and placed her plumpening arm on his shoulder and embraced him. He looked at her with great love and tenderness and kissed her. Both of them felt for the first time that electricity and unity which would only grow with time.
By the end of the second semester Trisha had gained forty-two pounds. Rochelle had added over twenty. And most of the other co-eds in the house had gained at least fifteen. Over the next three years, with Roger at her side, Trisha would add another sixty before they graduated and were married. From all reports it has been a truly love-filled relationship.