There are rules to being fat.

Every day, get up, eat breakfast (or skip breakfast), go to work, eat lunch (healthy lunch? No lunch?) come home, hopefully work out (is it long enough?), eat dinner (oh be careful with dinner) and go to bed. You must never eat dessert or wear shorts or skirts; you must choose your shirts with care. Do not show too much skin. Police your appearance — look masculine if you are a man, look feminine if you are a woman, look nice but not too nice whatever you are, and always, always, always be dieting. Do not ever admit it if you are not dieting. You want to fit in.

Do not talk about your diet until it makes you thin.

You are allowed to be good at some things. You can be a spectacular administrative assistant, an excellent cook. You can clean houses as long as you keep your clothes clean or make sure no one ever, ever sees you. You would probably make a great nurse. You probably come from a family of great nurses.

You are allowed to teach children up through middle school. If you teach high school, it is best to stick with subjects like foreign languages or possibly shop class. Better would be to work in the school office. The best choice in a high school is to work as a lunch room cashier so you are seen near food but never actually touching food. It is a benefit to the students to see you while they eat — it will stimulate their appetites but also make them eat less.

Do not by any means teach music or art.

Your best bet with children is to be an uncle or aunt. You can be a grandmother or grandfather if you must, but you should not parent. If you’ve made the mistake of having children, please do not be seen with them. Please drop them off a block from the school, or do not get out of the car if you are driving. If you must walk them to school (because of steps) please dress as nicely as possible. Feed them only healthy things; do not ever give them sweets, and especially do not eat sweets yourself. You do not deserve sweets, and it shames your children when people can see you eat.

Try to avoid letting your children become fat. If you are a generational problem family, where many people of many ages are fat, it is probably better not to be seen together in public. It is embarrassing to the folk of our city to see you all with your moon faces and unfashionable clothing. Please try to confine your family meals at restaurants to fast food establishments and the lower class of buffets. You know your fat family is not fit for fine dining.

You do not get points for trying, but you lose points if you do not.

You must go to the gym, but it is better if you are not seen at the gym. Wear compression clothing in dark colors if there is any that fits. Always stand and wait while others use equipment you need; if you were there first, hurry through your workout and apologize when you are done. If you can afford it, hire a trainer, but do not expect your trainer to help — remember, if you cared about your health, you would be thin. It is normal and right that your trainer will leave your exercise session to help other, thinner, better people. You are lucky the trainer you are paying talks to you at all.

Do not talk about your exercise routine until it makes you thin.

Many things should wait until you are thin. If you are artistic, please do not paint or sculpt until you are thin. You may quilt, needlepoint, sew, and possibly branch out into beading or making jewelry. Carving things with a chainsaw is acceptable if you are not too fat to do that safely. Woodworking or working on cars is better, especially if you are a man.

If you write, please write about topics that are not your weight. Children, gardening, pets, and crafting are good topics. Hiking or biking are acceptable, but running and swimming will just conjure the idea of your excessive body in tight clothing. Weight loss inspiration can occasionally be good if you never admit that you are contemplating giving up and you make steady progress. Avoid politics, and especially avoid the politics of weight.

In music, if you play an instrument, confine that to community orchestras until you are thin. If you sing, go to church. If you sing very well, join the choir. Do not join a rock band until you are thin. It may be good exercise, but never let anyone see you dance.

Someday when you are thin you can think about dating again.

Do not lose hope in your thin future. You may read the science that has again and again proven that it is nearly impossible to become thin, that weight loss is a full time job that fails for most people and does not pay, but you must use that knowledge to become more determined. Try always to be thinner: cut calories further; exercise more; join new programs; contemplate surgery. Do not give up. Do not try to live your life now instead of in some nebulous future where you have become thin, fit, acceptable.

You may flirt with body acceptance as long as you keep dieting.

At the doctor, expect abuse. You deserve it, and doctors and nurses have been specially trained to provide it. Most of the things that are wrong with you could be fixed by being smaller, especially exercise injuries, heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, hair loss, joint problems, cancer, and dementia. If you don’t have any of those, why are you at the doctor? Sore throats, viruses, cuts, and broken bones could probably be improved by weight loss as well. If your blood pressure is good, it will be taken again to make sure there was no mistake. The prescription will be weight loss, no matter the diagnosis.

When you die, it will be your fault.

You should always try to be funny to make up for being fat. Being capable is also expected. Best is if you do both. If you can manage to be both funny and capable, it will make you look almost as good as a normal, acceptable, thin person in the eyes of people who know you. They may even tell you “You’re not fat!” or “You’re not that fat!” when you objectively are. Strangers will continue to judge you, and you will feel their eyes even when you are alone.

As you get older you may hope to become invisible.

You must always have a goal: a goal weight, a goal date, a goal size. You may buy beautiful clothing in your goal size, although you should limit this to one or two outfits. You can learn fashion, techniques to talk to potential dates, and grooming secrets, but you must not apply them to your fat self. Only your future thin self can make use of your talents. Limit your fat fashion choices to the bland and the work-appropriate.

Have a pair of pants in the next size down to check your progress.

Get rid of your clothes right away when you lose a size. You may have regained weight in the past, but you must pretend that this time is different, that you can leave the gravity of planet fat for good. Aim for the stars. Ignore experience and let hope triumph.

If you do gain weight, buy the ugliest clothing possible for your new larger body. If possible, buy something slightly too small and squeeze into it. This will help you motivate yourself to become smaller, more acceptable, thinner. The shame of unfashionable ill-fitting clothing will propel you toward your new life.

You will only fit in if you believe in a new life.

You will only fit in if you believe in your better future. You will only fit in if you can drop 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 pounds. You will only fit in if you work and strive and wait and starve until you fit into your interim pants, and then fit into your goal pants.

You will only fit in if you hide yourself until then and hate yourself until then and hurt yourself until then. You will only fit in if you eat 12 almonds for lunch and do sit-ups and push-ups until you throw-up and then go back and do more.

You will only fit in if you cut out half of your personality and half of your stomach and half of your weight and half of your life. You will never fit in.

You will never fit in.

You will never fit in.

I still write sometimes, and I have a buttload of already-written stuff. So there you go.

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