"Jason, you're crazy!" my friend Abby says at lunch. "Do you have any idea how insane you sound? Like, truly nuts." I've ordered a side salad but still haven't eaten half of it. I know Abby means well, but I also know she's a size 4. When she looks in the mirror, she sees someone slender and healthy. When Jason Roeder looks in the mirror, there's nothing but a disgusting fat lady looking back at him.

That huge waistline; those beefy thighs. I can't even take pride in my large breasts, knowing they're only that size because of how obese I am! At least I'm not forced to look at my backside in the mirror, though sometimes I'll sneak a peek at those massive buttocks, crinkled in cellulite. I guess some delusional part of me hopes I'll turn around one day and discover that my rear is shapely and toned. My only consolation? Most mirrors aren't long enough for me to see how chunky my calves are.

I tell myself I should join a Curves, but the one time I tried, I got all these weird looks, as if to say, "Sorry, we can't help you here. You're a lost cause. Just leave. Just get out right now."

I've been fortunate in some respects. I'm 40, and I've never been called "Big Bertha" or anything demeaning and misogynist like that. No one's ever asked me if I was pregnant, and it's hard to imagine, but I've gone this long without hearing some bully moo at me or make pig noises when I walk by. So, yeah, I count my blessings, and I try to help others like me.

My friend Vanessa's also very overweight. She's five-foot-seven and about 250 pounds, a few inches shorter than me but much less heavy. The other day, I told her that we could lose weight together, that we could push each other and be ready just in time for bikini season. She just started crying and said, "Why are you making fun of me, Jason? I thought you were my friend. Why?"

Well, maybe I wouldn't be much help. After all, I still haven't helped myself. Or maybe I'm wrong about everything. Maybe I'm fighting myself when I should be loving myself. If you want to be accepted, that's where it starts.

My name is Jason Roeder: I'm a big, fat woman and I'm proud.