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Where Have You Been All My Life? #WSAW

Sep 20, 2013

[Subtitle: If I see one more ‘plus-sized fashion blog’ talking about weight-loss, I may slit my wrists]

“Scientific study of 170,000 people: feeling fat is worse for your health than actually being fat.”

I don’t know the original source; tried to Google it and found related articles and blogs (including one called something like “A Gabajillion Reasons I Hate Being Fat” by a chronic self-hating dieter who hasn’t posted in going on four years… case in point.)

Anyway… here’s where I found that statistic: http://goo.gl/dK57nE.

Monday starts Weight Stigma Awareness Week. I found this out via a hashtag search on Twitter for #bodyacceptance. (I am falling in love with hashtags.)

Weight Stigma Awareness Week, September 23-27, 2013

Those of us who have been around the I-hate-my-body-and-wish-I-could-pull-or-cut-off-all-this-fat block know the truth in that statistic. Some of of us have grown past it (yet another reason I am grateful for being 47 instead of 37 or 27 or 17 or 7), that is if it is a matter of growing up (“Grow up, Chick! You are who you are, your body is what it is, and now that you’re in your late 40s and see that women are supposed to be soft, cushy, flabby, and comfy, maybe you can get your head out of your ass and stop thinking about losing weight and just live life!”)

Oh, but wait. That chick wasn’t in her late 40s like me. She was only in her mid-30s. To be honest, I was where she was when I was the age she was. And judging is bad no matter what. So I should not judge her. Smack me. Seriously.

So, how did I get there, in my own mire and muck of self-hatred, and then how did I get here, pretty much out of it?

I first “felt fat” (remember: fat is not a feeling) when I was preschool aged. I do not know why. I can’t tell you how it started, but with it came a strong feeling that nobody would want to be my friend. I do not remember if I saw the fat as the cause or the effect, or if they were just coexisting in my mind. I can tell you, though, that my self-hatred started early and continued a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long……… time. In the past three years, I have done a lot of really good work to get out of that crap, but it’s meant facing some hard shit, and putting myself out there – like in this blog. And with friends. And my therapist. And my husband.

So nobody told me that it was okay to be fat – except my mom. My mom told me it was okay to be me, and that I was beautiful. She always told me I was beautiful. My mom was beautiful.

But society didn’t tell me that it was okay to be fat. Nor did doctors (nor do they now). Television tells me it’s not okay to be fat, yet television wants me to eat Lucky Charms – by the boxful. (Isn’t it the best cereal ever, though?) Good Housekeeping magazine’s cover will couple an article called “Lose Ten Pounds in One Week” with “Paula Deen’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.” Indeed. And even me, in my crazy-mixed-up-mind, will look at Paula Deen on the cover and smirk. Because I’m a bitch. With weight stigma thoughts.

I’m trying to think of the word that describes the dichotomy in my head: believing I’m beautiful yet fearing I’m not. Not caring what others think yet worrying what they think. There’s probably a word for it. It’s just sad, really, and confusing. I’ll take it to therapy Monday. Maybe.

My husband makes fat jokes once in a while. He’s one of the humans who doesn’t and never has gotten it because he isn’t fat and never has been. Would he have been one of the kids to bully me had I known him in my childhood? I don’t know. But I just emailed him a couple of things about Weight Stigma Awareness Week. Tee hee. My doctor has told me to lose weight, and has praised me when I did. I was looking for an email address for him, too. My doctor is getting chubbier, and that’s okay. I have perfect blood pressure and cholesterol. So shut up.

Here is a picture of me when I was a toddler. Wasn’t I just the cutest? Look at those cute chubby cheeks, arms, and legs. They’re still cute and chubby.

Image

Here’s me in Kindergarten. Cute little chubby cheeks. In Kindergarten, I remember feeling like everyone knew what to do except for me – like they all had some secret about Kindergarten that I didn’t have. I also remember feeling like my legs were fat. I wish I still had those eyebrows. If you haven’t plucked yet, DON’T!

Image

I’ve been up and down and up and down. I remember in fifth grade weighing about 165 pounds, and then going on my first diet that summer, the same summer I started menstruating. My second diet was after sixth grade. And by my teen years, I was taking diet pills and starving myself to try to lose weight.

Did I mention that I got boyfriends and husbands only during periods of non-fatness? And that sex with a woman who doesn’t look like a porn star tends to freak men out? Except for feminist men. I’m not kidding on that. And when a boy didn’t like me, was it because I was fat? Or did he just not like me? I didn’t know. If I’m ever single again, I’m staying that way.

So where was Weight Stigma Awareness Week when I needed it? Well, we all still need it. Look at this. And when I saw this today, I nearly cried:

http://nypost.com/2013/09/19/obese-toddler-has-gastric-bypass-surgery/

Sickening. Sad.

Doctors promote it. Insurance pays for it. Even my ex-employer rewarded weight loss with cash. Are you fucking kidding me? That was my thought when I heard that. And I was damned if I was going to participate. It was all I could do to keep from confronting that.

So now… today.

This is me, and I am beautiful.

Image

My husband tells me so, too. Fat stigma is a hard nut to crack, and if it’s been so hard for ME to do it, I have to give others a break – to a certain extent. But not too much. Because we have to be done with this. No more.

Look in the mirror, without makeup, naked, with dirty hair, unshaven, and tell yourself you are beautiful. If you can do that, and you can keep doing that, whether you believe it or not, you’ve got this thing licked.

~Liz

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. jlzkcarlos@yahoo.com permalink
    Oct 5, 2013 9:38 pm

    we need more people out there like you. –Jen

    Like

    • Oct 5, 2013 10:15 pm

      I’ll bet you are one (assuming you mean that as a compliment). 😉 Thank you. ~Liz

      Like

      • jlzkcarlos@yahoo.com permalink
        Oct 5, 2013 10:23 pm

        most def.! I was referring to the good upbeat vibes. So very important. Wanted you to know I appreciate it. –Jen

        Like

      • Oct 5, 2013 10:24 pm

        🙂 Thanks!

        Like

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