When did we become so terrified of the word fat? When did it become an insult, a put down out of our very own mouths or out of the mouths of those around us? How did the word fat become a word that you shouldn’t use to describe yourself? When oh when did we give it the supreme power to control our emotions.
I remember the first time I realized that I was a chunky little girl. The first time I began to associate that there was something -wrong- quote on quote with the way my body was put together.
My first diet was before I was even ten years old. I remember weight watchers meetings and feeling ashamed for having an appetite.
We learn body image from the cradle. As an intelligent being we pay attention to the world around us and take these lessons deep into our hearts where they fester and grow, until the word fat begins to be deeply associated with other not so kind or wonderful words.
Such as ugly.
Then there are the emotions that become tied to it. “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not pretty enough.”
Do you notice a theme to these questions. . .
“I am not enough.”
All from a word.
I grew up with a mother who was so skinny in my growing up years that it seemed unfathomable for me to have come out of her. I felt inadequate standing next to her. Like I was less.
I became a woman at ten and with puberty came breasts, hormones and a whole new reason to hate my body. To embrace a lifestyle, a pattern of loathing the very skin that made me – me.
So, body shaming for me became so much more.
Growing up I would shop with my mom and always we’d have to go find the larger sizes. Where were the larges, x-larges, 12’s and 14’s. I was fat after all, right?
So my mom and I would hit the racks searching for good deals and fat hiding clothing. If the stripes were going in the wrong direction. . .my mom would say no, you don’t want to wear that, it makes you look. . .you guessed it. Fat.
I knew that I should NEVER EVER wear clothing with horizontal lines. Those shirts that I loved. Nope, those were for skinny girls. I learned to cover up, with the correct line-age.
I wore sports bras until I was 15 or 16, locking my spectacularly impressive chest strapped down to my body. The other girls didn’t have boobs. I had them because I was fat.
My tummy was round, my thighs rubbed together.
I needed more exercise, I needed to diet before I was 12 years old.
I needed. I needed. I needed.
When we are children, the adults around us have the power to teach us to break the mold. To appreciate our bodies and in so doing teach us to embrace a life of being completely unashamedly ourselves.
I’m a fat girl. I always have been. I always will be. I have big boobs and a tummy that fights to divert attention away from said boobs, the little spoiled thing! 🙂
Thighs rubbing together – yup I’ve got that too. I never had a gap. The mythical thigh gap that my mother had. Not once since the day I was born. Maybe when I was gestating inside my mother’s body I had the gap, but I’m thinking not.
I was born to be a fat girl.
It’s not about size. It’s about being healthy. Both outside, but most especially INSIDE.
Who we are is not dependent on our fat or skinny bodies.
We are not less based on our outward appearances.
The first time I was challenged by body love was when I found the Militant Baker. Jes Baker challenged me, throwing the gauntlet down to contradict everything I had been taught.
It was revolutionary to me. This idea that being fat wasn’t THAT big of a deal. It was like having blond hair instead of brown.
My DNA shaped and formed in the womb, a combination of my mother and father, and there mother’s and father’s before them. My heritage, the people who came before me are twirling through my blood cells. They dance across my skin, from my blond hair, pale skin, short little fingers, blue eyes that turn green on occasion, to my feet, to the very birth mark on my knee.
Instead of looking in the mirror and hating my reflection. I see me. I see my mom in the white streak that runs at my temple. I see her when I look at my birthmark, a pinkish shape that skates across my knee. I look at it and see beauty, I see my momma who has a matching one on her elbow. Nature’s tattoos, one of a kind, and between a mom and a daughter.
When I look at my hands, I see my Dad. His fingers, and hands. My freckles dot my pale skin and I think of him. I never had a great relationship with my father, but it doesn’t matter, it connects me to him. And we all need that connection.
When I look in the mirror and stare at eyes that are blue, and tinge green when I’m angry or when I cry, I am reminded of my Dad. Whose eyes turn the same green.
My feet remind me of my mom, my aunt, my cousin. Our toes formed in the same pattern.
I pluck the hairs on my almost double chin, and remember my Auntie and my Great Grama. They shaved. . .wouldn’t recommend that particular habit in life, unless you want to shave daily. But it brings a smile to my face knowing that I share this connection with the women who came before me.
Our bodies are incredible canvas’ with gorgeous mind blowing paintings covering us. You wouldn’t walk into an art gallery that had a Picasso or Van Gogh painting hanging on the wall and scream up at it “You’re UGLY!”
We are Picasso’s and Van Gogh’s, gorgeously done art, created by the creator himself.
So what that I’m fat.
I own it.
It’s not going to stop me from loving myself.
It’s not going to stop me from finding someone to love.
It won’t stop me from standing in front of the lens of a camera with the people that I love.
I’m going to take the picture, I’m going to post the picture. Double chin, round cheeks, fat tummy. That’s me.
I’m learning to love every inch of my skin. Embrace it, instead of disparage it.
I am good enough. I am more than my fat, but I am also fat.
Fat. Gorgeous. Smart. Kind. Generous. Creative. Loving. Loved. Sarcastic. Funny. Enough.
I am enough. I don’t need to diet and be ashamed of eating in front of people. I don’t need to apologize for my round tummy, and be scared of the stretch marks that streak across my pale skin.
I embrace my scars. I embrace my faults. I embrace me.
Whole and complete me.
I challenge you. I throw the gauntlet down.
Watch your words, for what you speak becomes a truth. Teach those around you, in every age, to embrace and love themselves. Being fat is a body trait not a noose with the power to snap your neck. The word fat has held too much power, I think we should be taking it back. When used negatively, fat becomes more than just a word. It becomes the thing that holds so much more power than we focus in on and realize.
It has the power to control how we see ourselves rather than who we actually are. With our self-esteem so low we can’t see that anyone else would love us, could love us or even believe that we are beautiful.
Take the compliment when someone compliments you and say thank you. Then do the thing you’ve never done. BELIEVE THEM.
Compliment yourself and BELIEVE IT.
I am fat, and yes I do have a pretty face. With a gorgeous contagious smile, blue eyes, blond hair, pale skin, big boobs, big tummy, short legs, cute toes.
I like me. I love me. That’s the beginning.
The beginning of beating back the bad and replacing it with good.
Claim the word fat, wear it, own it. Don’t be afraid of it or run from it.
Fat. It’s just another descriptor for appearance. Nothing more.
Take back the word. Take the picture. Wear the horizontal stripes. Do the thing you are terrified to do. . .love yourself.
I am enough. Are you?