NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

As Times Goes By…

July14

Reading this http://littleowl.com/heidi/2010/07/12/laying-down-the-rules/ post on one of my favorite fat blogs this morning I was reminded of my own journey of self acceptance and how this has been both positive and problematic.

It truly is amazing, when you sit down and think about it, how much of what we may perceive as our own ideals or concepts when it comes to body image that we get from marketing/advertising/media outlets. I have known guys who claimed they were attracted only to a very very specific “type” of woman. Regardless of the guy’s own credentials, this was their ideal woman and they would settle for nothing less. Though most did, I have no doubt that some are still sitting on the couch playing video games insisting “she’s out there, man” and letting time pass them by into oblivion. Not that that’s the only way things could play out, but c’mon?!  We can be so damned narrow minded as a species. And I recall this being brought up many times in my life.

Have you ever sat around with friends and said things like, “Would you rather have sex with ___ or ___?” and then you all giggled and laughed and had to make that tough decision, though metaphorical? Ugh! I am guilty of this myself. Although sometimes it’s fun, especially when it’s my rad friends who pick the strangest of combination of people, mostly celebrities. Why do we do this? How can you compare one person to another? It’s just not right. And if we’re talking looks alone? Well, that doesn’t fly with me. Never has. I’m one of those rare birds who prefers to look deeper than appearances. Just how I was raised, perhaps, but also what I would hope people would do while assessing me.

The point I’m getting to here is that what we often think are our own instinctual attractions actually aren’t. We have these images and ideas pushed upon us from birth. Simple things people say or imply or what t.v. portrays as the ideal image of the human body…none of this is instinctual. And if you want to get right down to it? Well, instinct dictates nothing more than reproductive abilities, not hair color & cup size! While I may have “child-rearing hips” I have no intention at the present moment to reproduce. That may change, but that is my own prerogative, too. And we all struggle with body image, no matter what size/shape you are. You may not even realize it! But if you’ve ever focused on one body part that was “fat/horrible/gross/etc” then you do.

While I would prefer not to get into the entirety of HAES (Healthy At Every Size) you can find the facts here: http://www.haescommunity.org/ it is important for me to state here that anyone can struggle with their body image and it can have nothing to do with their current size at all. Heidi’s post (linked at the top of this post) reminded me of my own journey on the road to size acceptance. I think it all began when I was 16 and had just started working at a Contempo Casuals Outlet. The manager was this tall and slim lady whom I looked up to greatly (not just literally, ha-ha). Her two assistant managers were probably the size I am now. The rest of the staff were your typical 18-23 year old gals either about to or currently attending college. I had been having a hard time buying pants at regular stores and my BFF Summer had bought me the cutest jeans at this Mexican clothing store in our town. They were black with zippers at the hem of the legs with bows above the zippers and the main zipper, at the waist, was in back! I  loved them so much when I was 14 I asked my dad to buy me more. They were so cheap that he bought me three more.

Anyway, I had started at Contempo and was trying my best to fit in. I somehow didn’t understand my own size wasn’t the same as the other girls. While I knew I wasn’t slender, I didn’t think I was fat let alone plus sized or anything of the sort. I wasn’t exactly in-touch with my body, either. After awhile, maybe I year or so, the two assistant managers took me to a Lane Bryan sale in San Francisco and W@OW! Life changing! They helped me pick things out and since almost everything was $7 I had almost an entire wardrobe for $60! And, they made me feel normal. Here were these very large women, as I am now, who embraced my awkwardness and showed me a bit about how to dress and not break the bank. This has seriously been my way of life since then.

Not very long ago I was very camera shy. I didn’t consciously know it, but it’s true. I wouldn’t make a fuss about not being in a pic or anything, but would be the first to volunteer to take the pic. I loved taking pics actually, but that’s besides the point. I was going through photo albums after moving a couple of month ago and realized that there are huge chunks of my life undocumented. How sad! This combined with the fact that there were far too many bad pictures of me trying not to be photographed and I decided never again! From then on I would smile and pose and try to look my best since, hey, these would be a snapshot of that moment in time, dammit! I wanted to look back fondly, not with shame or embarrassment.

Now? Well, I recently started loving my bad photos! And what’s helped me with regular ones is taking a ton of pics of myself. Making faces, bad hair dos, you name it! I have them all, too. I don’t delete them. I keep them. I look at them from time to time. I ponder over them. And if I’m feeling especially fashionable/fatshionable I’ll take a full body shot and post on the live journal Fatshionista community an Outfit Of The Day (OOTD). This has also helped me grow and become more accepting of myself. There is no community of people more loving, I feel, then that one! Without that community I don’t know that I would have had the strength to open my own business or blog or anything I’ve done in the last four years!

It is still a struggle, even now, to be so publicly fat…but it’s also very worth it. For ever one of us that goes out in public holding their head high, there are probably a dozen gorgeous fatties too afraid to do the things they long to do because of shame or fear or other things. When I see another fattie in public, I smile and say “Hi!” or compliment them or ask where they got their outfit/jewelry/etc. Never in an insincere way though. I usually find something fabulous to compliment in anyone I meet, but fatties? Well, I love all of us! And seeing more of us out in public makes me so very happy. It puts the image of us in people’s minds as more normal. I refuse to be considered a freak for my size or appearance! I’m not saying everyone HAS TO be out and about with their fatness, but I think it is a wonderful form of fat activism. And I simply can’t help it since I run a business serving the public.

I wanted to share some examples of what I think are good pics, bad pics and fun-bad pics of me:

1. did not want my pic taken 2. my granny impression

3. my Wizard of Oz impression 4. hiding my body behind my friends (I was 19, y’all!)

5. Self-taken good pic  6. Me & P! Adorable pic! 7. My fave pic of my friends & I!

8. Pic my friend J took at my cafe for an art show  9. Me at karaoke, reluctantly posing for a picture

You probably can’t tell the difference other than a lack of smile in that first one, but I can see the difference in my posture and facial expressions…I am so glad that I have these pics to remind me of those fab times! Especially the sepia one of my bestest friends in the world! We went to Napa last year and while it was only two days, it was so very fun and memorable! Thanks again, Tom-O!

I hope that you find your own path to self acceptance no matter what form that takes. You deserve to love yourself and to feel loved. You deserve health and happiness and general awesomeness! Thanks for reading!

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