“We forget how much freedom we give others when
we claim it for ourselves!” ~Renie
Is that not the greatest quote ever? Yeah, that’s my real-life-actual friend, Renie. She’s a fucking genius, I hope she knows it, too! She wrote the above statement in comments in response to this post, which was totally about my brunch with her and my friend Alanna. They are so fierce and amazing and I look up to them so!
Why do I look up to them? Well, they are both incredible performers, passionate fat activists and they make fat visibility seem so second nature. I know fat visibility is a hot topic at the moment and certainly one I keep revisiting in my own life. It’s something you do without realizing, yet you can also be painfully aware of it simultaneously.
Are you fat? Check! Do you leave the house? Yep! Guess what? You got this fat visibility thing down! Woo! Seriously though, I know there’s far more to it than this and I also understand how difficult and disheartening it can be to go out in public while fat. Many of us have no choice, having to earn a paycheck and buy food in grocery stores and all. Even those who don’t work with the public or have to interact with many people still gotta gas up their car or grab a bite to eat now and then.
I used to believe that simply being visibly fat in public, proudly or not, was automatically a political and activism based act. Many do not like the association and just want to be left alone to live their lives. I get that, I do, it’s just that I see how much impact we can have. To me it’s about normalizing fat visibility. I know this is not easy and certainly not comfortable for everyone. Shit, it’s not always something I want to do. Sometimes I just wanna pump my gas and grab some groceries wearing an invisibility cloak, yo!
Sorry to burst any bubbles here, but I’m just not a fierce-femme-fatty-supreme (OMZ! That needs to be a t-shirt!!!) 24/7, though I do have my moments, ha-ha! I do often go to the store looking a bit, if not entirely, a mess. I feel no obligation to present myself to the world or my neighborhood in any way other than how I am feeling in the moment. I rarely wear make up and don’t even get me started on the whole women/shaving thing. *RollsEyes*
I don’t feel obligated to engage anyone who is rude, nosy or otherwise hateful. I don’t care if it’s the lady behind me in line at Trader Joe’s giving my cart the stink-eye or the old man “Good for you, all those vegetables!” full of smiles. I do my best not to bite actual heads off of people and to keep my bluntness in line with their rudeness so as not to shock the masses. Ha-ha! But you know, sometimes, I just gotta speak up for myself. Sometimes, I gotta let people know that what they are saying and perpetuating is full of lies and bullshit and they are bullies, plain and simple.
However, I know I am visible. I know I am. I big and wear bright colors and my hair is a naturally bright orange hue…what can I do? I refuse to hide or diminish my colors or size. How the world views me is none of my damned business and I’d like to keep it that way. I smile at strangers and children and dogs, I talk to cats and sometimes plants, too. I’m friendly and generally happy. I do what I can with what I’ve got, ya know? But I do not fool myself into thinking that I don’t matter, that how I live and write and act makes no impact. I know it does.
The body acceptance movement is made up of so many and does not require rules and regulation to participate or get involved. There is no wrong or right way to be fat or visible or not. You need not apply the political or activist label to yourself. You need only to live as you see fit. My only hope is that we can all be true to and honor our best selves. I choose to do that by claiming my own personal freedoms and wearing them like they can be snatched away at any time…because the truth is, they can.