International No Diet Day proved to be my new favorite holiday of the year! I started out with just a great mood, lots of caffeine (my drug of choice, thanks) and lots of energy. As the day progressed I became more and more giddy about that evening’s activities. As you may have noticed from my many and even silly posts on that day. My first public fat activism! With Marilyn Wann!!! My good mood and high-energy seemed to rub off on friends and customers throughout the day, too. I was on cloud 9 before I’d even left the cafe to head up to San Francisco. I was wearing my Fat necklace with pride, explaining INDD to any/all who seemed interested and chatting with all of my favorite peeps online. Plus, it was Friday! Who could ask for more?!
I was nervous, but in an excited way and not at all in a fearful way. After picking up my fab-fat friend Margarita, we headed to the meet up spot. While my parking juju wasn’t with me, we did find a parking spot a few blocks away. We hustled our bustles with glee and exhilaration. When we met up with the group, well, I can’t describe what it felt like. All of these fabulous faces smiling at us in recognition of why we were there. So welcoming and sweet! We were handed baby blue ribbons that read “INDD 2011” on the tails. We pinned them on our bosoms and headed towards the venue. The excitement in the air was palpable! We were all giggling and chatting amongst ourselves, waiting for Marilyn’s signal.
Marilyn waved to Carol who gave us the go ahead and we crossed the street en masse. Then again we waited near the entrance to be sure that the coast was clear. You see, friends, this was an Obesity Treatment and Prevention conference. The last day of a 3-day conference whose only aim is to rid the world of us/fat. They weren’t expecting us and we certainly were not welcome. With the help of Marilyn’s fab friend Geoffrey, we were able to enter without a problem. And then time seemed to stand still. I was right behind Marilyn inside the conference room (one of those big hotel conference rooms, filled with tables and people so bored you actually felt sorry for them). She unzipped her satchel, pulled out a boombox and hit play as we single-filed down the center isle of this conference room and she blew a whistle. This caused a bit of a stir in the audience. Some might have thought we were some sort of surprise entertainment, only not quite. Ha-ha! And who was at the podium speaking but none other than Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer! In fact, he was talking about adipose tissue. His voice droned on and on, even as he saw we were heading right towards him. I didn’t catch a glimpse of his face or reaction, but could hear him attempting to maintain his composure and he did continue speaking, though he stopped and started again a few times.
As we were heading down that center isle, I found the sudden urge to place my hands upon my hips and just sashay my way up to the front of the room. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one. We were strutting our stuff and singing along to a song penned by Ms. Wann and produced/composed by Alan Garber of the band Nothin’ But Fun (full lyrics below). The recurring lyrics consisting of us pantomiming with “Chins, Bellies, thighs…Hips and ass…hips and ass” as we gestured and strutted and smiled at those in attendance. I couldn’t keep a smile off my face! I was trying to catch the looks on people’s faces, but it’s all a blur to me now. We got up to the front and finally Dr-dude gave up for a moment. Then suddenly the conference organizer came up to us threatening to call security if we didn’t leave immediately.
And just like that, Marilyn blew her whistle again, we turned, re-filed into a line, and headed back down that center isle towards the exit. Only this time, we handed out flyers to those at sitting at the tables. This was the coolest part I think. The people who had obviously been sitting in those same chairs for the last three days seemed delighted at the distraction and some actually wanted our flyers and reached out or even moved towards us to grab one. The ladies ahead of me in a pseudo-soul train line, said things of encouragement and positivity to the conference goers. “Happy International No Diet Day!” Amy shouted with a big ole grin! Some smiled back at us, others just looked too tired to care. It was an interesting group of mixed feelings and of course Dr so & so went right back into his lecture on adipose tissue. Ha! I felt as though I was positively floating!
As we were filing out, the conference organizer shouted at us/me (it seemed we made eye contact at that moment at least), “Shame on you!” Without knowing it I shouted right back, “Shame on us? No! Shame on You! We exist and we just want to live our lives! It’s San Fracisco!” Don’t even ask me why I felt the need to add that last bit in there. I had no control over those words. But it came out and I’m fine with this. Ha!
We reconvened at a nearby fountain surrounded by foliage, concrete structures and shops. I recall someone saying that Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer sounded like the teacher on Charlie Brown. True! We all giggled and cheered and clapped and then Marilyn Wann addressed the group, “I want to show you the secret handshake of fat activists!” and we all bumped bellies with one another. It was so freeing, I cannot even tell you. I have only ever bumped bellies with my husband, I think. It was so nice to not give a flying fuck what anyone thought of my fat or belly or anything! We were together and we were one at the same time. It was so nice to get to meet and talk with so many lovely people, too. The woman video taping our flesh mob asked each of us to share our favorite moment. So many wonderful moments in such a short amount of actual time, but like I said, it felt as though time had stopped.
Many photos were taken, personal information exchanged, hugs and love were spread around generously and without hesitation. We were absolutely high as so many brightly colored kites in the windy spring skies! My life has forever been changed in the best possible way! The smiles and the electricity of the moment. I am so grateful to have been part of something so radical, so honest and so fucking fat! These people at that conference were in there discussing and dissecting us for 3 days, yet we were not invited to the discussion. We were told we weren’t welcome. But how can you talk about fat, how can you dissect and weigh the values of adipose tissue and obesity without welcoming those who are and have said fat?! Well, I think we proved that you just can’t! It’s not okay! And at least in San Francisco (ha-ha!), you can expect the unexpected. You can look forward to the radical and the true. You can be surprised by what so many fatties can do!
“Chins, bellies, Hips…and Ass! Hips…and Ass! Say it with pride! Chins, bellies, Hips…and Ass! Hips…and Ass! One more time! We love our bodies, the weigh we are, the weigh we are! Wouldn’t change a thing! Chins, bellies, Hips…and Ass! Hips…and Ass! Oh yes!”
Special Thanks to Marilyn Wann for inviting me, encouraging us all and for being such a bad ass!
And to Twistie & WithoutScene: You were each on my shoulders, cheering me on! I love you both!
Me & Nicole with our fat necklaces and the wind blowin’ our hairs like models!
Margarita, Nicole & Virgie:
For more pictures (far better quality, too) check out Nicole’s post about INDD!