We’ve all had that moment. That moment when you’re hurriedly trying to get dressed and ready and out the door for something. It could be a job interview, a party, a wedding, a date…something where looking a certain way matters (or at least it does in your head). Suddenly you hit a wall and you literally feel like the sky is falling and you’re coming apart at the seams. You blame your clothes, you blame your poor time management skills, you blame yourself and you blame your fat body. If only you looked like the socially accepted ideal, then you could live the life you want! Then you could get dressed and whisk out the door looking flawless without so much as a batted eyelash at any other possibility than perfection.
Oh? What’s that? Perfection is a myth?! Ahh! Yes, it is. It’s a ridiculous one at that. And this whole socially accepted ideal that you had no say or input in constructing yet now here you are wishing you could literally tear your flesh from bone just so that you can feel confident or at least not hideous enough to enjoy yourself for a moment in time. Ugh! It’s exhausting! And really? It’s a huge waste of the wonderful person that you are. If we took the amount of time and energy we spend actively hating and blaming ourselves and our bodies and just LIVED instead? Well, we could move mountains!
Last night I witnessed this moment, as I have many times before. Only this time it hurt, deeply. It broke my heart, actually. I didn’t allow myself to show the tears that wanted so badly to come forth and show themselves, but the pain was immediate and I was glad that I could hold it together. It was my wonderful roommate getting ready for a date, I’d just gotten home from my own date when I said hi to my roommate and asked how she was. I instantly knew something wasn’t right. I’d seen her in this frenzied moment before, hell, I’d been there myself more times than I can count. But this time, for some reason, it was different.
This time she said aloud what many of us have thought or felt but have rarely spoken. She admitted feeling that something must be inherently wrong with any man who would want to be with her and her fat body, specifically, her incredible fat ass (the “incredible” is my own description, mind you). This time I knew my usual fat positive pep talk wouldn’t cut it, nor would my plan b of tough love work. Instead I opted for simplicity and distraction (and instantly realized how I wish someone could have done the same for me back when). “Quick! Do this!” I instructed her as I reached my hands high above my head as though reaching for the ceiling directly above my head. Then I said, “Now breathe in deep! — And let it out…now shake it out!” as I showed her with my own body and limbs, shaking them out and all over like a dog or child would. “That was the most tense looking ‘shake it out’ I’ve ever seen!” I said and made her do it again but for real.
She insisted all of her clothes made her look like an old lady. She said she looked like she was going to a job interview or a funeral. I surveyed the evidence and shook my head. “You look super cute! Keep breathing!” I shouted from the hallway, doing my best to stay out of her way while still being supportive. She was running late, her date was texting her. I get it! That moment is tough. I’ve lived it myself many times. B never quite knew what to do for me when I had my emotional meltdowns, I know he did his best though. My roommate always apologizes to me when she has one of these or even says anything negative about her body. I think she must think I’ve never been there or body positivity is my own personal religion or something and saying anything against that is like cursing the pope to a Catholic (LOL!). It’s not my religion (I have none) and when she apologizes to me, in my head, I apologize to her body for her. I try to send it lots of good juju because I know she isn’t able to yet. And that’s okay.
I’ve seen her come a long way from when I first moved in. And she and I have grown much closer recently, which I love. My boyfriend remarked recently when I explained my excitement and joy over the two of us getting dressed for things together, “It’s like you have a sister!” which a.) is true and I love it and have never had anything like that before and b.) I actually already have a sister, but we’re not close. Anyway, I have gotten to know and love my roommate in a way I didn’t think possible. It’s awesome and she’s the best! She reminds me how hard this journey is and why it is that I stay on it and keep writing about it and love my fat community. So, last night she pleaded with me, “How can I live the life I want? How can I love the body I have? How can I stop hating my body and my fat ass?” I told her it was a choice. I told her that once I realized how all of that hatred was holding me back from all that I wanted and loved in the world that I chose to feel differently. It’s not about being a shapeshifter in the physical sense, it’s about deciding for yourself what is most important to and for you.
It’s a hard thing to learn and an even more difficult one to stick with on a day to day basis. But I can assure you that it does get easier the more you practice it. You must first be willing to forgive yourself when those moments of self hate come up, and they will. You can’t punish or beat yourself up over those times, you gotta just allow it to be but to let it go and keep moving forward as much as you can in a given moment. It really is a moment to moment thing. And it’s a very personal thing, too. This isn’t’ something I could just write an instruction manual on. I mean, I could, but it would only really be a description of my own experiences and what has worked for me. It wouldn’t necessarily work for others, ya know?
In those tough moments we all have a choice as the witness and as the one having the moment. I could have chosen to say or do all manner of thing last night, but I don’t think it would have helped. She could have told me and my proud fat self to fuck right the hell off, but she didn’t. She truly wanted to know how it is that I, in my 325 lbs body, can live the life I want and be happy, too. She’s said to me before that certain men are out of her league and I have moaned all about how there is no “league” and if you like someone to just fucking go for it! I would not be dating my guy if I believed in leagues. It’s what kept me from dating smart and with it guys for decades, done with that! And now I have the sweetest and smartest and handsomest geek in the world (don’t argue)! She’s seen and heard about the caliber of guys I’ve dated since my becoming single. She’s been in awe and yet very happy and supportive of and for me.
This morning she text me about last night and thanked me for telling her about choosing to feel differently about your body and that she wanted to talk to me about it more. “Because what I’ve been doing obviously isn’t working!” and yeah, I know how that goes. We’ve all been there when the old or usual way of doing something just won’t do anymore. And she inspires me with her beauty and strength and vulnerability in a way I think I must have been an inspiration to others when I was sort of on the cusp of my own major body positivity shift.
We cannot avoid these moments completely, baby showers still and may always freak me out. Getting ready for special events is like putting a woman under an interrogation lamp, it’s brutal! We are, for some reason or another, expected to look a certain way, act a certain way and to have a great time, too! Well, guess what? Our entire species cannot and should not have to be anything to anybody other than what they want to be or feel or look in the actual moment. Other people?! Ha-ha! Other people don’t matter! That is the greatest release in life, when you realize that what others think of you truly doesn’t matter. You cannot control what they think about you and so, “You might as well be a bad ass!” (Love you Michaela <3 ) So be you and stay true. And if you don’t know the real you yet (far more common than you know, trust me), start letting go of the baggage of your past and of others and see where that takes you.
Try to live in the moment and stop fretting and sweating over the past or the future. You can’t change one and you don’t even know for sure that the other will happen, so you might as well enjoy the moments you have in the body you’re in now. I’ve flown to Paris with my 63″ hips and had not one issue. Stop holding yourself back from the things and the love and the life you want. When you have that negative voice in your head start on you about your ass or your belly or thighs or whatever, allow it to happen, but let it go, too. Don’t hold onto those thoughts, they are not your own! The honest and real you isn’t a hateful bastard, right?! Think of it like weeding a garden. You cannot prevent any and all weeds from ever popping up in your lovely garden (your body/mind), but you can keep them in check. 😉
Rad Fatty Love to ALL!