Step 5: Be Brave
Now this is more of the be brave by being confident in your own skin sort of thing and not putting yourself in the path of danger. And I firmly believe that going out into the world as a fat person is an act of outright bravery! I was so inspired and moved by Melissa McEwan’s post about things fat people are told this past April that I saved the link and look back on it often. It rang so true for me that I have to go back and read it every now and then to remind myself why it is I write about all things fat. By going out into the world as our most authentic selves and not giving a damn what others may think is truly bucking the stereotype fats have long been burdened with.
Being brave is being you and not giving a fuck about the judgment you may get from others. Bravery is looking people in the eyes as they give you the classic “up-down” or worse. Or better yet, snapping a picture of them as they try to not-so-sneakily take yours. They are trying to take something from you…by confronting them silently, or not silently, you are letting them know that you are a person, that you’re aware of yourself and their bullshit and you’re not going to slink away in shame. In fact, I refuse to slink away in shame from anything ever again. I don’t care if my pants fall down while I’m climbing the stairs, I will not slink! And nor should you.
Bravery is speaking up for yourself and others. You may not always have the right words, but your intentions are pure and your actions speak louder than words. Together we make quite a force to be reckoned with! The fat liberation/acceptance/pride community is a far reaching and tightly woven fabric of rebels who care and people who want to see change in the world. We are that change. By going out into the world like everyone else, we are that change. We live it everyday and with every best friend or auntie or cousin we share our fatty secrets with, we perpetuate that positivity and the journey towards self-acceptance. Because we’re worth it, baby!
By bucking self-hate, we allow ourselves to live without that stress. We are giving ourselves room to breathe and think and feel. To live a life more fully lived! We can be rebels and grannies, we can be admins and rock stars, we can be heroes and heroines! Fauja Singh ran his first marathon recently. He’s 100 years old. When asked what his secret is to a long life, he replied: “The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running.”
We must support and encourage one another. When things get tough, and seem to keep getting tougher, we need each other that much more. We need to reach out and talk and hug and love and organize and speak out and be heard! We live in a time where the possibility of having our rights ignored or revoked is a reality. When people gather to show the powers that be that they are wrong, they get dealt a hearty helping of violence and abuse. It is not right and it is not fair, but it is the reality of our world right now. The only way we can make a difference and see the change we want in the world is to stick together, welcome others and keep the truth in the forefront of our movement.
I feel most brave when speaking out about the abuses I have endured in my life. I feel most brave when I welcome others to reach out to me if they have no one else they feel comfortable speaking to. I feel most brave when I go to the damned grocery store alone to get food for my husband and I to eat and must bear witness to the looks and remarks from others patrons. I feel most brave when I put pictures of myself on the internet for all to see. I feel most brave when I share so much of myself with so many that I don’t know and can’t possibly know. I feel most brave when I walk the dog at night on my own and every car that passes us by I turn to smile at, hoping to interrupt any thought of hate they might have before they can shout it at me. I feel most brave when I am most truly me.
When do you feel brave? What have you always wanted to do but haven’t had the courage?
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” ~Maya Angelou