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

TW: Lifting The Weight


**Trigger Warning for Negative Body Talk,
Dieting and brief mention of Abuse**

Living a normal life hating your own body feels like having the weight of the world on your shoulders. It is difficult to get up everyday. You know that you have to get dressed at some point and go outside to get to wherever it is that you go each day. If the getting dressed part is especially difficult for you because you have a hard time finding clothing that fits, let alone that you like or feel good in, you’ll consider staying in bed, everyday. You also know that you will encounter other people, possibly smaller-bodied people, and you will feel their judging eyes upon you like so many daggers in your heart.

Everyday you ask yourself, “Is this all there is to life? Does it ever get any better?” and you slog on and hope for a better tomorrow. You cringe through bus rides or office banter about diets, but secretly you’re hoping to glean a little secret here and there. You’re not happy with your body, you do your best to not even look at it. You feel trapped inside of it, always. You feel victimized by your appearance and have tried everything within your power to change this body you’ve been assigned to for life. You dream of the day it will all melt away or evaporate in your sleep because you KNOW there isn’t a diet in creation that’s worked for you. You have tried every single one!

You fantasize about your “dream body” and how different your life would/will be. This “dream body” will get you places, you’ll do and see things and meet hot people and even date them! You’d be able to go to Paris in your “dream body” and you won’t have to worry about the airplane seats. You’re finding that you’re spending more and more time fantasizing about this “dream body” that you feel betrayed every time you look into a full length mirror (and do your best to avoid them). You’re sick and tired of it all and can’t imagine what being happy even feels like anymore.

Sound familiar? To many of us, all too familiar, I’m sure. I know it was how I often felt. I would read self help books and recite their mantras and affirmations and wish and hope and pray that, one fine day, it would all go my way. And it did…only not at all how I’d imagined or fantasized it would. I could never have dreamed up the life I have now. I was so disconnected from my body that even thinking about living the rest of my life as a fat person (not that I could even say the word back then) seemed like some horrible curse.

Since I was four years old I fantasized about being saved by a Prince Charming or Ed McMahon or some other male-who-saves-people type of figure. I first wanted to be saved from poverty, then from my loneliness, my mother, later it was the bullies, the teachers and the other girls at school, the boyfriend who beat me up and held me hostage for five years and then finally I wanted to be saved from myself, my mind and most desperately, my own body. I did not know, and no one ever told me it could be, that I had the power to save myself all along. (Flashback to scenes from “The Labyrinth” come to mind.)

It took a ton of self work, all of those ridiculous self help mantras and affirmations and finally timing! Timing is such a big thing that we often overlook. That fateful day as I was heading to Europe for my honeymoon and I wanted a magazine for the plane, I chose BUST magazine for the very first time. I don’t know what made me buy it, I’d never even seen or heard of it before, but perhaps the universe knew that the time was right for me then. I can’t know for sure. I had just purchased, very ashamedly, “A Fat Girl’s Guide To Life” at Torrid the day before, also intended reading for so many hours on a plane.

I wasn’t feeling connected to my body and hadn’t for a very long time. I’d gotten married a year prior to this trip and we’d saved and I’d dreamed of it for so long that I was mega excited to be leaving the U.S. for the first time in my life. I was actually going to Paris…PARIS!!! (Also, Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan and nearly half of all of Ireland!) I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous. Would they hate fat people there? Oh wait, no, I called myself a “big girl” a lot by that point and even that was difficult to muster.

I read the book on the plane and my first couple of nights in Rome. I read it in the bathroom or covered by something so no one would see the title. I was that ashamed. When I finished it I was left with a sense of being ripped off. This was no guide to life, this was the story of a woman who struggled with her weight her entire life and still seems to be struggling. Boo! Then I read BUST. WOWOWOW! I was blown away! Feminism! Crafting! And from the U.K. “The Chubsters”! A fatty gang! What? Yes!

The moment I got back home I hopped online to see what this fatty gang was all about. I was (and still am) too fearful to submit anything to become an official member (I still dream of it though), I found links to other sites and blogs and the rest is sort of history. I found the answer to this fat girl’s life! I also found my passion in life. I found resources and people and a community that has seen me through some tough times and is always there to celebrate the good ones.

I found the power within myself to save myself from myself. Still with me? Ha! I learned about my body, my anatomy, my desires and what I want out of life. It was all such a surprise, let me tell ya! Ha-ha! Though I lost some friends along the way, I had to shed that old mentality to grow as a person and to love and accept myself in this fat body. Now I say the word fat, out loud, at least once a day! I am no longer carrying the weight of self hate. I no longer want to stay in bed and hide from the world (at least not because I’m fat). And while clothing is still difficult to find that I can afford, will fit me and I feel good in (don’t get me started on jeans right now!), I enjoy getting dressed and love fatshion!

I have in my life a tended garden of loving friends and confidants. I have a tiny tribe of love and compassion and support and it is so strong, y’all! If ever I need any damned thing, all I need to do is ask, reach out or text! It’s amazing! I used to feel so isolated and alone. I used to feel so disconnected from my body that I gave up dancing for over a decade! Now? I dance all of the fucking time and I have no intention on ever stopping! Even if I can’t stand up I will be dancing in my chair or bed forever! Nothing can take that away from me again, but me.

Like in the movie “The Matrix”, I chose the red pill and all that goes along with it. There have been some struggles, but this is a journey and all journies hit some speed bumps along the way. I can no longer even consider plugging back in or taking that blue pill. I want to live this incredible and authentic life that I’ve built for myself. And I do and I will. I want to reach out to everyone I possibly can and help them see the power within themselves, too. I know what that darkness feels like inside, it’s heavy and it’s hampering and it’s horrid!

With all that I have experienced and learned in my short life, I know that there is always a better option. Hating yourself is exhausting. Hating your body is feels worse than wearing wet socks. The life I dreamed of and the body I wanted? I have it all now…I weigh a bit over 300 LBS (I’m not sure of the exact number) and I have been to Paris. I have flown all over the U.S. and Europe and I have met and dated and married some hot people. I have tasted the delights of this world and I only want more! I will never again allow anyone to make me feel less than awesome. It is a choice and a commitment I made to myself and this fat body that has gotten me through the horrors and the ecstasies that I’ve experienced and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Photo: Thanks to all who stepped out of shame with "Bad" Picture Monday yesterday!  We are grateful to be in community with you!  Spend today knowing that You are BEYOND WORTHY OF RADICAL SELF LOVE!

I have lived the lie and I am now living the truth. And I love it!

(This post is dedicated to a Fellow Geek, thank you for sharing your mornings with me)


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2 Comments to

“TW: Lifting The Weight”

  1. On August 23rd, 2012 at 4:26 pm Anna Says:

    Oh my gosh! What a great post. Absolutely loved reading it.

  2. On August 25th, 2012 at 10:58 am brittle_star Says:

    The Fat Girl’s Guide To Life is kind of my fat acceptance “bible.” It was the first book on size acceptance that I read. I discovered the author, Wendy Shanker, through Bust magazine. She wrote a column for them that was later taken over by fellow size positive blogger and author Wendy McClure (I also love her book, I’m Not the New Me).

    What I got from The Fat Girl’s Guide To Life is that acceptance is a journey. We never reach a point in our journey to acceptance – be it self- or body-acceptance (or both) – in which we say “I’ve made it! I’ll never hate my body or myself again! I’ll never have another body issue again!” I don’t think anyone ever reaches that point. Self- and body-acceptance is a journey that never ends, but what’s important is how we deal with ourselves while we’re on it, and that we keep moving forward and become kinder to ourselves, gentler on ourselves, as we journey. So, no, Wendy Shanker doesn’t provide any “miracle cure” for self- and body-acceptance. She provides information, support and her own experiences as guideposts along the journey, to help us along. I also find some of her writing very funny. Her section in the book about Always “plus size” maxi pads (which was also one of her columns for Bust) is hilarious.

    About a year after the book was published, Shanker was asked to be the MC, of sorts, at a plus size fashion show at a large Macy’s store in Los Angeles, where I live. She’d also be greeting the public and marketing her book. Being a big Wendy fan, I was excited to attend the fashion show and couldn’t wait to meet her. I had a group of women friends, two of whom were fat like me, and several others had body issues, as so many of us do. I invited some of them to come to the fashion show with me, but they lied and said they had other plans, which I later learned they didn’t. I went to the fashion show alone, met Wendy (who looked fantastic, imo) and asked her to sign my book, which she graciously did. About 4 months later, my group of women friends who I’d known for the better part of 5 years, de-friended me. …Well, it was really the doing of my main friend in the group, another fat woman, who wasn’t ready to learn anything about size acceptance, including something as innocent as watching a plus-size fashion show and meeting a book author, with no size-acceptance preaching.

    Wendy has written another book, Are You My Guru? How Medicine, Meditation and Madonna Saved My Life. It details the horrific health problems Wendy experienced while she wrote Fat Girls’ Guide, and after, while she was promoting the book. She talks about that trip to Los Angeles and Macy’s in Guru, and was apparently barely holding herself together – mentally, emotionally, and health-wise. Due to the disease she was fighting, her nose was literally about to collapse into her face, but I never knew it by looking at her. No one at that fashion show knew it. Wendy was very gracious and all smiles, even though her body was, internally, falling apart and completely rebelling against her.

    Guru details Wendy’s experiences as she searched for doctors and other health care practitioners who could help her find the right medicine to fight and deal with her mysterious disease. She tried holistic approaches, meditation, and many other avenues as she tried to fight and both accept at the same time that her body was literally trying to end her life for no reason she could explain. Wendy’s also a big Madonna fan (which is one part of her life I don’t particularly identify with), so parts of Guru include Wendy’s experiences writing for Mtv and other tv networks, where she had brief chances to meet and interview Madonna, and how Madonna’s seemingly innocuous comments to Wendy became strong words of wisdom for her.

    Point being, Wendy’s been through the wringer and I respect her journey with her body and herself. She’s experienced her body literally falling apart, near death, and come out the other side. If anyone knows something about the extremely difficult journey of body- and self-acceptance, it’s Wendy. And she was going through a lot of that during the writing and promotion of The Fat Girl’s Guide To Life.

    Yeah, I lost friends by being a Wendy fan and allowing her influence to shape my life and introduce me to the idea of size acceptance, but I’d much rather be on this journey, using Wendy’s experiences as guideposts, than sitting around with a group of fickle friends, complaining about body issues and not doing anything about it.

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