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

When Positive Turns Negative


If you’ve read this blog in the past you might know that I’m generally a very positive person. I am this way because I haven’t always been and I know how it feels to not be. Everything is more difficult when you are actively hating, yourself, the world, whatever. I have been able to do a lot of self work and healing through thinking more positively. It has changed nearly every aspect of my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What has surprised me is a sort of backlash when it comes to positivity. I mean, there are always those who reject it immediately and refuse to see it as anything but hokum. I get that. What I don’t get is the way many have used positivity to lift themselves up while tearing others down. This is the worst, for me, to witness. I have seen it in those I love and care about and even some amongst our own fat icons and idols. It has caused me to distance myself from the body positive movement, sadly.

I have had friends who have taken the positivity I live by and turn it into a pedestal for themselves so that they might shit upon those they deem to be beneath them. That is definitely not the type of positivity I work with or towards. It offends me deeply and I have had to cut a couple of people out of my life as a result, unfortunately. I cannot listen to someone call themselves a feminist, an activist and then watch or listen to them tear down “skinny bitches” or make derogatory remarks about someone’s gender or presentation.

I realized this week in a dark and lonely moment that all of my mini posters I made for myself with positive quotes or sayings on them are all covered up. It gave me pause. I wondered and then stopped. They are covered up by clothes hanging from hooks on both of my doors. I have this one corner that has a bunch of positive stuff, even the poster from last year’s Big Moves dance show “En Masse.” I realized the difference in how I felt about myself from then until now. I started to think about who is in my life now versus then and how that makes me feel, too.

Shortly after that dance show was when the ugly side of the fat community showed itself to me and wounded me deeply. To see those I had admired or even considered friends at some point in time say and do things against other fatties or other gendered folks or just being completely cruel in general broke my heart. I know I haven’t recovered from this. To see that these people are still held up as pillars in the fat community hurts me, but more so, all of us. If the very people we celebrate are the ones actively hating on other fatties and genders it hurts our entire community and movement and fight for equal treatment and access. But what can be done?

Often we don’t want to see these things in those we look up to, even or especially when they are pointed out. It is because of this that I feel that I have lost my voice in the fat community and my identity as an activist. I have my own struggles, pain and fears to wade through and work with and often I don’t have enough spoons for even my own shit. I certainly do not think that there is only one or a right way to be an activist or a part of this important movement. I see the value in what so many are doing right now. Yet it feels like a kick in the gut to see meanies held up as the highest examples of fat activism and feminism. No! You don’t get to hate on people in my community and still get all of the glory and fame and yet…I kind of feel like that is the true American way.

The flip side of this is that we’ve all worked so hard to give a platform, to make space and to honor that space, for every identity that no one feels confident speaking up anymore. We’ve all gone silent, or at least many of us have. I’m not sure which is worse…The two-faced liars, the haters or the labeled-into-a-silent-corner? What is the point in seeking to be the spokesperson for a movement that you yourself have hard limits about (size)? Step down and just stop it. Take a moment or a month and just breathe! Do some fucking soul searching and figure your shit out before stepping back into the spotlight to tell the world how we should be acting or treating folks. Get real and get humble and find that thing that makes you just a human again.

I think we all strive to find that thing that sets us apart from the rest, a cut above if you will. But I think we forget to just be ourselves. I think it’s easy to be dazzled by the limelight. It’s way more fun to surround yourself with people who always agree with you rather than have to actually hear a different perspective or lived experience than your own. We are all special little snowflakes, but that is also what makes us mostly the same. We have far more in common with others than we want to believe. Belief and truth, the eternal debate!

I try very hard to live my own truth, to “ride my own melt,” and to share what I have with others. It’s not an easy thing. It’s what I think is right. I don’t expect to have people follow my path or my truth. I don’t attempt to find recruits or followers. I’m just me and that in itself is enough most of the time. I see the value in sharing my lived experiences with others. By sharing my story, by exposing my truth, I have helped people make better choices for themselves. No membership required! No fees, no strings, no hassles, just me. This blog has given me the safe space I needed to work through some very difficult times in my life. I won’t ever regret that.

Friends tell me that my voice will return, that this writer’s block will go away just as mysteriously as it arrived. They tell me that my thirst for activism will come back and I’ll be back out there demonstrating and being all fat at people once again. I try to believe them. I know their intentions are pure. Right now I’m still hurting, though. I see so much happening all around me built up on falsities and all I want to do is hide myself away. Well, truthfully, right now all I want to do is sleep, but that’s it’s own issue right there. Ha-ha!

I feel as though I’m nearly back where I started again and again and everything is always up in the air. I feel as though I have no say in my own life lately and it’s difficult. It’s hard to have people tell me how amazing and awesome they insist I am when I just feel like a giant failure across the board. I know that’s not me! But it’s how I’m feeling lately. I’ve begun to feel insecure about things I haven’t in years and it’s frightening. I’ve lost touch with what makes me tick. I’m not crafty or creative anymore and I’m not sure why that is. I’ve pushed people away that I hadn’t meant to and I’m not sure why or how I can repair that now. Such is life, eh?

It’s not easy to stay positive. It’s not easy to not go along with what society tells us is the only way to be. But nature never intended for us to all look and act and think the same. What a nightmare that would be! I’m not going to start apologizing for all of the things that are different about me. I never have and I don’t intend to start now. I celebrate those differences as much as I can. For me it’s always going to be the deeper meanings and connections I seek out. The surface-y stuff? Nah, not my bag, baby! If I’ve become more introverted over time, so be it. I wish this lead to more or just better writing on my part, but as much as I struggle with what the universe brings into my life, I am happy to have what I do.

There will always be haters, meanies, bigots, liars and assholes in this world. And as much as I hate to see the truth no one else wants to within our fat community, I am grateful for it. I would rather have the harsh truth than a pretty-sparkly lie any day. Even when it hurts. Even when it changes me. Even when I feel the need to hide. I want to believe that we all get what we give in this world and that old ” what goes around comes around” thing is real. I don’t know that this is true in reality, or that it could be, but I want to believe it. I won’t stop questioning, that is for certain! And neither should you! Question everything and everyone! Stay hungry for knowledge and truth and speak it to power so that some meaningful change can happen in the world. We so sorely need it.



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