I recently posted something to Facebook that I thought was actually a better fit for PerfectPanic. The post (rant) spoke about self-acceptance and overcoming social anxiety; it did so by bringing up the topic of Fat Acceptance.
As someone with social anxiety who also happens to be “overweight,” I often deal with the following quandary: The Therapist tells me that people probably aren’t judging me as harshly as I believe, while I know damn well that I am indeed being judged harshly (at least by some people) every time I walk out in public, just because of my weight (to be clear, I am not dismissing my awesome therapist’s advice; I’m just not able to use it as a blanket source of comfort).
For a long time, my low self esteem has made me a Good Fatty, who at least had the “decency” to hate herself for being fat and pretends to be working hard to achieve the perfect bod. However, I suddenly felt confident enough to speak out about my feelings around Fat Shaming.*
I invite you to read my original Facebook thoughts (now with pictures and a few edits for clarity):
“So, I was checking out the #Fatkini trend on Twitter, because I am sincerely trying to fall in love with my body, both as the chariot that carries me around and as a simple fact of my existence.
I am fat, and have been pretty consistently since I was very young, despite dieting, exercising, and hating myself. Anyway, along my #Fatkini travels, I came across the following post on Twitter: “Put it away you morbidly obese, sweaty, dirty humans and crack on down the gym!” And HERE’s what I think of that:
I strive every day to excel at my job and in my relationships; I volunteer in my community (including walking all around my town for hours in summer heat delivering flyers); I try to be good to my family and friends and offer them all the love and support I can; and I worry EVERY DAY that I’m not enough, that I could be doing more. (I may sound like I’m bragging, but I think these actions of mine are relevant here.)
Despite all these traits, I know that when I go out in public, I am often judged as lazy, unhealthy, and generally some kind of degenerate because of the way I look. That sort of thing hurts my feelings, because I am NOT only my body size. Even IF being fat were inherently a bad thing (which health studies don’t necessarily back up), I refuse to be measured by my body size alone, instead of the complete, striving human being that I am.
That’s right: even if I do something commonly perceived as unhealthy or “wrong”, like eating fried chicken or ice cream, or sitting on the couch watching tv all weekend, there is SO MUCH MORE TO ME than what I choose to eat and whether I choose to spend time on a treadmill.
This daughter, sister, auntie, wife, employee and volunteer has a generous heart, a keen intellect, and a sharp sense of humour. Being overweight is only one of my MANY traits.”
In case you are interested in learning more about the Body Love movement, there are a couple of blogs you can visit. The Militant Baker, written by “A mental health professional, pastry chef, ex-art major, crazy cat lady, fat model, fiery advocate, and total pain in the ass.” and my friend Rad Amy’s blog (which has been a great inspiration to me).
*Speaking of increased confidence, I’ve recently experienced dramatically reduced phone anxiety ; I actually answer my phone now, with very little hesitation! See The Nervous Nelly to get an idea of my baseline in that regard.