Too Fat For Life. CN: Eating disorder mentions, weight loss, trauma.

First story time.

Once upon a time yours truly was a (as I thought then) super fat fat fatty teenager who was in fact too fat to live. A large part of why I felt this way included:

  • I was not “thin”
  • I did not have a flat stomach.
  • My thighs touched.
  • The culture of my community, made no bones about fatness.
  • Anxiety fueled food disordered behavior.
  • Budding exercise addiction.

Among other things.

I have a distinct memory of a friend talking about how enormous another girl was. HOw she was just SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH a cow. Y’all know, I remember I must’ve pulled a face because I was absolutely a larger person than the girl in question. I don’t remember precisely but I feel like I probably said something like, so what do you think of me and was reassured of my prettiness.

For reference, I was 5’2 and at that point weight about 140 pounds or so. I’ve always been thickly built. Even when I was in the lowest percentile for height, I’ve always had big muscly thighs, etc. In my mind, I was in fact about to drop dead of fatness. Mind you, this was before the Fat Panic swept the world and every other health article wasn’t screaming OH SHIT WE HAVE NO REAL PROOF BUT U GONNA DIE FATASS!

 

After a period of intense attempts at weightloss, I arrived at fuck it. Not a good kind of fuck it. More the, well I’m fat and ugly anyway so I’m gonna do what I wanna do. I decided that summer to run. I got kitted up and started running. The first time I was running, I was chugging my way up a hill and a carload of grown men, slowed to call me fatass, call me a fat bitch and throw garbage at me.

They went around again because I had nowhere to go, did the same thing and I went home in terrified tears.

Fast forward a few years to my first gym membership, I was about the same weight and my second time going, a few older women in the locker room had a long conversation about how unfortunate my body was. I was something like 20 or so and I felt violated.

Another attempt at being a runner later on, more trash thrown. Yelled at. Told to go home. Called a bitch, told to go die.

Fast forward more and I’m fatter and on the internet.

One of my first outfit photos, I found it was taken and used to build a base to make fun of me from.

And the thing is, I’ve never really been that fat. The fattest I’ve been is relatively small fat. Granted, back in the day the availability of clothing for me was very limited but I made do. When I first dabbled in body politics, I had full awareness that I had it far easier than my death fat friends. I didn’t know the term privilege but I understood and respected the concept.

As we head towards Christmas and the post-Thanksgiving OH SHIT U SUCK season, let’s talk about some things that aren’t true.

There is the theory that if you are fat, seem fat, are fat, are really fucking fat that you should be doing the following:

  • LOSE WEIGHT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
  • HATE YOURSELF INTO LOSING WEIGHT
  • LISTEN TO EVERY SHITBIRD THEORY ABOUT WHY YOU’RE FAT
  • DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOUSE
  • DON’T EVER HAVE A GOOD TIME
  • DON’T GET CAUGHT EATING
  • DON’T GET CAUGHT ENJOYING ANYTHING

If you are Fat, you must always be miserable, self hating, and not be visible to anyone ever for any reason.

You should also if you are a woman, be as femme as possible at all times. You should “at least” have a socially acceptable hourglass type shape but still hate yourself. You should always say, I’m sexy because obviously any one who is a woman and who is fat should be grateful anyone thinks they are attractive but also, you should still hate yourself. You should hate yourself SO MUCH you don’t buy nice clothes. Sackcloth only. You should hate yourself so much, you continuously talk about hating your body and your fatness while you’re also only nibbling a tic tac in public because OMG.

If you are going to be fat, you have to be a Good Fat. You should always start every conversation with, “I’m fat but” insert next bit here. I exercise, I’m a vegan I’m blablabla NOT A BAD FATTY.

You should believe ever click bait sketchily researched “study” that says, YOU GONNA DIE FATASS. You should buy EVERY MIRACLE FRUIT THAT WILL LITERALLY MELT THE POUNDS OFF.

The thing is, the lies we’re told when we’re fat are legion. At the bottom of them, is this.

If you are fat you should not live in the broadest sense of the word.

If the “fat diesases” don’t kill you right this instant, than well fuck you.

The proof of the base lie is that if you are fat and objectively “doing something” as in you’re exercising, talking about wanting access to size 32 active wear, talking about the cost of said active wear if you can find it, talking about access to good food etc- you are still not allowed to just exist.

That is the lie of the Good Vs Bad Fatty dichotomy.

I was inspired to write this by a news story where another fat model in fitness clothing doing fitness, was shamed. There was another one where a famous fat runner was on the cover of a running magazine, photographed while running, and then trolled mercilessly WHILE SHE WAS RUNNING A FUCKING MARATHON- because she’s fat.

My fat friends.

I’m talking to you. Non fat folks, pay attention but this ain’t about you.

My fat friends.

If you are struggling with your own fatness, it’s okay.

You don’t have to be 100% fat accepting or whatever all the time.

You are allowed to be fat and just exist.

All this other shit, the bullshit trolls say, the bullshit you might hear from family at get togethers, the New Year New Me diet push that’s coming, etc etc is just shit.

It is all lies.

This is also heavily on my mind because as I’ve mentioned in the past few years I lost weight. In the ER in October, I was weighed and it turns out I weigh a lot less than I thought. I felt pride for two seconds until, you know what?

The type of people who back in the day when I was a lot fatter could only call me a fat bitch to argue with me, are the same type of people who reach for it now.

I believe in bodily autonomy and you can do whatever you want with your body.

I also believe that narrowing your life to numbers on a scale, a pants size or the idea that there is a right weight for existence and living life is not good for you.

You can be fat and live.

You can.

And in living, if you wanna take up jogging or belly dancing or wanna sit on the couch and eat nachos, you’re allowed because you are your own person.

I don’t say this lightly.

I don’t believe in hate change.

I’m talking about self-hate, hate from outside all of it. Changing because of hate will back fire. I’ve seen it in my own life, my friends lives. I’ve known people who died because they fueled their eating disorders with hate and there was never time to let themselves live.

I’m not saying you have to be all love and sunshine. Nah that’s unrealistic.

I’m saying, instead of buying into the lies get into what they fuel in you and work out how to not use that hate to punish yourself.

I guess, what I want you to know is that you can live.

LIVE.

Some stuff will be harder for some of us for physical or mental reasons. That’s okay. It doesn’t make any of our experiences less valid just different.

As we head into a new year and there’s going to be so much shaming shitty shit in the world, brace yourselves. Start talking to yourself about this before shit gets dire you know?

There’ll be more.

That’s all right now.

 

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About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.
This entry was posted in body politics, fat acceptance, fatness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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