I'm beginning to have visions of what it would be like to be a smaller person. Like, what it might be like to be more slender, to bend at the waist without all of that flesh there, or what it's like to do leg lifts without extra weight pressing down on my thighs from my abdomen. Not judgmental thoughts about myself, but curious thoughts, like what was it like to live in the 17th century, or what is it like to have a penis?
I just don’t know, I’ve never had any of these experiences.
I have thought about weight loss before, obviously. I’m not sure you can be a human in modern society without that indoctrination at some point. But I don't think that in the past I have ever spent any significant amount of time visualizing what exactly that would look and feel like, physically. I mean, of course I've thought about just being "skinny" and what that would mean for me socially, like, as a kid. I wouldn't get made fun of anymore, and I would be instantly popular because I was sure it was just my weight that mattered there. (Yikes, poor kid.) And then I’d bring the New Kids on the Block in for show and tell, and Joey would be my boyfriend, and I got all A’s in school, and...
Ahem, ‘scuse me, this isn’t about that. Right.
Then as an adolescent who did Jenny Craig, and went to fat camp, and a college student, it was like, “well, if I could just lose weight, man, I'd be popular and I'd find love so easily, and no guy would be able to resist me.” Because obviously if I were skinny, it wouldn't be a level playing field for all of those girls who didn't have my hero's wound of former fatness. Seriously, old schema die hard. So then I was a grad student, still wanted to lose weight, but it also started to be a part of who I was, like I was just doing it at that point because I hated my body. No thinking about why really, I just did, I was fat, that's how I as a fat person knew to participate in the world. I wasn't supposed to be fat because THEY say so (you know, THEY). The media spends incredible amounts of money on convincing people that they're fat, and that fat is bad, so yeah, I was a weight watcher, and a "good fatty" so everyone knew that I knew my body was unacceptable, and that I was trying hard to change it. Good fatty.
Then I met my fat soulmates. Thank fucking goodness I did. When I met them, it was the first time I'd ever learned to give myself permission to just BE. I don't know what it was about the way it was presented, and I don't know why I chose to search for fat acceptance on the internet that day. But in those moments, I decided to just look at myself in the mirror, and take cute selfies on my laptop, and that was me. That was me saying to myself that I didn't require fixing-- at least beyond the mindset that my body was wrong with me. I was just lovely as is, and at some point in there, in the years I spent on the message board with these soulmates, I adopted the feelings fully. I knew that my body is beautiful, and I don't need to change it. What a freeing thing it was. I was 25, 420 pounds, and someone said to me, "God, you're pretty." And then I began to remember to say to myself, "God, you're pretty." Three words, and I don't know that they will ever understand the impact that statement made. I will forever be grateful to them, because in that moment, I just gave myself the permission to be free. I am so grateful for my message board soulmates, and everything I still learn from them.
So I didn't have to be a "good fatty" anymore. I didn't have to diet, I didn't have to apologize for eating. I didn't have to apologize for taking up space, and I didn't have to apologize for being fat in someone's presence. There’s no chance in hell I’m ever going back to body hate. And for those keeping count, I didn’t gain weight when I started loving myself. I actually began losing.
So now here I am. In my late thirties, and losing some weight while eschewing the diet industry. Maybe that’s not a thing that works together in others’ minds for a variety of reasons, but for me, it’s a thing, and it’s on purpose.
I’m losing weight, but not because I hate my body, not because I can't have sugar, not because my doctor says I'm unhealthy (she doesn't, and damn right I have a fat friendly doctor). I'm working on losing weight because I want to have more adventures, period. I'm working on my stamina and my strength, because I want to hike the Grand Canyon. THE WHOLE GRAND CANYON. If I can do that at this 350 pounds, awesome! But right now, I don’t have the physical strength and stamina to do that. Also, I’m legit scared of falling. Mercifully, when I've fallen down the stairs a couple times recently, I’ve gotten out of it fairly easily, at least in terms of long-term injury. I fractured my ankle, and got tons of bumps and bruises, but I didn't hit my head, I didn't break a leg, and I didn't permanently immobilize myself. But I am SO sick of being scared of falling. I don't know if I'm more prone to it because of my weight, but I am terrified of it because of my weight. So let's not hit up the Grand Canyon and fall the fuck off because I'm top heavy, okay? (It’s okay to laugh here, that was a funny statement.)
To be clear, I very much believe that one does not have to be of average or smaller size to have adventures. I do not want that fact to be misconstrued. Also, my endeavors have absolutely nothing to do with my worth, my status, my success, my mood on any given day, or the beliefs of others.
I'm losing weight because at the present time, my physical discomfort is getting in the way of some things that I want to do, and some places I want to go. That is NOTHING for ANYONE to feel bad about.
It isn't right that one has to lose weight, be smaller or join the diet industry in order to have the same access to the world that others have.
WE SHOULD ALL BE ABLE TO GO. The world wouldn't be worse for wear by creating space for fat people to sit too. Listen, there’s space to spare. Larger bodies shouldn't be more expensive to live with. There shouldn't be the insistence of purchasing second seats on planes. MAKE BIGGER FUCKING SEATS. This isn’t a difficult equation. It makes me physically ill that there are those that feel entitled to treat fat people like non-people because someone discovered there was money to be made in teaching others to feel less-than.
I cannot imagine being the person who came up with that concept. What is it like to live with so little love in your heart? What void did that money fill?
I’m so sick of fear and anxiety related to living fatly in a world built for only the smaller of us. While I know I travel a very thin line between FIGHT THE MAN, and DRINK THE DIET KOOL-AID (which I did as a fat child, don’t judge), I feel like it’s important to point out that when I say “Us” I mean all of us. There was this artificial division drawn when the decision to decry certain body qualities as bad, or people as less deserving than others when they possess those body qualities. The division isn’t real. We will live in this world, these countries, these states, in your city, in my neighborhood together, and I am still fat. Most of us, really, are still going to be fat. Fat, slender, lumpy, tall, much shorter than average, colors, creeds, beliefs, we’re still an all of us. An Us. The division that shadows our connections isn’t a real thing. We don’t even have to get out of bed to destroy it. There’s no wall to tear down, there’s no barrier to climb over or tunnel under. We really are all a people that share a world, space, and love, and we’re not all that different.
We don’t need to act like we come from different planets. We literally don’t.