I am not fat. (Viewer discretion advised)

When I talk about my ADD I try to be careful to make the distinction that I have it, not that I AM it.  I’ve blogged about it before.  Someone posted on facebook recently a sentence that, after it had a little time to sink in, really made my stop and think. What they posted was:

Fine, I have fat, not I am fat.

At first I dismissed it a little. Yes, of course, that makes sense. So? But it refused to give up as easily as that and niggled around in my brain, tapping at neurons until I paid more attention to it. Right. Okay. Yes. It’s kind of obvious once you think about it, isn’t it? I have fat. It does not define me. As much as our thin obsessed society would like me to think otherwise, I am not fat. I have fat. I have fat on my body. Some of which, maybe even most, I’d like to take off of my body. I am working at doing so. But in the meantime I am resolved to love my body for the beauty that it holds now.

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I have fat. That little word has no bearing on myself as a person. It has nothing to do with my heart, my soul, my sexiness, my womanliness, my abilities as a mother, as a spouse, or as an artist.

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I think that our media and society has fetishized thinness to point where people have trouble believing that any variation is attractive at all. It’s hard to envision yourself as beautiful when society holds up a picture of what beauty is and you don’t match it. We have swallowed the line heard so often; that we ARE fat and that being fat is a failing. The truth is that having fat is not a failing. Even if you want to lose weight or fitten up, it is possible to love yourself and your body now. In fact, you must. The way you talk to yourself colors the entirety of your experience. If you are hateful toward your body it won’t work with you it will work against you. You need to love your body into a new shape.

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I wonder if it would be easier to turn down a “fatty” dessert if you could just say, “No, thanks. I already have enough fat.” As opposed to drawing it in to the fatness that you ARE because you can’t separate yourself from your fat. Hard to say. But it’s sure as hell worth a try.

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A funny thing happened yesterday. I was on Pinterest and ended up spending 15 or 20 minutes looking a a couple of boards in promotion of Curvy women. After just that little amount of time had a big effect on my perception of my own body.

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Just that small amount of time looking a big beautiful women let me see in me some of the things that I considered beautiful about them. Imagine if that could happen all of the time. If women of every beauty type across the broad spectrum were regularly represented in mainstream media. If your culture said that you were beautiful, too.

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It is hard to imagine it.

What if our young men saw that it was okay to find more than one type of woman attractive? What if it was not considered a fetish to be attracted to bigger people? What if we allowed people to love who they love without labels?

What if I told you you’re beautiful?

What if you knew it already because you didn’t have to fight so hard against society’s cookie cutter idea of beauty?

What if I am not fat? What if I have fat?

What if it doesn’t really matter that much if I do?

Fat. and other bad words.

People are obsessed with being skinny. This is not surprising given our unrealistic, media driven culture. I don’t want to be skinny. Personally I find very skinny people look unhealthy and wish that they would eat a bit more. The other part of wanting to be skinny is driven by the health industry. We all know how much more healthy it is not to carry too much weight. Honestly, you’d have to live in a cave not to have heard of all the dangers of being heavy. I in no way dispute that. That’s why my goal is to become more fit and strong and get down to a more healthy weight.

But that doesn’t make it okay for people to bandy about words like fat or obese.

I’ve heard Oprah say that it’s one of the last things it’s okay to discriminate against. I agree that many people seem to be harshly judgmental about overweight people and fairly callous in their use of words about it. If you wouldn’t walk up to them and talk about their fatness or obesity, then don’t, please, talk to me about it. Or talk around me about it. If you wouldn’t walk up and talk to me about my weight, then please don’t talk to anyone else about it. If you can engage me (or them) in a respectful dialogue about your concerns about my (their) health, then you’ve done a lot more to promote healthy behaviors than ever will be accomplished by name calling.

And that’s what it is.

Name Calling.

Maybe you say obese because that is a medical term and that makes it okay. Yeah, it really doesn’t.

I’m overweight. I’m heavy. I need to increase my fitness and yes, decrease my fat. But many times weight issues (too little or too much) are about far more than just eating. They are complex topics that are intertwined with emotions and power and control as well as hormones and genetics and lifestyle.

There are beautiful people of every weight, shape and size. So let’s try to be a little more aware of the power of our words. Let’s try to give each other the benefit of the doubt and treat each other with kindness first and foremost.