A few months ago, I wrote It’s Awesome to be Fat over at Aiming Low.
It was meant to be as bold as it sounds. Rarely, if ever, do awesome and fat go together because hating on fatness – whether perceived or true – is a full time job for most folks.
Us fatties are draining your health care dollars, blinding you with our ugliness, and being far too lazy. We need to, according to the shame police, quit crying about it and get on a treadmill and put down the pizza. Or, open up our bodies and have a doctor come at us with a staple gun or a rubber band to make everything all right.
My mother has been on a diet her entire life. She’s thin and has always been thin. But, if you asked her, there were a few fat years that scared her into a lifetime diet of grapefruits and no carbs and vodka. When I was a child, she used to reference Stevie Nicks going to the “fat farm.”
The fat farm wasn’t a place where they grew fat, it was – I guess – a place to get lipo or sweat away the pounds on a mountain. I think my mother thought it was heaven: you mean gypsies AND Stevie?!
When you grow up as a girl, fear of fatness is all around you. Whether it’s in a reference to an amazing singer going to a fat farm or when, with the best intentions, you’re put on a diet in elementary school, or when boys come around and realize that they can’t punch you, but they can certainly get to every girl just by calling her fat.
When I became a mother I believed in God for three seconds and asked, of all the issues I was certain to face, that an issue with food not be one of them.
My daughter is fat.
And I do not believe in God.
I don’t know, I’m still thinking about it. But she’s still fat.
I went to a doctor who told us to lock our cabinets, our family has been recommended by both public and private schools to seek out a program that teaches us how to eat and once an emergency room nurse told me by daughter would certainly die of diabetes.
Fat, in my house, is not shameful. It is who we are. We are fat.
I do not talk about diets with my daughter and I have never put her on one. When she came home from school and told me that another child said she had a pregnant belly I told her that she did. And that I did too and that we – the two of us – are awesome just as we are.
She is not bullied at school and she’s in the fourth grade. I shouldn’t be surprised at this, but I am. The children at her various schools (she’s been to three) like my daughter just the way she is. I like her that way, too. And so does she.
Do you like you just as you are?
Jennifer Livingston, the news anchor from of WKBT-TV in Wisconsin, laid the smack down on an occasional viewer that wrote this to her:
Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.
I could deconstruct this for days and my grand opus would amount to: what woman hasn’t experienced this same comment except dressed in another form? Was it your mother, your friend, yourself, the guys on the street? And I’m only talking about today.
I really wish Jennifer Livingston gave her stellar response while eating a cheeseburger. Or nachos. Anything, really. The bigger point is this: the bodies of women and girls are not open for public comment.
People who feel compelled to climb the mountain and enter a glass house are throwing their own stones. Believe this when you look in the mirror. You – as you are – are just fabulous.
Without losing a pound. Without praying to God. Without going to the fat farm.
Wear something tight today. Something that’s sleeveless or with a belt. Don’t cover who you are.
Don’t waste one tear. One pound on them. We like you, just as you are.