Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fat is Beautiful


I'm fat. Overweight. Large. Big boned. Chunky. There are so many euphemisms for this... condition...is that what this is? A condition? I've spent a good amount of my life hating my body. Others have expressed that hatred, dislike, or discomfort to me too. People have said, "Just eat less." It's been suggested to me to attend a diet meeting, or read a book on this diet or that. All of these "helpful" suggestions have come to me uninvited. I've tried diets...lots of them. I've hidden my body. I've felt shame about my body. I've skipped out on things because I felt like I was too big to participate. For me, taking part in these diets always came because someone else thought I should. Change came from fear and shame.


This weekend, I turned 45. In reflecting upon this past year, I spent much of my 44th year working on loving myself...just as I am. Before I do anything else, I must love myself. I did lots of writing, reading, and reflecting. I noticed something. I started to fall in "like" with myself (not quite love, yet). My inner voice became more forgiving and shared nurturing and comforting words instead of blaming and shaming. I found myself braver than I'd been in a long time. I went swimming...in a bathing suit...and I loved it. When I looked at myself in a mirror, I noticed the beauty instead of the flaws.


I read Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker and it made quite an impression! I read it digitally so no one would see the title and then I was at a conference where Penny Kittle was asking what everyone was reading. I scrunched down in my seat for a moment until she mentioned she was reading Shrill by Lindy West. I decided to share what I was reading with the group. Bravely, I raised my hand and told the whole room about the book I was reading. I felt empowered.


Being fat is misunderstood. For so many, it's still an accepted way to judge others. People hide behind the message of health and continue to judge. They say:


Being fat means I'm not as pretty.
Being fat means I'm not worthy of love.
Being fat means I'm invisible.
Being fat means I'm lazy.
Being fat means I lack self-control or self-discipline.
Being fat means I don't love God enough because I am not protecting my body.


ENOUGH. I'm done. Here's what I say...

Don't tell me I'm not fat. Being fat isn't bad.
Don't tell me I look good because it looks like I've lost weight. I look good because I look good. Words matter.
YOU do not get to call me names.
YOU do not get to judge me.
YOU do not get to shame me.
YOU do not get to tell me how to fix myself.
I am worthy of love.
I am pretty.
I matter.
I am loved by God, just as I am.
You don't know my story. Ask me. Listen. Look beyond and get to know me.


This week, I had to sit and listen to a speaker say that being fat means the person has "no self-control" and "no self-discipline". It was disguised as help. That doesn't help. I need to love myself. We all need to love ourselves. Judgment doesn't help. As soon as I heard those words, I tuned out. I heard nothing that followed that. I need to protect myself. Comparison is toxic and sends me down a dangerous path.


Let's all work on loving ourselves...just as we are. Let's offer help...only when asked. Let's see the beauty in people of all sizes. Let's work on listening to everyone's story.

I'm fat but I'm so much more!



Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

24 comments:

  1. So often your words seem to be just what I need to hear. I need to take your message to heart for my own good. I love your always honesty. Thanks!

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  2. A beautiful call to action! Thank you for being brave. ❤️

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  3. Beautiful post, Michelle. Thank you. 💛

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  4. I mostly know you through your words (other than our quick hug and meet at NCTE), and your words are always beautiful.
    Kevin

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  5. A beautiful post Michelle! Thanks for being brave enough to share it!

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  6. Thanks for this brave post, Michelle.

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  7. Your words today are an act of self-care. Health comes with care and compassion, not shaming and naming. Great post!

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  8. I am struggling to find the words to describe the joy this brought me this morning. It is as beautiful as you are. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

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  9. I love your words. This being fat thing is such a bizarre phenomenon, isn't it? I can't stand it, but I work on other things instead because being fat doesn't really define me. It's how other people define me, I guess, so I feel like it should be more important. This article by my friend Kelly is one you should read http://www.ravishly.com/2017/01/03/what-its-be-biggest-girl-gym

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  10. When I finally accepted me for who I am/was - at least mostly! - I found the inner stuff I needed to do what I needed for my weight/health. THEN, and only THEN, did the weight come off. God gives us what we need - even fat sometimes - to make sure we are concentrating on what is really important! I think He says something like, "Hey, are you listening to me, or are you just sitting there hating your fat? Because I still love you, and you have other stuff to do. So crawl out of your self and do it!"
    I know the story, and history, of being "overweight" very well.
    Thanks for sharing this post. It means so much to me and others!

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  11. "I'm so much more..." - these words are important for all of us. We are so much more than our physical appearance!

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  12. I love this and I love you! You are amazing. -Emma Deal

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  13. I'm so proud of you for RISING and writing about this. You already know your words resonate with me. LOVE YOU!!!

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  14. You go girl! And Happy Birthday, too! I hope you had a wonderful day.

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  15. More power to you, Michelle. Your words ring true and On National Compliment Day, I honor you for your brave voice. Stay true to yourself because you are a loving person with much to offer.

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  16. BRAVO Michelle. You are brave and courageous.
    Bonnie

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  17. I share your call to action. Our weight, hair style, nail polish, clothes.....our partnerships, children, immaculate homes, lavish trips, great cars......do not define who we are. Our strength, as real people, is in our diversity and our acceptance of the differences among us. Bravo!

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  18. Brave and wise words, Michelle. I know you only as a beautiful person who lives much too far away.

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  19. There is "so much more" to know about a person: the beauty, the kindness, the strength. I never understand how people feel the right to judge another. Your words would be a help to those teens who are leaning into eating disorders because of what' been said to them, Michelle. I hope you share again and again.

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  20. Yes, yes, yes! You have said it perfectly! Thank you for being brave.

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  21. You are rising! Such an amazing way to express your resolve to love yourself! I'm with you! You got this!

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  22. A beautiful and brave post! I am one of those girls too. I have felt what you feel most of my 52 years. It is hard work overcoming the thinking of decades, but. like you, I am learning to love myself as I am.

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  23. I've been feeling "fat" and fat. I like how you broke down all the internal fat talk. I need to let go of it all, or I might never find peace. Thank you for sharing.

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