I can't remember a time when I wasn't fat. I think my earliest memory of knowing I was fat was when the neighbor girls and I were playing in the sprinkler and the youngest girl called me FAT. I was devastated. In elementary school, older kids on the bus called me "fat" and "Miss Piggy" (I have a piggy nose). My Grandmother loved to point out that my Sister and I were over weight. I can still hear her telling me how many calories and grams of fat are in a grilled cheese. By junior high I had stopped wearing shorts and only wore men's shirts because it hid more of my arms. In high school my uniform was a hoodie and jeans, no matter what the weather. My mother taught us to hide our stomach and rolls by dressing in "appropriate clothing" and that anything else wasn't considered "ok". I was at my thinnest my Senior year of High School. I had just recovered from major reconstructive jaw surgery so I couldn't really eat for three months. How sad that this made me happy because I lost weight and I might, just might, get a date.
Flash forward to 2018. I am on the cusp of 35 and I am fatter then ever. Did I mention happier than ever?
Being fat has never stopped me from doing anything I have wanted to do or accomplish in my life. I have a successful job, I have had plenty of attractive men (even landed myself a pretty hot husband) and I have given birth to a beautiful, smart, healthy boy. So what is going on here? Why does society want me to be sad, smelly and depressed because I am fat?
I came across an interesting phrase, and I know I am a little late on this (forgive this non-millennial for being late to the party) on Instagram about a year ago. Body Positivity. What is Body Positivity? I can tell you that Urban Dictionary defines Body Positivity as "Accepting your body as it is and attempting to make everyone else feel comfortable in their own skin as well.". I found a lot of similar definitions to this in an article by ALYSSE DALESSANDRO where she interviewed influencers and activists in 2016. I can also say that the definitions were interesting and varied from person to person. So what is Body Positivity? Is it a movement for all bodies or just fat people?
Fat acceptance started in the 1960's. It seems that Body Positivity was a new surge in the movement of fat acceptance but has taken a strange turn. It has moved from focusing on bodies that are marginalized in society to a self love movement of loving the skin your in. Also an excuse to take scantly clad photos of your body on Instagram for shameless self promotion (according to Urban Dictionary LOL). It has been taken up by the fashion industry to sell us more crap and abused by social media. So now begins the fight to take it back. I was inspired to write this because of a post I read from one of my favorite people in the fat acceptance movement, Corrisa from Fat Girl Flow. She posted on her Instagram;
Girls Gotta Eat!!
So, what do I do as a fat woman in society in the wake of the Body Positivity movement? Do I wear crop tops and flip people the bird who stare and make nasty comments? That I don't have an answer for yet. What I do know is that this is something very personal and something I am getting increasingly more passionate about.
You might ask "What can I do?", well you can stop discriminating against people because of their size and start recognizing people for people. We are not defined by the skin suits we wear but by our hearts. Kindness and awareness is where it begins. This is in no way the last post on this topic. I believe I will have much more to say on Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance as I learn more and get to know my fellow "Fatties" in this growing community.