So lately I’ve been super inspired by fat girls. And I don’t mean the word fat in the negative typical way that you all are thinking. I’m talking about girls who are fat. Ok, I know that doesn’t sound any better to you, but honestly fat just describes them. It’s an adjective, it’s a word that I use to describe myself, not negatively, not postitively, just a descriptive word. There is no quantifying fat in my mind. There is no fat that is good and fat that is bad. There is just fat. Period. Because if we make it good and bad then that messes with a fat girls head and their image of themselves. And that’s already been fucked with enough. Right?
These girls that I’m talking about can be found hidden behind hashtags, posting in their fashion blogs, and on communities on tumblr and Instagram. They are claiming themselves fat, using hashtags like #fatshion and #fatspiration. They are using the word fat, simply as a way as identifying themselves within the community. The community of women on the internet that are unapologetically taking FULL BODY selfies in their bathroom mirrors and posting them on the whole internet! And I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me.
Growing up my mom was fat, she still is fat. My dad is fat and my two older brothers are fat. My dad’s mom was fat and his dad was fat. His sister was fat and so was my mom’s dad. So is her sister and brother. My Gram (who was never fat) was very critical of fat. She called my mom fat and with held food from her. When I was about 10 my mom went on the Optifast diet and didn’t eat for 3 months. She lost a lot of weight. She gained it all back as soon as she started eating food again. When I got fat I felt badly about my body. I pulled at my stomach in the mirror with tears in my eyes, hoping that I’d magically pull it away. I took diet pills and worked out. I slept with lots of people hoping that was the way to acceptance and love of myself (it wasn’t).
My mom had to shop at Ames because they carried a tiny plus line and also Fashion Bug. Those were her choices in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania aka the middle of nowhere. She could’t get bras in her size, or bathing suits. The clothes were really fucking ugly. It upset her. She wanted to look good! My mother is a beautiful woman. The plus section was always almost hidden in the store it was in some corner somewhere feeling shameful. What does that tell you? That you aren’t important and that your body isn’t worthy of the clothing that is front and center as soon as you walk in.
So what does all of this tell you? If you are fat you should be ashamed, and that being the opposite of fat will make you happy. Well that’s bullshit. I’ve heard this word acceptance a few times and I’ve tossed it around occasionally, but to be honest I didn’t really know how to accept my body until two things happened.
First I had a baby. This post is not about having a baby (that’s another amazing story altogether), but going through the changes of pregnancy and delivering a baby taught me to respect my body in a completely different way.
Second, I saw thousands of women, fat women, looking gorgeous, smiling and enjoying their lives while wearing clothing that suited them and fit their bodies. They posted listings of what they were wearing and where they bought it. Suddenly I had choices and many of them. Recently I decided that I was going to look as good as I could everyday. I put a little more effort into my outfit and makeup. Not a ton, just a little. I started posting photos of my outfits on the internet. I got a bunch of likes, from other fat girls. I joined the community.
I used to rebel against the idea of acceptance of myself coming from the outside of myself but it turns out that just doesn’t work. For me acceptance isn’t telling my reflection that I’m beautiful (although that may work for some people). It’s learning from other fat women who are doing what they want with their lives and looking beautiful all at the same time. It turns out that I was doing that all along but just need some help recognizing it.