Being Fat | an Introduction
It took me a while to admit this, but my journey to letting myself be fat began in yoga class.
I was laying on the mat near the end of class, staring at the ceiling and it felt like I was being swallowed up. I was near tears. My body hadn't bent the way I wanted it to bend. When I leaned down to reach my toes, there was a stupid stomach in the way.
It wasn't even a yoga studio, it was just the local Y, and yet...I was the fattest person in the room. Which is NOT uncommon in a yoga class (but that's a whole other blog post). If you've ever had the most ANYTHING in the room...you know what it feels like to want to make yourself as small as possible.
They say that an abusive relationship makes you feel small, makes your world smaller. A healthy one makes your world expand and grow.
An abusive relationship makes you feel small, makes your world feel smaller.
I was in an abusive relationship with myself and the world. It wanted me to be smaller, and I agreed with it. Be smaller, I told myself, as I pressed into child's pose. Be smaller, I said, as I squeezed into the airplane seat and clenched my thighs together. Be smaller, I warned, as I tried to find a pair of jeans in an actual store.
Just, be fucking smaller.
This was it, I told myself. I couldn't be fat anymore, it was time to be skinny. So that I could do yoga. And also so that I wouldn't feel shitty about myself. Oh, and so that I could finally start to do everything I'd always feared doing because I was fat and fat people shouldn't do anything that makes them stand out any more than they already do.
I went home and hugged my husband and half-cried into his shoulder about how frustrated I was with being fat. A side note that my husband has NEVER asked me to lose weight, expected me to be anything other than what I am, and I am eternally grateful to him for loving me as I am. I know I'm privileged to have this type of support, and I hope there are significant other's reading this that feel a conviction to meet their people exactly where they're at.
I was going to go on a low-carb diet and start excising as much as I did when I lost 12 pounds the year previous--which meant at least two hours of working out a day (because that’s what it takes, in conjunction with only eating 1500 calories a day, for my body to lose weight). I made a chart of rewards (non food obvs) for every 10 pounds I lost--100 pounds was my goal. I was going to do it! Finally! I'd be skinny and worthy of happiness!
You think I'm joking. You think that when a fat girl decides to lose weight, the first thing she thinks isn't 'i'm going to be happy', but it is. Because the American society (and beyond) has told her over and over and over again that she shouldn't be happy if she's fat.
I went low carb--I ate 1500 calories a day and 30 grams of carbs.
Within a few days, I'd lost pounds, but I'd also lost all energy. That's okay, the diets told me. You'll lose energy because carbs gave you energy. It's fine, just eat some healthy fats, like avocado. So I ate avocado. Still, people kept asking if I was okay. You're different, they said. You seem sad.
I'm tired. I told them. But I've lost __ number of pounds, I'd add, like that made it okay. Like being unhappy, unfulfilled, and tired was just the initial cost to losing weight. I was willing to give up SO MUCH just for the opportunity to be thin.
It wasn't just happiness and energy and food I liked that I gave up, it was time. SO MUCH TIME spent exercising in ways that I didn't even enjoy. All the TIME prepping foods, shopping for foods, thinking about food, suppressing hunger because food was the enemy. Time that took away from my business, my writing, my reading, time with my husband...the list goes on.
Then, I watched the Embrace documentary (recommended to me by my good friend Tonie Christine). It talked about loving and embracing your body for everything that it was. It showed people who had all kinds of bodies and insecurities and abilities, and how they'd embraced themselves.
It was the first time in my life I thought, 'maybe I don't have to hate myself'. No diet had ever done that. Every diet had said it would take my money, my energy, my time and give me only something else to be insecure about.
LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN FOR THOSE IN THE BACK--diets already take so much from you, and when you've reached your goal, they will give you another goal post up ahead by showing you another area of your life where you DO NOT MEET UNREALISTIC STANDARDS.
Because we live in a capitalistic society and they want your money.
No exercise routine had ever given me permission to love myself the way this documentary did. Diet culture said, you're still not as skinny as the girl on the tv. You're still going to have to do this for another hour today to even level out what you owe the world.
Nothing had ever given me permission to love myself, and I realized, I'd been looking for validation in the world, in society's standards, and what Embrace taught me was that the only validation I needed...was my own. You Embrace YOURSELF and then you embrace the world.
This was only the beginning, of course. I still had so much to figure out, so much to read. I'll be learning and struggling and growing for the rest of my life. I know I have so much more growth in store for me in learning about myself and loving myself and being compassionate towards others. The really cool thing is I'm no longer waiting to be skinny to do any of it. That word 'skinny' can be exchanged for whatever is holding you back.
I'm no longer waiting to be _______ to do ______ . Fill in your blanks.