Happy New Year!!! (sorta)
As much as I love the beginning of a new year, a part of me also hates it. For the months of December and January we (women specifically) are bombarded with weight loss advertisements. Whether it is from a diet program or popular gyms, it is near impossible to go through a one minute set of commercials on television and not see one such during the holidays. It has increasingly been this way since the ’80s when the whole exercise, once fad – now multi-billion business mantra , took off. As always, ordering us to make it a part of our New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
There’s been an amazing fat-lash of sorts these past few years via notable blogs, websites and well known fat advocates shinning a very bright light on how the general public sees and treats (or more specifically mistreats) the fat person. And also what we, the fat people, can do to help ourselves and others accept, live and thrive as people who just happen to be fat.
HAES (Health At Every Size) has a wonderful campaign for January which I took to heart.
The following is my current Facebook profile picture and status update:
“I’m part of the New Year’s REVolution! My profile pic is an image that reminds me to love my body and screen out all the negative bullshit the diet industry tell us how we should feel about our bodies, our beauty, and our worth. Instead of New Year’s Resolution this year, what is your New Year’s REVOLUTION? Join the New Year’s Revolution and visit HAES Inspiration! http://2011revolutions.blogspot.com”
One of my friends bemoaned in a comment how she wishes more people believed in the words of my status. What got to me were further comments on how some of her friends spend so much time in tears during the holidays at the barrage of crap from family regarding their weight. They take what their respective families say to them to heart and begin to believe these hateful things. Having been a part of that myself I fully get it.
- You’re never going to get a man with that gut.
- If you lost weight we wouldn’t hear you stomping from a mile away.
- Those pants would look so nice on you if your thighs weren’t so thick.
Not to mention the non-verbal passive-aggressive crap.
- Serve my food a seven-inch dinner plate, as though I won’t notice everyone else has the nine-inch plates.
- Cutting looks at public functions daring me to consent to more food when asked.
- Look at a pretty dress in the size 8 rack, hold it out against my considerably not size 8 body knowing it was the wrong size when she picked it out, then put it back on the rack with an exaggerated sigh.
Yes, family can be your best support system, but as every fat kid knows, they can also e the bane of your existence. Friends we can tell where to get off when we don’t like what they say; also we have the option to break off that friendship, if the respect is not forth coming. Even extended family gives us the recourse to simply not be around the more negative ones once we reach adulthood. However, there is no getting away from our immediate family. These very people who should always have our backs are often the ones who hold the sharpest knives in stabbing us in it. If you’re lucky a heartfelt talk may be all that is needed to get on the path to having a better relationship with your family. For others, a complete emotional and physical removal is the only choice.
It is a drastic choice and a hard one to uphold. I remember about three years ago I watched as a friend slowly removed herself from her mother’s arms and walked away in tears saying “I told you never again and I meant it.” And this was at a mutual friend’s funeral. I found out later that in the midst of the hug the mother had made an unacceptable comment on her size. Take into account that the funeral was the time my friend had seen or spoken to her mother in nearly two years, yet even there she stuck to her guns would not tolerate it. It took over three years of estrangement to get there, but the two get along much better now. I have no idea if the mother changed her feelings about her daughter’s size, but she at least changed how she treated her child, now very much a grown woman, and that was enough.
Unfortunately, for most, changing the attitudes of your families about your fat is near impossible. If you’re in a position where you have no choice but to deal with your family just remember the only power they have over your heart is the power you give them. The choice to not internalize the hurtful, and for some out right hateful, things said and/or done is your own. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If you put yourself through changes to make anyone other than the person staring back at you in the mirror happy, you will fail and likely hate more yourself in the process. Therefore, the only attitude you can change is your own. Accept your size. Love and appreciate the body you have and work with it. Acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes FOR YOU, not anyone else.
To paraphrase something I’ve told another friend regarding weight —
What you need to remember to keep in your heart more is that, no matter how high or low the number, that which makes you a person, is never going to be found on your scale.
That’s my New Year’s REVolution – what’s yours?