Tag Archives: declaration

A FAT Girl’s Manifesto: Why FAT Should Be a Description, Not an Insult

(STOP: By reading below this disclaimer, you are allowing yourself to read a stream of conscious and potentially nonsensical rant. You were warned.)

Like I’ve mentioned before, FAT is not a word I’ve ever associated with myself. In fact, I’ve had a standing policy to judge people who use FAT as a verbal weapon. However, I’ve recently begun to rethink my policy on the word FAT and its implications.

You see, FAT is a word which has shifted from being a physical description (like ‘pink’, ‘slimy’, or ‘colorful’), to being used as an opportunity for abuse and pain. Nowadays, when the average person says FAT, they are not saying it as a harmless descriptive word. They are using it to shame and humiliate any person who could potentially fit the word’s original descriptive meaning.

This humiliation has become widespread and generally accepted because it hides under the cloak of health consciousness. Ergo, when describing someone as FAT, the abuser is ‘really’ saying,

“That person is so unhealthy. I’m hurting their feelings because I care about them. I don’t want them to be horrible and FAT anymore.”

Actually, what the abuser is REALLY saying is,

“I hate the way that person looks because it makes me evaluate my personal decisions. Maybe if I hurt their feelings, I can mask my own paralyzing self-doubt.”

However, what we need to learn is that you should not have to shame and hurt others to “care” about them. The dialogue about health consciousness and beauty ideals is supported by a media-centric world which makes a profit by belittling consumers and preying on their insecurities. In reality, it has very little to do with actual good health guidelines, or self-love initiatives. By using the word FAT, humans have created a derogatory word which transcends any other F-bomb because its strength is garnered by deeply set emotional boundaries.

That being said, it is crucial that we reclaim the word FAT. Just like, as a woman who is attracted to other women, I must reclaim the word “DYKE”.

Words are just that: WORDS. The concentrated power within the word FAT will cease to exist as soon as we stop hurling it like a verbal shot put event.

Yes, I’ve never associated the word FAT with my physical description. However, it is absolutely necessary for me to start calling myself FAT so those who bully will lose their ammunition. By calling myself FAT, I’m not trying to shame myself or abuse my own feelings. I’m simply describing my physical description- I’m also BLACK.

FAT and BLACK should inhabit the same space- they are descriptions, not insults.

I’ve said all this to make it clear that my diet changes have absolutely nothing to do with being FAT. My confidence level is high, and it won’t be affected by whether or not I’m FAT. I like my body. I find it to be very beautiful and (if I may be so bold) quite sexy.

I’m changing my diet and my exercise levels because I want to be at my optimum level of physical fitness.

I want to run a marathon.

I want to bike across America.

I can’t achieve these goals if I don’t rethink my life choices. This is not to say that all FAT people are unhealthy- on the contrary, some of the more health conscious people I know are FAT. And, on the other hand, I know THIN people who think Bojangles is the saving grace of the food industry.

I can only speak for myself. I can only know my own goals, and I will not dictate the health ideals of any other person.

In truth, I hope that all people will want what is best for their body. I hope we will all learn to take of ourselves, and strive for optimum physical health. But we must understand that being healthy does not always mean being THIN. Being unhealthy does not always mean being FAT.

And by defining HEALTHY as THIN, we’re not creating body consciousness- we’re creating a civil war between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.

I hope that one day health consciousness will be seen as a normal life choice, and not as a way to step behind the velvet rope of “acceptable beauty”.

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Run For Your Life: The Couch to 5k Running Plan

I’ve always wanted to be a runner. I’ve been watching runners my entire life, and I always think, “How can you be so happy?” Even when exhausted, true runners (DEFINITION: someone who runs for pleasure on the regular, regardless of inclement weather or drinking binges) tend to look totally at one with the universe. They are focusing on consistent breathing, steady pace, and whatever perfect bass beat is narrating their journey.

However, whenever I’m running, I’m usually focused on the growing stitch in my side, shuffling music on my ipod, and trying to catch my breath. In addition, I might be thinking about how clunky my water bottle is in my hand (or, alternately, how thirst is plaguing me as my water bottle remained on my porch because it felt so clunky in my hand.) Also, I’m usually trying to pull up my pants, and/or cursing my old tennis shoes and low cut socks (which are always too holey and NEVER meant for physical exercise.)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m sabotaging my ability to become a pleasure runner. I psych myself out by wearing shitty socks and ill fitting pants- then I proceed to act shocked when I can’t catch my breath and my mind is racing from the agony of jogging 500 feet.

I firmly believe this must be some personal version of smoke in mirrors. During 2010, due to a pretty revelatory series of spin classes, I’ve developed a new found love of cycling. Just sitting on my bike seat gets my heart racing with excitement. Why is it so difficult for me to translate my love of cycling to a love of running?

Therefore, I’ve decided to do the Couch to 5k Running Plan. Not only will this plan help me work toward my goal of running a 5k by spring, but it will ease me into running for longer than 20-30 seconds at a time.

In the mean time, I DESPERATELY need to buy new running shoes. Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

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The “F” Word: A Blogger’s Declaration

FAT

My parents never verbally abused my brother and me. For those of you out there in the blogosphere, “verbal abuse” can take many forms. Most people think it just lives in the first realm of mean words: ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’, ‘idiot’, etc. However, the kind of “verbal abuse” to which I am specifically referring has to do more with descriptive words which are, for all intents and purposes, socially acceptable. People, I’m talking about the word

FAT.

It’s the word everyone dreads to hear in reference to themselves. I’d be hard pressed to think of another word which so accurately sums up hate, ignorance, and discrimination in a way which has so exquisitely seeped into our society. In my opinion, FAT is (historically) one of the most hurtful words which can ever be used to describe another person.

And, to be honest, it’s a word which has fairly accurately described me for the vast majority of my life. And in spite of numerous other minorities which can be used to discriminate against me (Afro-American, Genetically female, Bahai, Lesbian), the only one which truly stung me on the proverbial playground was/is

FAT.

However, because my parents are beautiful and upstanding individuals, FAT is never a word I’ve associated with myself.

Sure, kids shouted it in the hallway of my junior high school. Yes, it was/is written in imaginary sharpie over the mouths of sales clerks in my favorite stores. But when I was at home, FAT was not part of my life.

As I’ve aged, my identity has evolved past the world of teen magazines and adolescent angst. However, the word

FAT

still hovers in the wings of my life. At this point, I’m beginning to accept FAT as a word which I can reclaim- it does not need to encompass the hateful emotions of the people and images which have taunted me my entire life. However, a key element of fat acceptance is the need for a shift in dialogue on the issue of health consciousness.

Let’s be clear- I don’t endorse dieting.

Dieting implies that there is something about the ‘dieter’ that needs to be fixed in order for the ‘dieter’ to be a socially acceptable human being. To be frank, this is a disgraceful idea. What’s more, dieting does not typically result in long term life changes.

Instead, we should strive for better health guidelines.

(And while we’re on the subject, calling someone FAT does not make them want to have better health guidelines. It just makes them want to curl up in a ball, and pray for the earth to open up.)

So yes, better health guidelines. What’s my idea of better health guidelines? Drinking water, primarily buying unprocessed food, sticking to a vastly whole foods diet, not smoking, and limiting or eliminating beer and alcohol.

SODA

Really, my path begins with a simple soda. I was not raised drinking this particular beverage- as a general rule, I’m pretty sure my mom considers soda to be the work of evil forces in our universe. Sure, I’ll enjoy one or two if I’m out with friends. But what would ever possess me to purchase a two liter when doing my grocery shopping?

However, a couple of weeks ago, I caught myself actually PURCHASING a bottle of ginger ale at the super market. This little act may seem silly and inconsequential to you, but it was a truly scary and bizarre experience- I felt as though another woman had been ambling through my life, and I’d just returned from some chaotic vacation.

Something needs to change.

However (and I doubt I’m alone in this struggle), I am unlikely to accomplish my goals without some form of accountability. I am the worst self-police woman in the history of self-‘policing’.  But I need to start somewhere.

Understand This Distinction:

In general, I’ve come to terms with my FAT-ness. Like every human with feelings, I have off days. But for all intents and purposes, I don’t believe my size holds me back socially or emotionally. I don’t think a person’s size is an indicator of their physical ability or eating habits.

However, I have a number of life goals which I want to complete. I think these goals are being held back by a lack of personal discipline. I‘m not going to blame my lack of discipline on my

FAT.

But no matter what the true cause, this blog will track my progress toward a life of self-discipline- one where I  can achieve the goals which have seemed vaguely ludicrous only because I’ve lacked the courage to believe in myself.

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