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A new fatty in town

October 26, 2011

Hi everyone! I’m one of several new fatties. My name is Heather. I typed this up once and then my desktop crashed, so here we go, round two (if at first you don’t succeed).

A little background: I was a thin kid who suddenly became very fat around third and fourth grade. I don’t remember being thin, however, so I consider myself a lifelong fatty with a family history of fatties and, therefore, a family history of diet and weight loss obsession.

I don’t remember when I realized I was fat, but my extended family made sure to let me know that I was lazy, worthless, and disgusting long before I was aware that my weight was a no-no. I know eating disorder stories are pretty common in the Fatosphere, so I’ll lend mine to that.

By high school I led a secret life of food deprivation, purging, and over-exercising that I was (also secretly) very proud of. No one in my family ever mentioned a problem with my eating habits. At one point when I was older and discussing my weight in high school, my mom even declared, “I know how you ate in high school!” Not in recognition of my disordered eating, but in accusation of overeating.

I’m not going to overwhelm anyone with the details, but this was my life before Fat Acceptance: an extremely dysfunctional relationship with food and my body.

So how did I find Fat Acceptance? I was discussing my latest ability to eat very, very low calorie meals with a female friend of mine, of course expecting that she would praise and support me. Instead she handed me a copy of Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere and asked me to read it.

So I did.

I was expecting some frou-frou “you are a goddess”-type of book, but instead found myself face-to-face with all of my insecurities, experiences, and social beliefs. The book made me angry — really angry! I’d have to stop reading the book after every chapter or two to calm down before my curiosity brought me back.

After finishing the book, it took about two weeks of anger and denial for the information to sink in and then I had my eureka moment. I won’t say that I haven’t struggled since that moment. I have. My understanding of Fat Acceptance and the health arguments have broadened and deepened in so many ways, but I feel that I’m privileged in the sense that body acceptance wasn’t a long road for me. It was pretty  much a single lightbulb that changed my life.

How did that lead to my role at a fat activist and blogger? Well, when I do something, I do it all the way! This is, I believe, what makes me a Fierce Fatty. I’m hellbent on looking at the science and the logic behind an argument. My opinion can always be swayed, but arguing with sensationalism and shame never works on me.

When I decided to love my body, fat and all, I decided to photograph my body, fat and all. It started out as a simple search for a fat friendly photographer. Like many fatties, I had very few full body photos of myself that weren’t taken at specific thinning angles, so I wanted to celebrate my body in all of its true fat glory.

A friend pointed me to Model Mayhem, a site which connects models and photographers so they can make beautiful art and pad each other’s portfolios. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I had always wanted to model and always felt I was the wrong shape and size (even for a “plus size” model, and even when I was a size 16 junior), so I threw myself into it.

After my first few photoshoots it dawned on me what a great form of activism this could be. Not only being comfortable and happy with my body, but showing others, visually, how great and beautiful a fat body can be. My blog just turned a year old, and I’ve faced plenty of trolls, I’ve had my photographs stolen and Photoshopped (so that, for my own food, I could see how “great” I’d look if I was thinner), and I’ve been cyber-stalked and bullied. But the emails that I get letting me know that I’ve helped someone, even in a small way, make it all completely worth it. And even with all of the hate that is directed at me, I’m still happier and healthier than I’ve ever been.

So hi, my name is Heather, and I’m a proud fatty. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this great community.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2011 9:39 am

    Welcome, Heather. Thanks for joining the Fierce, Freethinking Fatties team and for being so damned fierce! I can’t wait to see what you have to add to the conversation.


  2. October 26, 2011 10:56 am

    Hi Heather,
    I don’t know if you already do, but I would put a “creative commons” copyright on your work. That way you can threaten any asshole who steals your photos with suit and make them think twice before doing it again. I don’t know how these jerks think that it’s in any way okay to engage in such insufferable rudeness against another human being.

  3. Lillian permalink
    October 26, 2011 11:30 am

    I love your photographs and your antidotes. Thank you for joining Fierce fatties. I’m so happy to be enjoying your blog.

  4. vesta44 permalink
    October 26, 2011 11:53 am

    Welcome to the club 🙂 I too can hardly wait to see what you have to add to the conversation here.

  5. sweet Priscilla permalink
    October 26, 2011 3:27 pm

    The photos on your blog are absolutely gorgeous!! Welcome

  6. October 26, 2011 5:39 pm

    So happy you’re here!

  7. October 26, 2011 6:01 pm

    Welcome Heather! I have been a fan of your blog for a while. I always love seeing your photos. I am also a model and a few of them have given me ideas for future photoshoots that I want to do.

  8. hlkolaya permalink
    October 26, 2011 7:13 pm

    Thanks for your comments everyone!

    faycinacroud, the photos on my blog and my flickr are already copyrighted because they are the property of the photographers who took them. I have limited right to use them in my portfolio or any way that show cases my work. The other photos (they actually found me on facebook and downloaded photos of my family- i’ve since made my entire profile private!) but as far as I’m aware, fair use allows someone to use photos, even copyrighted ones for “commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.” (wikipedia) Luckily I don’t have my personal flickr linked to anywhere from my blog and so no one has found it- I may make friends and family sign up for flickr and becomes friends so that I can limit access to those as well.

  9. jenincanada permalink
    October 26, 2011 7:31 pm

    Sucks about the hate you’ve gotten; I think you’re really beautiful. Welcome to FFF!

  10. October 30, 2011 12:25 am

    Go to creativecommons dot org and choose a noncommercial, non-derivative license. Fair use does not include altering another person’s work. It includes directly quoting and attributing the quote or displaying an unaltered picture and correctly attributing the picture to the source. These people are completely out of line.

  11. SherryH permalink
    October 30, 2011 9:55 pm

    Hi, Heather, and welcome! I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

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