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Being Carried

November 18, 2011

I always feel weird when I discover that for one reason or another that my pants are too big. That seems to be the one place where I fluctuate; never my arms or my boobs or my butt (what butt?), just around my waist. This too shall pass, but it got me thinking.  A few years back when I was working for A Tea to Remember as a reader and server my boss and I developed a wonderful relationship, and we (of course) got around to talking about our bodies and weight a few times. She was, and still is, death fat, but that’s not what I remember most about her; it’s her smile. Even when things were going badly at the business or at home, when something made her smile or laugh it was genuine, and she lit up the room. Her and another friend helped me to realize that my big laugh and smile are nothing to hide.

Pondering my pants and pulling them up for the millionth time yesterday I got to thinking about all the amazing fat people I’ve had in my life and how each of them, in their own way, has helped to shape who I am. My Aunt Sandi taught me a really important lesson about hate; there’s no point in hating someone because half the time they don’t know you hate them, and the other half the time, they don’t care. She’s got a wicked sense of humor; is fierce as a tiger when she’s protecting her family; and works like a dog and doesn’t take any crap from anyone, especially not her four brothers. My paternal grandparents I’ve written about before and they were both fat, but I never associated that with something bad. They were comforting and caring people that I loved to visit and didn’t visit enough. I miss them. My mentor, teacher, best friend and unbiological big sister helped me do a LOT of “brain landscaping” and has probably been the most influential on who I am.  She’s the one who introduced me to Fat Acceptance back in 2008, and has been my cheerleader in blogging and other kinds of activism ever since.

The myth that there are any self-made people out there is just that: a myth. We’re all the end product of our genes, but even more than that, I think, our environment, the people who take the time to get to know us, and even the people we just brush up against, the people who teach us and challenge us, the ones who stick by us, the ones that don’t. They shape us and some of them even carry us, and it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2011 6:46 pm

    I wish I could say I had fat role models in my life (other than from afar), but unfortunately not. All the fat women in my life hated their fat, and the fat men were always shy and ashamed of themselves as well. I remember seeing the occasional fat person who seemed “larger than life” – laughing loudly, smiling, surrounded by friends — but they were always people I just happened to pass in a mall or somewhere public. I didn’t know them personally. Even to this day, all my fat friends are online … I have one plump friend, but plump is not fat. Close, but no enchilada. 🙂 I really wish I had some real-life fat friends, and not just cyber ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all, but it sure would be nice to be able to call one up and say, “Let’s go for a coffee.”

  2. November 20, 2011 6:01 am

    I have one real life, positive fatty friend, that is the Fat Nutritionist. I am still waiting to meet more, fingers crossed! Any Toronto people on here?

  3. November 20, 2011 7:29 am

    Vitty, I’m in Toronto! 🙂 Wassup?

  4. November 21, 2011 12:23 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve had any fat role models, but I have had fat people in my life who, at the very least, weren’t negative fat role models, as in they lived their lives without much attention paid to their weight. And I guess that would be a good fat role model, since what we want most is to be allowed to live as we see fit without constant self-reference to our weight.

    But the vast majority are caught up with weight-centered living and express the depressing attitudes of the “weight is bad” culture. And, let’s face it, we absorb those so much easier than the positive messages. But maybe that’s why the positive role models stand out so much more when we see them.


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