Monday, August 29, 2011

Fat Feelings

Since beginning my own Journey (Does the Bachelor franchise own this word? Maybe. Hopefully I won't get sued.) with Size Acceptance about a year ago, I have become consistently shocked by blatant body hate, my own included. As I’m sure you’re all aware, body hate manifests itself in many ways. There is literal body hate, where you look at your body in the mirror, or in pictures and think, "EW. GROSS." There is physical body hate in the form of intense dietary restrictions or punishing exercise. And there is conceptual body hate, where you blame your body for keeping you from having the things you want: a good job, acceptable healthcare, intimate friendships, or, in the case of most of my dearest friends, romantic Love (from here on out I’ll just call it “Love” with a capital L). Every fat woman I know thinks she would be more desirable as a mate if she were thin. This is no mistake, nor is it her fault. Few movies or TV shows have fat women in them, and, if they do, the fat woman is the best friend, or her overt sexuality is a big joke. We are berated with weight loss commercials and even the government is declaring war on obesity, aka encouraging body policing. Then we have people like Jennifer Hudson saying she is more proud of her weight loss than her Oscar and media outlets broadcasting this idea like it isn't horrifying. So of course, why WOULD a fat woman think she could be Loved?

But here's the thing we are forgetting. Love isn't some formula. In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert goes on this great journey to find herself and then finds herself AND Javier Bardem. Oh, Joy! Maybe, if this movie was the only one of its kind it wouldn't offend me in this way, but we are fed the idea that, if we can just become our best selves love will come to us. And our best self is, of course, always and forever, our thinnest self. Sometimes it does come. Sometimes we lose the weight or become self-actualized and the doors of heaven on earth are suddenly open to us. But sometimes they aren’t. I am not going to try to sell you on the idea that if you can just love yourself someone else will love you. Because I know from personal experience that isn’t how it works. There are thin women who hate themselves who don't have boyfriends and there are fat women who hate themselves getting married everyday. There are things we can't know and can't understand and to blame your body isn't just unfair, it is fundamentally illogical.

So maybe this is more about philosophy than fat. Of course we want the world to be explainable. Of course we want to know WHY we don't have the things we want so that we can change the things that need to be changed and hence GET the things we want. The desire to be one’s best self is a great thing to strive for. Of course it is. But our best self is not always a thin self. Or a calm self. Or an accepting self. To be honest, my best self is pretty pissed, pissed about the injustices happening all over the world every day, pissed about discrimination happening in our country, including a political system which keeps many races and people groups in bondage. But whatever my, or your, best self looks like it comes with no guarantees. We become our best selves so that we can simply be our best selves. Because authentic living is joyous because it is authentic.

Of course I want to find Love. Of course I want everyone I love to find Love. Loneliness is a plague that infects every aspect of one’s life. But I know for a fact I am just as lonely with a small ass. I also know that my loneliness has brought me compassion, and that this compassion has brought me joy because I find joy in loving and caring for people, and for myself.

This all sounds so self-righteous, as though I have it all figured out. To be honest, I struggle to live with these concepts every day. But I would much rather struggle with these concepts then with my weight. I would rather struggle to find authentic worth in myself and in other people than make easy assumptions about my or other’s capabilities for love based on appearance.

No comments:

Post a Comment