Feeling ‘normal’

I’m new to fat acceptance (and blogging!). Like most of us, I wish I’d heard of it years earlier. And I hope I’m not alone in finding it a bit of a struggle.

I’m stuck a bit in the whole ‘fantasy of being thin’ thing. And I keep thinking back to when I was thinner (but still fat) and wishing I could just get back there, I would feel/be so much better than I am now. It’s silly, of course – I felt just as bad, if not worse, about myself back then – but it doesn’t stop me thinking of it from time to time. In my day to day life I try to deal with my size (and my perception of it, which of course is the real problem here) by simply ignoring it. After all I am lucky enough to be relatively active and mobile; I simply train myself to forget that I am the biggest person in the street/shop/mall.

But that doesn’t strike me as a good idea either. So I’m trying a new tactic: I’m going to list the positive experiences I have had with my body size. Incidents where either I felt good about my body or where my body was simply… accepted. One that comes to mind was a class at Uni where, as an aside, a tutor asked us to email her our interpretations of a particular slang term; the winner would receive a t-shirt from an upmarket brand who’s PR person had spoken to the class earlier in the week. The t-shirt was a size M (medium) and far too small for me. But come the next class I found out I’d won; and the t-shirt my tutor handed me was the correct size (XL). She’d just contacted that brand and made a swap, no fuss – no muss. At the time I couldn’t understand why I felt so good about it, but now I am older and wiser. She knew the t-shirt was too small and so had matter of factly made sure she had one that would fit. It was a small gesture but the fact it was done (and done quietly) made me feel… normal (after all, of one of the male students had won she probably would have had to change it also).

And then there was the funny incident when I was pregnant the first time around. I went into the insurance agent’s office to change our address as we were moving to my hometown to be closer to family. The girl behind the counter was young, say in her late teens or early twenties. She was perfectly groomed, beautifully made up, and soooooooo friendly. She made eye contact when she spoke to me, joked about our destination (my hometown is not a byword for fun and excitement!) and was throughly pleasant and cheerful.

And then she put her foot in it. She asked why we were moving. I said Oh, I’m expecting twins in a couple of months and I want to be closer to my family. Her response was priceless and it still makes me giggle, almost 5 years later:

“Really? Wow! Congratulations! And I thought you were just fa…”

The look of complete horror on her face was wonderful 🙂 She slammed her mouth shut as her brain caught up with her but it wasn’t quite fast enough. She apologised profusely but I was laughing as I left. I still laugh about it now. Because she didn’t mean it as an insult, it was just an observation – along the same lines as “Wow! You mean those curls are natural? I thought you’d had a perm!” Poor kid 🙂

And lets not forget pregnancy. I’m still stuck in morning sickness-land so I’m not feeling particularly wonderful about it at the moment! But last time I felt a real rush – here was my body, that I’d always thought of as a waste of space, a horrible container for my mind and essence, and it wasn’t awful at all… it was creating two little people, with no help or direction from me. This was something *my body* was doing, all by itself, and it felt miraculous. And wonderful. For the first time I felt my body was *good* for something. Useful. It had a point!

So I’m still not there, as far as accepting myself goes. But thinking about the good stuff helps. And I hope to get there – one day.

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4 Responses

  1. Lovely post.

  2. “I’m stuck a bit in the whole ‘fantasy of being thin’ thing. And I keep thinking back to when I was thinner (but still fat) and wishing I could just get back there, I would feel/be so much better than I am now. It’s silly, of course – I felt just as bad, if not worse, about myself back then – but it doesn’t stop me thinking of it from time to time’

    Ooooh I so relate to this, and I have been in agreement with FA for fifteen years now, and I still get stuck in this thought! It’s funny when I think about how I have been fluctuating between the same 3 dress sizes for the past 18-15 years (20-22-24) and yet I sometimes obsess over the 20 like it’s so outrageously different from the 24 lol

  3. I often find myself in FOBT land too, I don’t know that living in the society we do, that is is possible to NEVER even so much as dip a toe into the seductive waters of FOBT land. Don’t beat yourself up about it though. I think you have found a wonderful way to deal with it and your examples are great. I want to hug your tutor for being so considerate and not making a big deal out of the situation. That is what it should be like.

    It still amazes me that my body was able to conceive, gestate, deliver and sustain two children (I breastfed for quite a long time with each of my kids). I don’t think anything will ever top the awe I felt about being able to do those things with a body that I had always hated so much until that point.

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