Thursday, November 29, 2007

Inside Every Fat Woman

Kate Harding on Shapely Prose has posted The Fantasy of Being Thin, in which she discusses how putting things off until we are thin wreaks havoc on the lives of fat people. Talking about the discovery that what we think getting thin will do for us is totally change everything about us that we don't like into things we wish were true and the revalation that it won't, she says
The reality is, I will never be the kind of person who thinks roughing it in Tibet sounds like a hoot; give me a decent hotel in London any day. I will probably never learn to waterski well, or snow ski at all, or do a back handspring. I can be outgoing and charismatic in small doses, but I will always then need time to recharge my batteries with the dogs and a good book; I’ll never be someone with a chock-full social calendar, because I would find that unbearably exhausting. (And no matter how well I’ve learned to fake it — and thus how much this surprises some people who know me — new social situations will most likely always intimidate the crap out of me.) I might learn to speak one foreign language fluently over the course of my life, but probably not five. I will never publish a novel until I finish writing one. I will always have to be aware of my natural tendency toward depression and might always have to medicate it. Smart money says I am never going to chuck city life to buy an alpaca farm or start a new career as a river guide. And my chances of marrying George Clooney are very, very slim
And of course, the dark side of that is that being fat then became an excuse not to do much of anything, because it wouldn’t be the real me doing it, so what was the point? If I wouldn’t find the right guy until I was thin, why bother dating? If I wouldn’t have a breakthrough on the novel until I was thin, why bother writing? If I wouldn’t be the life of the party until I was thin, why bother trying to make new friends? If I wouldn’t feel like climbing a mountain until I was thin, why bother traveling at all?
The thin person inside me finally got out — it just turned out she was actually a fat person*. A reasonably attractive, semi-outgoing fat person who has an open mind and an active imagination but also happens to really like routine and familiarity and quiet time alone.

That was never who I expected to be — it was just always who I was.
I love that -- the person inside of me all along was a fat person! Yes! The person who was fighting to get out all this time was a fat person! A fat person who loves and laughs and glories in the world. A fat person of many talents and great dreams. A fat person who is good at many things and very nice to look at in many ways. ME dag nab it. Me! Who finally realized that I had no reason to hate my body or apologize for not being thin. That I am sufficient just as I am and need no excuse to exist. No diet to show that although I'm not there yet, I'm trying. Although I'm a fat woman I'm not a bad fat woman**.

And I'm so glad that the fat person who was struggling to get out, the woman who could accept herself and get on with life, didn't give up on me over all those decades of my thinking she was a thin person.

* Emphasis mine.
** A bad fat woman is one who eats. If you diet, you are just a thin woman trapped for some reason, for some period of time, in this foreign body. One day, like the sweatshop workers in The Wiz, you will unzip the fat suit and out will come the real you. A good fat woman. A thin woman.

Photo: ABC


J at said...

I hate to think of how much time is wasted by folks waiting to be thin before they do x or y. :(

J at said...

Was it Slaughterhouse Five where the man is travelling through time, but doesn't have control over it, and his wife, in all times, tells him that she's going to diet for him, be thin for him, that he'll love her for it...and he can see, because he goes to the future and the past, that it will never happen. She never will believe that he loves her just as she is. He loves the fat woman.

I'm not sure, but I THINK it's slaughterhouse five...

Rain said...

It's like wishing you were younger. So you think oh how I wish I had appreciated being 40 when you are now 60 except to stop and realize at 80, you will be looking back on these exact years and thinking how good they were in comparison. There is only one way to live-- where we are.

Betty said...

I spent so many years of my life fighting the fat woman inside of me that when I finally stopped, I confused everyone around me. They seem to see it as surrender. I see it as liberation.

gawilli said...

I was thin once. Then I was fat. Then I was thin again. Now I am fat. I am the same me I ever was, but it's interesting how people treat you differently. I used to think I had to prove myself because I'm a woman. Often now I feel I have to prove myself because I'm fat. I resent that terribly.

Nance said...

You know, I've been every size from 0-18. I'm currently holding at a size 2, and happily so. I can honestly say that I'm not any happier thinner than I was when I was heavier. It's harder to find clothes for a tinier middle-aged body, so shopping isn't any easier. For a long time, I had to worry about being TOO THIN, something I thought I'd never, ever hear in my entire "fat" life! And the stupidest thing ever is this: I'm still just as critical of my body now as I was then. So there's no "silver bullet" for body image, no.