I don’t know how to be a role model. In fact, I never expected to be one but after three years of blogging and being “openly fat”, the role sort of just sticks to you. I certainly don’t fight it and appreciate the heck out of my position but often times I feel at a loss for words. What can you say to someone who approaches you and asks one of the most complex questions you’ll ever come across? How do you give someone the recipe to loving themselves? The simple answer is; you can’t. Not because it isn’t possible but because the answer just isn’t easy.
My childhood memories are a foggy collection of playing with barbies on my front porch, sleeping with the night light on because I was too scared of the dark and unfortunately, getting made fun of because of my weight. I think the very first time I was ever made aware of my seemingly contagious and repulsive disease was in kindergarden. Seems a bit young, right? Not so, unfortunately. Kids are cruel and nowadays that cruelty is even more accessible thanks to social media. I was only about 14 or so when I discovered the big, vast online world so at least after the final school bell rang, I had a chance to go home and try to forget how I was being taught to hate myself. For some of us, it starts a lot sooner than kindergarden. Self hate is ingrained into our system in our most vulnerable years and that alone is why the answer is so complex and complicated.
In my experience, challenging my belief system was extremely important. That meant distancing myself from friends and really trying to figure out on my own what it meant to be beautiful. I don’t suggest becoming a hermit like I did, but it certainly helped me get a better handle on loving myself when the negative reinforcements in my life were at a distance. Alternatively, I think it helped established much needed boundaries between myself and those around me who fed into my self-hate. I spent time engaging with a community that wanted and taught self love. I looked at other fat babes and envied their style and confidence. I realized they weren’t much different than I was. They have all the things I have: bellies, extra bits and all. Yet there they were, strutting their stuff like being fat was this season’s biggest (no pun intended) trend. Needless to say, that helped a lot. I was finally able to see what we are so often sheltered from. Being skinny suddenly didn’t mean what I thought it did anymore. Skinny wasn’t an exclusive club where the potential boyfriends hung out or all the cute clothing was available. It was right there at my fingertips. I just needed to grab for it.
What I can tell you is this; loving yourself is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It will often times feel like you aren’t making progress at all or that everyone just wants you to stay a self-loathing human being. There will be days you just feel like giving up or crying into your pillow. It will kick your butt and feel like a pointless endeavour. But even through those crippling downs, you’re going to experience even better good, no great days. The only thing you really need to know is that you’re completely capable.
I’ll leave you with this question as its helped me better understand where my hate came from. What don’t you like about being fat and what do you feel it prevents you from? Really, really think about it. I was shocked when I realized all the things I thought being fat meant but was even more surprised when I realized how wrong I was. Try this and once you have answered truthfully, prove yourself wrong. Collect evidence against those very ideas. For me, that meant realizing fat girls can indeed be loved and sexually appreciated. That meant I could be more than just the funny, side-kick friend. It also meant cute clothing! Try this and if you so desire, share it with me. I’d like to help prove you wrong, too.