Confession

I’m short and fat. But I’m short enough that I fit in to straight sizes. I’m also fat enough that I fit into plus sizing but if I were any taller and my body were to stay proportionally the same, I’d be shunned out of all the straight sizes. So yeah, even if I can’t reach that shelf, I’m grateful I’m short. My fat is such that I have boobs and hips (not so much of a butt and some pretty notable thighs and a belly) but if anything it would be a slightly modified hourglass shape. That means that it is easier for me to find clothes that are flattering*. It also means I’m able to smuggle novels in my waistband if I “suck it in” a little more than I usually do. It also means that when I don’t have pockets I can carry things in my bra. There are a lot of benefits to my shape and it is one that is on the border of acceptable and shameful.

There are several things I’ve been thinking about this past week. The one that has formed the most coherency is the one one where I realised I think the Fat Acceptance movement applies to me. And there’s no argument it doesn’t. I have body image issues. I’ve had doctors have an unwarranted fixation on my weight. My BMI is “overweight”. I cannot always find clothes in my size when I walk into a store (usually, but not always). I’ve had dieting issues. And I’m listing all of this because I somehow have to prove to myself I’m worthy. So yeah, FA applies to me.

But what I found odd is how I read these blogs and they speak to me deeply. Now, in a way it isn’t odd because society likes to comment about people’s bodies. And if one’s body happens to be outside society’s norm suddenly it’s open season. But it’s odd because a lot of these blogs are written by women who are in the range a hundred pounds heavier than I am. Not weird. But I have a friend, and I’ve had this friend for years. She was one inch taller and about eight pounds lighter than I was when we last hung out a few months ago. In my mind she has always been the unreachable goal.

I knew her during high school and my mother would tell me “If you just lost ten or fifteen pounds, you could look more like [friend].” And I can’t blame it all on my mother because I would have the same thoughts. I don’t know if her clothes could have fit me because I was always under the impression I was So Much Fatter than all my friends. I always put myself in this other group because of what, eight pounds?

So what’s weird is how I think of myself Exactly Like some of the leaders of the FA movement in terms of my body and Nothing At All like my friend. When I found out the fact that she was only eight pounds lighter (and one inch taller, but I knew that) than me, I realised that this person whom I had been trying so hard to be for so many years of my life might actually have body image issues of her own that I never really heard because I was wallowing in my own bubble. And FA doesn’t just mean accepting the fat people and myself as fat but actually seeing my body for what it is and where my body is on the spectrum of bodies. So while I can certainly say the experiences and the emotions these blogs are expressing speak to me, I don’t know what it’s like to the extent they face it. On the spectrum, I’m much closer to my friend than I am or have ever been to the people I’ve been looking up to lately. And that, to me, is weird.

*Where the modern concept of flattering means “doesn’t make you look as fat or fatter than you are”. This is true. This is also unfortunate. If we could get over that, there are so many more sparkly, brightly coloured clothes that I’d jump all over because my inner six-year-old is pretty strong.

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April 20, 2010. Tags: . Reflection.

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