Friday, 27 June 2014

My Big Fat Happy Life

Unknowingly we started “Positive Body Image Month”. Inanna shared her story of growing up with the negative view of her body and now it’s my turn.

I am a big girl. Not to say, that I am independent and I can handle myself, I mean I am BIG. Let’s say it: I am fat. (pause for the dramatic effect and to see your reactions…)

I can bet that most of you created the whole speech to me that I shouldn’t say that, that probably I am exaggerating and that it’s not that bad. Virtually, I cannot say that I am fat.

And you see, this is a problem number one. Fat people are not allowed to admit that they are fat. We are not allowed to say that we are fat and that we are happy with it. Especially women. Because all women should strive for this wasp/Barbie/unattainable body shape and they simply cannot just stop and enjoy their life, even if they are fat.

Some of you will give millions of examples of fat people who are nice, funny and happy. And here we have problem number two: fat people are not just people. Somehow we cannot be just funny and nice or angry and sad. We are always "fat and funny", "fat and nice", "fat and angry". As if our body defined our behaviour.

I’ve heard it all. I know how I look and I know that I have way to many kilograms altogether. But I don’t mind. By saying “I’m fat” I don’t expect pity. I don’t expect confirmation or refusal of my statement. I don’t expect to be comforted that “it’s not that bad”. I just want people to accept that I am fat, I know that I’m fat, I will say that I am fat and I will be happy with my body.

There. I said it.

It wasn’t easy, it took me ages to understand the whole problem with fat people. The problem is not that we are plum or round or curvy. Problem is that word “fat” became so pejorative, that we've become so scared to even think that we are what we are. And despite our efforts if we came to that conclusion and the world around us confirms our fears, we have to feel bad about it and we must want to change it!

Well, screw this. I won’t change. Not for the sake of adjusting to the modern perception of beauty.

I was always a plum child. I was always the fattest in the class. I was slow, I wasn’t good at sport (even though I was swimming, playing tennis, etc.) and I was never considered pretty. I grew to hate my body and hate myself for how I looked. I envied my friends so much that they are thin, because everybody around me made me feel like less successful person and a student. I was fat so I couldn’t be as promising as they are!

The truth is, I was one of the best students. I am freaking smart. I’ve always been. But I was frequently compared to other good students and I didn’t stand a chance against them, because I was fat and they were not.

And if you think about it, there is very little successful fat people shown in movies. There is this tendency for depicting fat people as lazy, annoying, obsessed with something (either food or money or power) or silly, harmless, "normal" quiet people. There is very little extraordinary and unique fat that saved the world or were just rulers. Fat people rarely are perceived as hero material.

When I was 15, I started dieting. I wasn’t that reckless as my other friends, I had quite considerate, well-balanced diet, I exercised every day. And I lost 15kg within 2 years (I know it was slow, but that’s how it was). I was within normal BMI, but my body wasn’t perfect. My legs where to short and crooked, my thighs were to wide, my belly had this roll of skin that I didn’t like. During this 2 years, each day I was standing in front of the mirror, sucking my belly in and I saying: “I wish I had belly like this”. Each day. And even though I got thinner with each month, I still wasn’t happy.

One day it hit me. I will never be happy with how I look. Because I am not perfect and I could never be perfect. It’s unattainable. My friends who were thin, they have it easy. I didn’t. Not with my body type. I will always be far from perfection.

Probably if I hadn’t have this epiphany, I would became anorexic. There was a moment when I didn’t want to eat, because I was afraid that I will gain weight and I will lose it all.

I quit dieting and I was amazingly happy. Full and happy. Without the need for worrying what to eat and when. Happy happy happy! 

I gained some weight, but I still was normal. However, at the time I got diabetes. I gained few to many kilograms due to poor management at the onset of my illness. Currently I am eating healthy, I cut my carbohydrates intake, if I want sweets I go for dark chocolate or dry fruits. I bake cakes with coconut flour and stevia. I eat lean meat. I use coconut or olive oil for cooking. My meals are composed in 2/5 of vegetables, 2/5 of meat and 1/5 of carbs. I have a medium activity, I walk a lot and I do pole dancing and Irish dancing once a week. But I'm still fat.

Here is the problem number three. Fat people, in the minds of others, cannot be fat and maintain healthy lifestyle. It just doesn't add up. If you eat healthy food and exercise, why are you fat? 

Well, life is a bitch, I can tell you that. For me, it takes me a month to lose 3-4kg, but one day of "sinning" is enough for me to have terrible sugar levels and subsequently gain 1kg. 

I cannot overstate the fact that I don't mind being fat. What bothers me is the assumptions, attitudes, perceptions, uneasiness and stereotypes.

The discrimination against fat people is a real thing and it is damaging. You have no idea how big of a deal is my body to other people. As if my body is on a public display to comment or ignore. I heard zillion “caring” comments about my body. And since I am fat and I am not worrying about it, it gave people the impression that they can say to me whatever they want.

On each family gathering, there is at least one aunty who comments that I am fat. But I look happy, so it’s not that bad.

That if I lose weight, boys will like me. Don’t I want to have a boyfriend and be happy? (Obviously I cannot be happy without a boyfriend).

Or when people found out that I was single, I always heard: Ohh... Nobody wants you? (Obviously I cannot just be single and be happy when I'm fat).

There is so many things wrong with this picture...
What kind of moron created this?

For crying out loud, I get my undergrad in UK, I have my Masters from Ireland, I travelled the world, I did volunteering, I participated in countless courses and workshops. I have so many amazing stories to tell and experiences to share, I have wonderful friends all over the world, but still the biggest news is whether I lost or gained weight.

I am not saying that if you are fat, you should just accept that and not do anything with this. There is always an issue of health. There are some diseases that are more evident in obese people and are more dangerous to you, when you are fat. However, health should be the only reason for wanting to change one’s body. One and only reason.

But I will never ever do it again to be thin. I don’t care about being thin. I don’t mind being fat. I love my body and few more kilograms doesn’t bother me.

Because being fat is nothing bad. I can say it now with full confidence: I am fat and I am happy!

Written by Vespertilio

No comments:

Post a Comment