Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm Fat? Really, I Didn't Realize - Body Shaming In The Form of "Caring"

When I gained weight, and started wearing a size 18/20, I knew I was wearing an 18/20 but didn't really care. I still wanted to look good, so I just bought new clothes that looked good on my new body.

When I decided one day I wanted to go to the gym, for no other reason that to flatten my stomach (I wasn't thinking about my hips, thighs, but or arms, I just wanted a flatter stomach) people started commending me for "taking better care of myself.." For "Being Healthier" etc, etc.

All the sudden my confidence started to decrease. I started thinking "Oh my god, I really AM a fat slob." and "I really DON'T take care of myself." and of course "I am a bad person and totally unlovable because I'm fat and unhealthy..."

Mind you, my blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels have always been absolutely in perfect range. The only problem I've had is Hypo-thyrodism but that is actually a cause rather than an effect of weight gain (it can slow you metabolism). So to be completely honest, I wasn't really unhealthy.  The only unhealthy thing about me were the numbers I put on the scale.

Then one day, while talking to my therapist, I basically told her that she doesn't understand a lot of things I say to her, or what I'm going through. That sometimes I just go along with what she says because I don't feel like explaining.

For instance, people, for some odd reason, can't understand why any "FAT" could be happy. Don't we all long to be skinny minnies?!?!? Being FAT automatically means being depressed. It has been drilled into our heads that "You are fat so you are depressed. If you lost weight, you'd be happier."

Love this one..I mean, HELL YEAH I have time to be fat...Do I have time to be skinny is the real question..

My therapist would often try to pin my depression and anxiety on the fact that I was overweight. When in actuality it was due to my childhood (which she was aware of). I mean I think she did it unconsciously. Obviously it is easier to fix someone who is depressed if their depression is due to their weight, which can be changed,  versus their depression being due to past events (or even current events) that I have no control over.

I'm sure there are some people who are depressed with their weight, and do indeed become happier when they become skinny.

But, I Am actually happier now than I was when I was smaller. When I was smaller, my weight and dress size CONSTANTLY fluctuated. I never knew what size I was going to be month to month, so I had so many sizes it from 8 to 14 stuck in my closet, and never knew, even day to day, if something was going to fit. It made me hate shopping and I couldn't even CONSIDER shopping online.

Now as a solid size 18/20 (18 on top, 20 on bottom) I enjoy shopping. I love trying on clothes, and it doesn't bother me so much when things don't fit. I just put it back and keep it moving, maybe even try to find something similar on line. But no matter what, I know what size I am, and my body seems happy at this size. My weight isn't fluctuating at all, (may 3 or 4 lbs here and there but not a whole dress size). When I was smaller, if something didn't fit, the first thing in my head would be "I need to lose weight".

But my body wasn't built to really skinny. I honestly do believe in bigger heavier bones. I have them. You know how I know? Because I have large hands, large wrists, large calves and large feet. I've ALWAYS had these, even at a size 8. As an adult I've never weighed less than 150 lbs, yet I was able to wear a size 6 dress.

The only way I can explain how heavy I was, versus how heavy I LOOKED, was bigger, thicker, heavier bones and more muscle.

Even now, doctor's are surprised at how much I weigh.(FYI, I weight 250 lbs - give or take 3 lbs). Yet I am a comfortable size 18 (but able to get into a size 14 dress or shirt without problem).

At 165 I was my most active, Cheerleading, Track, Basketball. Yet I was 165 lbs, and figured I was fat because of the numbers on the scale. It was a sad existence, especially now looking back at pictures of myself. I was SOOO not fat.  The number on the scale can only be explained by my bones and my muscles.

Perhaps, when I was smaller and younger, plus size wasn't as beautiful and accepted a topic and trend as it is now. Lane Bryant was NOT trendy (I'm still on the fence about some of their stuff), I don't think Asos Curve, SimplyBe or any of those other Stores/ Brands were even a twinkle in someone's eye.

But now, a think with the new generation of entitled generation X'ers and Y'ers come an ultimate self acceptance and a "this is me, take it or leave it" kind of culture that previous generations didn't have.

The new generation expects culture to bend to them, and rarely bends with the culture (may be why most of the new generation has had more jobs in 5 years than I've had in 15).

It is an exciting time to be in your late teens and twenties.

I mean, I am only in my early 30's, but there is such a gap between my culture and those below me.

I didn't grow up with the internet. The closet thing I got to computer games was "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego." (The Ultimate Diva!). So no YouTube, FaceBook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr. NONE OF THAT!! My God, we actually had to go outside to play...

I didn't grow up with cellphones. Cellphones finally came available to the upper middle class masses, probably when I was around 13 or 14. And they were HUGE.

I remember being so proud that my Dad let me borrow the cell phone when I went out, I thought I was so cool. I would pull it out, flip it open, and talk just to talk and because I could....

I don't think anyone else had a cell phone that I remember... It was rare. Most people just had beepers. The closest you would get to a text message was "0ll34" (Hello upside down)

I didn't grow up with reality television. I grew up during the second Black Renaissance, as I like to call it. When being black was cool. Positive black shows were on like The Cosby Show, A Different World,  Living Single, Def Comedy Jam, Martin and all those others show.

I grew up when Cross Colors was big!! You know the colorful brand that always had positive affirmations written on the shirts...

That was my generation. The '80's baby.

Perhaps I am dating myself, but I don't care.

I am happy with what the new generation has done for the plus size revolution. What they've done for equality. It is amazing.

Yeah. I'm 33 and still wear skulls, but Torrid didn't exist back in the day. All I had was Hot Topic, and that catered mostly to baggy zippered jean, black lipstick wearing Goths... So I am enjoying my skull fetish now in a fashionable way.

I don't really look 33. I blame that on my mother who doesn't look 62... Good genes...So I think I can kind of get away with it.

Anyway, I say all this to say something I've learned from the younger generation. Don't let society define what and who you should be. Let YOU define what and who you should be. Something I am still trying to live....

No comments:

Post a Comment

I enjoy hearing what you have to say, suggestions you'd like to make and links you'd like to share. No spam please and always be respectful!! Thanks