I have been fat all of my life – except for a few brief bouts of almost average-size due to really wacko dieting (have you ever eaten nothing but rice for months on end?).
Growing up in Michigan, my mom (a fat woman) started putting me on diets when I was, I guess, about 8 or so. Oddly, my mom did not diet. In fact, my mom never seemed to have a problem with my weight until our family doctor insisted I was too fat, would never have a date, and had to diet. What a douchehound.
In school, I always felt I was the biggest one (I was tall and fat). Got picked on, but nothing too horrible; and I always had friends; and at an early age discovered theater and that I could sing – really well. Music gave me a place to belong and a group to belong to; and while I wasn’t given the roles I think I deserved because the directors weren’t brave enough to truly do alternative casting, I always had a lead.
So while I was fat, and dieting, and thinking each failure was my fault and that life would be perfect if only I was thin, I didn’t wait for life. I tended to jump in with both feet, and given my size, I usually made a terrific splash!
I believe that life sends you lessons, and until you learn them, they’ll just keep coming back. In my 30s, I figured out that I am fat, likely to remain fat, and that I liked who I was; and being fat was (and is) part of who I am. I read a lot of Shakti Gawain, learned about affirmations, creative visualization, etc. (all of which to me is simply focusing your own power). I learned about dealing with issues and finding what was at the bottom of them.
In my 40s I went on the road with Bottom’s Up (Vegas style revue that has been around forever) – playing the “fat girl”. And I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have a problem playing the fat girl, because – hey – I am the fat girl, and it’s okay. The most wonderful thing happened too, the star/director of BU told me that I had to be glamorous! Just because I was the fat girl was no reason to not be beautiful and glamorous onstage. OMG!
And when I quit the show (I love performing, I HATE being on the road), I found NAAFA; and when I heard the message at NAAFA (backed up by data) that diets don’t work, it was so freeing to hear what I had known was true confirmed. And I loved being around fat people who loved themselves – these were people who understood me and where I was coming from. People who understand being fat is no excuse – for pretty much anything (except trying to climb that flipping rope in gym class – puh-leez).
And now I am happily married (13 years, holy crap, how did that happen?). And I don’t think I would have found my life mate without first learning to love and appreciate myself. To set standards, boundaries, and figure out what I truly wanted for myself, and to include and accept as part of all of that, that I am a fat woman.
So that’s probably more than you ever needed or wanted to know about me. But I think the journey to fat acceptance is very important. It’s different for everyone; and I feel fortunate that mine has not been as difficult as it might have been. And I hope everyone will find joy in their life and their journey and know that the journey and you are worth it.