According to the media, according to a lot of people, I am a headless body.
I am a specter drowning in layers upon layers of ‘flattering’ clothes. I am the boat, floating in a sea of small barges, lithe little vessels who out work, out do and out succeed me in every way. I am a mound of fleshy, ugly flab. Melting and oozing on to sidewalks, subway cars, airplanes, sinking and stinking in to the pavement, like discarded gum on a summer day.
I am ‘the problem’ according to media today. I am consistently judged and valued (or in almost every case, de-valued) according to a single three-digit number. I weigh 220 pounds (can I also point out that this is the first time I have revealed my weight?). That number has defined me in ways I have no control over, consistently, for almost all my life.
In reality, I am the girl, crying in the clothing stores because I can’t find anything that fits me. I am anxious every time I go out, feeling the stares that feel as ugly as I’m told I am. I am the girl who, every day, struggles with the reflection in the mirror, feels mind-numbing guilt every time I indulge in a treat. The girl who treats her weight like the world’s worst secret – the kind that gnaws away at you. The girl who thinks that I am the only one, the last one, the one who doesn’t deserve anything good from life.
Because I am one of those headless bodies. I am a big, fat ‘problem’. A scapegoat. A huge red target painted across my big, fleshy ass.
But, I am also the girl who dreams of traveling the world (without having to pay double airfare prices). I am the girl who is pursuing a creative career. I am the girl who dreams of being a ballerina, a yogi, a monk. I am the girl who dances gleefully in the rain. I am a Girl Guides leader, a dance teacher, an artist, a singer. I am an incredibly talented person.
And I am learning, slowly, that the third girl matters infinitely more than the other two.
And I am learning, mostly, due to a supportive, safe community of blogs and tumblrs. Blogs that post pictures of us ‘fatties’ that feature more than simply decapitated figures slumped in exhausted positions. I now know that there are some of us who dance. Who sing. Who dress up, go out, run, jump, scream.
Because the reality is that we live in a world that teaches us we need to be invisible. Because we’re the big, fat problem for humanity, we must ease the burden by being quiet, taking the abuse silently. ‘Sit and enjoy the bitter taste of self hate, folks, because that’s about the only thing you deserve,’ the media seems to say.
So don’t you dare go telling me that ‘fatspiration’ blogs are simply promoting another ‘unhealthy lifestyle’. Take a long, hard look at these women and men. These, yes, say it with me, fat women and men. Look at how happy they seem. Listen to how their stories whisper ‘there’s hope’ across leagues, to hundreds of thousands of humans who have heard anything but. And maybe, just maybe, feel a bit of their pain, their joy, their struggles. And then take a much harder look at the media. Take a look at the hateful, painful images that are replayed over and over again like battle cries, rallying cries, if you will. Regular, accepted mental and physical abuse, played over and over again in a crusade against thousands of people WORLDWIDE. Because, I’m sorry people, fatness is not simply a first world ‘problem’. Nor is it a modern ‘problem’. Or a problem to begin with, but that’s besides the point.
You look at the media, and tell me. Really, honestly tell me, who is the one promoting an ‘unhealthy lifestyle’. Because these blogs have helped me to realize, for the first time in my life, that I might have an inkling of value as a human being. That I might matter more than simply 220 ticks on a scale. More than three measly digits. We are tired. And we are angry. And we will not put up with this garbage anymore.
So all of yous keeping fatspiration blogs. All of you speaking out against an oppressive beauty cult and body police. All of you fighting stereotypes, breaking barriers, and, most definitely, all of you who are brave enough to bare all for the world to see. All of you willing to say ‘Check out these beautiful rolls’, all of you who wear crop tops out, who stare down their muffin tops in the mirror and smile, all of you willing to choose love, if even a bit. All of you willing to share your stories, your pain, your ideas and breakthroughs, all of you who are tired of this absolute crap: I say to you all – keep doing what you are doing.
Because this battle is not fought with rude words, hate, anger or violence. And that, like all of us, is the real beautiful part of it. We are winning this battle by choosing love. In a world run by oppression and hate, we are fighting back not with sword-blows, but blown kisses. We are fighting back with hearts, not hate. And although Love is hard to find, and hard to keep, it is the most powerful substance and feeling on this planet.
And we, my friends, are a vivacious, brilliant, great big, rolling red love letter to the Universe. No matter how hard it gets, how nasty they might treat us, keep the love coming. Don’t give up. We are beautiful, and we do deserve everything good in life. Simple as that.