Yesterday I posted a facebook status saying that I was taking the week off from everything blog related, and I had planned on sticking to that statement, but last night as I sat down and watched Huge I knew that there was something I wanted to address and since the blog post instantly came to me I figure why the hell not indulge in a little posting. I guess the creativity comes back when you take the pressure off huh?
Well since I am not under pressure i’m not really going to talk much about what happened in the episode, if you want a play by play check out Fatshionista’s Recaps. Basically this post, just like our other weekly Huge posts, is just a reflection from one instance of the show, one small moment. Amber and George (the hard bodied couselor) were getting their makeout on, which i’m not quite sure how I feel about, and he got a bit grabby and touched her stomach and basically she kind of freaked out. This ended up making him think that he was moving too fast, but we find out it wasn’t really the speed that was the problem, it was her insecurity with her stomach. First off let me just say he is a counselor at her FAT CAMP, i’m pretty sure he knows she isnt a size 2, yet he has been all up in her pretty Hasselhoffness and doesnt seem to have a problem with it and is far more concerned with the fact that she is under age then the size of her jeans. None the less this triggered a bit of reflection for me cause as ridiculous as it is we’ve all probably been there right? We’ve all probably found ourselves in the middle of a makeout session and worrying about what will happen when the person we’ve had our lips attached to for the last hour feels the layer of fat that coveres our stomach. Or what will happen when our top comes off and our lover see’s a roll, or a patch of stretch marks or anything else that we think is wrong with our bodies and hide from the world.
When I was 15 I met a guy from another school. He was a football player, the kind of all American popular guy, had a killer smile, a fairly ripped bod, and basically the thought that he was God’s gift to women. He and I hit it off right away though and had a lot more in common then I ever really thought we would since I was the cute but chubby funny girl and he was Mr. Everything to Everyone. We got along great and to even my own suprise he asked me out about a week after meeting me. We went on quite a few dates and eventually became an item. We talked on the phone till all hours of the night and we spent some serious time with our tongues shoved down eachother throats in the back of movie theatres. As we got more serious you would think I would have become more secure in the relationship but I didn’t. I never wanted to meet any of his friends because I was afraid after seeing me they would give him shit and that he would realize that I wasn’t attractive enough to be dating him. I also was constantly worrying everytime his hands would roam my body that he was going to feel my fat and be disgusted and realize that I wasn’t the girl for him. Before our dates I would spend hours dressing myself to look my smallest, and thinking of how if things got hot and heavy I could somehow distract attention away from my stretch marked hips and petruding belly. It got to the point that I couldn’t even find myself enjoying the moments with him anymore, I was too busy overanalyzing any thing he could possibly be thinking in regard to my body, to my fat. Eventually I physched myself out enough that I was convinced that he was ashamed of me, that even though I was the one turning down group activites that I was somehow his dirty little secret. That I couldn’t be with someone who thought I was less than them. I ended up breaking his heart and mine with my own insecurity and ruining a relationship with a guy who never had thought one single negative thing about my body. All because I couldn’t see past my own insecurities.
I know that losing a possible love at 15 isnt that big of a deal but is something I carried with me for a long time. For years everytime I got naked with a lover for the first time I still found myself worrying what they were going to think when they find out whats was underneath the clothes. It took quite a few years to realize that anyone who was worth getting naked for would love my body just as they loved every other part of me. That women and men even those of the gym rat variety could still find an appreciation for a soft stomach, and a juicy ass. That my fat wasn’t a secret, that they knew it was there before getting my clothes off and that it hadn’t changed their opinon of me yet and wasn’t going to. I realized how ridiculous I had been and how all my insecurity had done was make me appear ridiculous. I was confident in myself fully clothed and there was no reason that my confidence needed to deminish when the clothes disappeared.
Last night I took down a few notes while watching Huge for my Huge Reflection post for this week. I had a whole page of quotes, thoughts, WTF’s and memories it brought to mind, but I think the thing that had the most affect on me and brought up the most to reflect on for me was when the character Ian said to Alistair
“It’s so freaking hard and you still have so much left to go”
Now this may not seem like the most thought provoking line especially in regard to self love and body acceptance but it brought up alot of questions for me. This whole episode of Huge was about weight loss and weigh ins ofcourse but it was also about pressure, acceptance, expectations and the way each character feels about themselves in regard to their weight. I’m fairly certain that every fat person, even those who now practice fat acceptance, have dieted or intentionally tried to lose weight atleast once in their life. We have all probably stepped on a scale with worry and anxiousness, and stepped off a time or two with pride, dissapointment, anger, confusion, happiness, and feelings of failure. As I watched the Huge campers appproach their weigh ins and saw the different expressions of feelings cross their faces I could think of a time where I had felt the same as every single one of them at one point or another throughout my weigh in history. I could remember times of victory and happiness where I stepped on a scale after the first week of a new diet to find 5lbs had fallen off my body. I could also remember the times which typically happened on week 3 or 4 of a “lifestyle change” where the pounds had either become stagnent and I felt dissapointed, or when the pounds had creeped back up after having a cheeseburger that week, and feeling angry with myself. I also remembered that even on the weigh ins of loss, the feelings of victory not sticking for very long and 5lbs not feeling like such a great feat in the bigger 280lbs scheme of things, thats right because ““It’s so freaking hard and you still have so much left to go”.
Why do we, or did we, put so much pressure on people and on ourselves to the point where doing well in regard to losing pounds can still not feel like enough? Why is doing our best and trying our hardest still not enough unless we reach an acceptable size? How can our society be so fixated on a number and that we all need to reach that number in order to be attractive, healthy, sucessful, and worthy? And if we don’t give a shit about that number and how society feels about, if we practice acceptance of our size and living our lives at whatever that size may be were considered wrong, detrimental to the society that outcasts us already, and ignorant? Why is it only ok for someone who is thin already or actively persuing a smaller pant size justified in saying something along the lines of “I don’t want to let a number define my whole view of myself” but when I say that at 270lbs and a non-dieting but still healthy and active lifestyle I am slammed and considered the real problem?
Why is it ok for Seventeen Magazine to promote a Body Peace Treaty like they advertized during last nights Huge but people who promote fat acceptance considered bad role models for doing essentially the same thing? Is it because Seventeen is also showcasing size 0 models 3 pages before and after while self loving fatties are showcasing such “radical” ideas as Health At Every Size and the belief that weight is not an indicator of health?
So those were the questions it brought up for me and the answers to them I don’t really have, all i know is “I don’t want to let a number define my whole view of myself” and even if that makes me the villan to some I’m not going to. I spent far too much of my life trying to live up to other peoples expectations in regard to my size. I let the pressure to be under a certain number on the scale break my spirit, take away a part of my heart, ruin my fun and missed out on way too many exciting experiences because I was too busy counting calories, weighing obsessivley, and figuring out how many calories I would have to burn in order to have a slice of pizza. The pressure, the expectations, the emotional rollercoaster is not worth it. For me its far more important to live a scale free, diet lacking, fat and fearless life, and thats exactly what I’m going to do. Whether my body stays the same, shrinks, or gets larger I know that I will be viewing myself by the size of my heart which, since leaving behind caring about the size of my ass, has grown two sizes.
Quote Of The Day:
” I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped.”-Fredrick Perls
Quote Of The Day
“We are all born originals – why is it so many of us die copies?
– Edward Young
Lets carry over from last Friday’s Post regardin what makes us special, unique, beautiful and one of a kind! What makes you the wonder that you are?
Things were a bit deep yesterday and since it’s Friday I think we could use something a little more lighthearted!
Quote Of The Day
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” — Marilyn Monroe
What makes you uniquely you? What are qualities you have that aren’t societies idea of perfection but that you love about yourself? Talk yourself up, its Friday you deserve it!
As the good 20 something that I am I stay pretty fixed on MTV, especially now that Gabi from Young Fat & Fabulous is in the running for the MTV TJ competition. GO GABI! Recently a new show has begun on MTV called If You Really Knew Me and as I was watching it last night it got me thinking a bit about a few different instances in my life, how I’ve become the person I am and what kind of person I still aspire to be.
If You Really Knew me is basically a reality version of The Breakfast Club where they take the outlook of different types of teenagers defined as what we in sociology would call their High School Master Status- you know the thing that you notice first about them and classify them as, unfortunately in high school that’s things like Jock, Geek, Cheerleader, Stoner, Class Clown… whatever, and follow them through the process of a one day program called Challenge Day. This day serves as a chance to break down barriers between cliques and individuals by forcing the realization that we all have problems and that we are all the same deep down, and attempts to be a tool to change the way students in each high school view each other.
When I was a junior in high school Challenge Day was actually introduced to my school. A group of mentors were chosen, and in a lot of cases were people who were leaders of each clique and some people who didn’t really fit in anywhere. That group was taken into the mountains and they did a lot of the activities that they do in challenge day plus a lot more in regard to being a “mentor” for the schools challenge day itself. When they came back they helped select a group of students probably around 75-100 kids and they were asked to participate in Challenge Day. I was one of those kids and I was interested to find out what it was really about. It was basically really close to what they show on the now MTV reality show, at first it consisted with ice breaker games to get us all to loosen up and let our guards down and then continued on to be a platform for the leaders to tell their stories and get everyone to a more open trusting place. We sat in groups with people we weren’t already close to and had to tell about our lives and share what they would know about us “If they really knew me” and spent a lunch hour building a connection with one group member individually. We also did the power shuffle exercise and hugged and cried and spread the love and ended the day with apologies, new friendships and a new understanding. For some it was an experience that really changed our lives and the way we interacted and for others it lasted maybe a couple of days but faded over time. None the less I think that at least for that one day it affected everyone involved. The next year we did it all over again and this time I participated as a mentor and the experience was beneficial again.
I hold some pretty strong memories from those 2 days and they actually feel a lot closer to me then a lot of my other high school memories, and I think that is why I now find myself 8 years later watching the show and getting teary-eyed every time. Some of the things I hold with me from those days I wont ever forget and honestly have become a part of what you would know if you really knew me and to me I think that’s worth sharing.
If you really knew me you would know that the summer before my junior year when I was 16 my father passed away suddenly from pulmonary fibrosis, which is basically a blood clot in the lungs. He had been sick but none of us knew that it was something so serious. I still remember that day like it was yesterday waking up on a summer morning at 7:32am to a phone call from my mother. I had left the phone in my room that not because I had been having a late night conversation with my boyfriend of the moment planning the trip we would be taking later that week. My mom told me that my dad hadn’t looked well that morning and that she had scheduled him a doctor’s appointment and asked me to take the phone to him. I walked from my room to the other end of the house to his bedroom not even looking into the other rooms of our house. He wasn’t in his room and his clothes for the day were still laid out, i remember being frustrated thinking that the whole neighborhood probably saw him vacuuming in his underwear again and headed back down the hall. As I passed our computer room I found him lying on the ground face first. He had hit his head on the computer desk and there was blood seeping into the carpet. My mom hung up and called 911 and the next thing I knew I had a dispatcher calling me back telling me to stay calm and to try rolling him onto his back. My father was a big man and more than I could easily lift and as I tried to roll him onto his back I saw his eyes completely glazed over and knew that there was no point. I picked up the family dog and carried her into the bedroom and cried until the paramedics arrived. He had been gone for 30 minutes at the point and they could not reassesitate him. He was gone, and I felt like it was all my fault.
If you really knew me you would know that this is one of the moments that has unfortunately defined the greater part of my late teen and my adult life. I ended up staying with my boyfriend at the time that was supposed to just be a fling because I didn’t want any other part of my life to change. I lost my virginity that I had been saving for marriage a week later. I fought with my Grandmother for the first time and our relationship completely changed and has never been the same. Everything that I cared about before and every carefree moment of my life felt like it would never come back. I battled depression, guilt, grief and a lot of anger and even now on the anniversary of his death and on his birthday I am still a complete mess. His death made me grow up fast and made me push to have a family of my own, even if that meant getting married way too young to someone who I knew wasn’t right for me. If you really knew me you would know that passed on going out-of-state for college even though I got into the University of my choice and never told anyone about it. Instead I stayed home to be close to my mom and the guy I thought was the ticket to my new family.
If you really knew me you would know that the first Challenge Day I went to was only a few months after his death and at that time during the power shuffle when they asked if anyone had lost a parent I was the only one but that one year later at the second there was myself and another 5 who had lost parents and siblings that very year. If you really knew me you would know that I spent at least an hour a week in a grief counseling group with these people who somehow became my friends right before losing their immediate family members. You would know that I felt like the angel of death for quite a few years and like my very presence made these kids lose their loved ones but if you really knew me you would know that now I believe quite the opposite and that maybe I was sent to them to help them get through that time of the life as an ear and a voice of experience and that for a long time this was one of the only reasons I had any belief in God.
If you really knew me you would know that before my dad passed a group of girls toilet papered my house for an entire summer and that every time it happened my wonderful father would have it cleaned up before I could see it and have hurt feelings or embarrassment and that on challenge day one of those girls apologized to me for that and that we are now as much of friends as we could be considering all the history between us. If you really knew me you would know that depression and grief caused me to gain 50lbs my junior year and that even though I had always been a bit chubby this was the first time I felt truly fat, ugly and unworthy of love. You would know that I got teased, stood up, laughed at and used because of that 50lbs and the 20 that followed my senior year and for a long time I felt inadequate as a female and especially as a lover. If you really knew me your would know that because of all of this between the death and the sex and the weight I developed an unhealthy perception that I was only worth what someone wanted to do with me, and a fucked up logic that equated sex to love and that I still battle with this on a daily basis. If you really knew me you would know that this fucked up logic has made me do a lot of things that I am not proud of and that I would be ashamed to admit, but also if you really knew me you would know that meeting the love of my life and being with someone who is willing to work with my on my struggles and love my unconditionally has given me a new lease on life and love and I could never be more greateful to her for that.
If you really knew me you would know that for so long I wore so many different masks, whether it be the mask of promiscuity, a mask of nonchalance, a mask of humor and for a long time the mask of a fake smile but that now for the first time in my life I am mask free and have been able to find a love for myself again, a love for my family, for my body,for following my heart and for being willing to put it all out there and stepping away from the fear and letting you all know what its like to REALLY KNOW ME.
Be the change is the slogan Challenge Day has adopted from the great Ghandi quote “Be The Change You Wish To See In The Rest Of The World” and I hope that by putting this all out there and having this site that is exactly what I am doing. I truly believe that everything is a chain and that every part of my life was necessary to getting to where I am now and a lot of that self discovery started with Challenge Day.
So what would we know if we really knew you?