Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding what I didn't know I was missing

I've always been fat. No, strike that. When I was a little kid, I was plump. Chubby. And for one brief period I was actually very thin. Staying in that place was incompatible with living, though, so I got fat again.

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Cute, huh? I think I was about 7.

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This was on a vacation when I was 9. We were in Spain. I was definitely sure I was fat then.

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6th grade confirmation. I'm the one in the long dress with the poofy sleeves. I was pretty much convinced I was the size of a house at this point.

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Here I am thin. I was 18, almost 19, and on a lot of amphetamines and not much food. I wore a size 8 and weighed 148 pounds. I had visible ribs, vertebrae, and hipbones that jutted out so far you could put a coathanger on them.

Needless to say I had issues. I fought back and forth with my weight, all the time feeling disgusting and worthless and every time gaining back more than I'd lost. This happened from probably 8, 9 years old until I was about 40. When I graduated high school, I wore a size 16. I got back into that 16 once, but not for long, and it was all part of a journey to where I landed at 40, in a size 24 to 28 depending on the cut. There was actually a period of time when I had a pair of "fat jeans" hanging on the wall in my bedroom to keep me motivated. Yes, eventually I got to where those same fat jeans were too small.

I gave up trying to lose weight and just did the best I could living day to day in a fat body, but I still hated myself and had very little self-esteem. Eventually, I decided that if people didn't like the way I looked, they didn't have to look at me, and I decided to be as fabulous as I could. Deep insecurities and hatred remained, but I pretty much hushed them up.

When I met Bob in 2002, my weight had been stable for a few years. I was relatively happy and confident. Still in the back of my mind sat the nagging thought that I should DO SOMETHING ABOUT MY WEIGHT. Despite 32 years of trying to DO SOMETHING. Despite ruining my health and metabolism and relationship with food.

I think it was around 2005 when I first found I Blame The Patriarchy, (linked on the sidebar), the blog of one Twisty Faster, a radical feminist and now one of my favorite writers and a HUGE influence on me. Her blog had a standalone forum at that time and it was there someone posted a link to Kate Harding's Shapely Prose, also on the sidebar. That link changed my life.

The post I was linked to was this one. Or maybe it was this one. Whichever it was, it led me down the road to the Fatosphere, to fat acceptance, body positivity, and Health at Every Size. Too late, but better late than never,

If you want to know more about fat acceptance, Kate's archives are a great place to start. So is this.

From there, it's easy to explore links, read, research (studies NOT funded by the six billion dollar a year diet industry) and learn.

I am a happier person. I like myself more now. I am more patient and tolerant with my body. I advocate for myself in medical, professional, and social settings. I wish I had found this when I was 25. I might not have wasted all those years hurting myself instead of embracing the potential for who I truly am. Now, since my injury back in 2008, I have mobility issues, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy. (along with other fun stuff) If I'd started taking care of myself independent of weight back then, my health would likely be much better now.

But being where I am, I do the best I can.

For more on Fat Acceptance, here are some of my favorite fats on the internet.

Ragen

Michelle

HAES

BFB

And Melissa's excellent series on fat.

Mostly, i would encourage those new to this idea to question what you think you know. Question the conventional wisdom. Question "everybody knows". Read "the diet myth" by Paul Campos and "rethinking thin" by Gina Kolata. Open your mind and open your heart. What have you got to lose?

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