I used to be fatphobic. I’ll even go so far as to qualify that with a very. I live in a town/city that has always been up-to-date with all of the recent diet fads, and when you grow up with that kind of weight-based health obsession, it’s bloody impossible not to internalize it. My best friend, who is stick thin and lanky, was fatshamed by her mother throughout her childhood. So when she complained about her looks or fatness, I thought–as the fat and ugly friend– “Jeez, what must they think of me?”
These microaggressions and self-hating thoughts continued and inevitably clouded my own ideas of what healthy and unhealthy meant. Fat = unhealthy; skinny = healthy. I’m surprised that I didn’t come out of my childhood with BDD or an eating disorder, although I very nearly did. Needless to say, those attitudes toward fat and fat people kept with me until well after I left college.
That being said, there is one woman who has been the game changer. She’s on facebook a lot, and she posts Health At Every Size and body positive articles all the time. When I started reading those, and asking the hard questions about myself and my attitudes, I had to come out as fatphobic. That’s the trick, isn’t it? You have to admit to being fatphobic, having racist attitudes, having privileges, etc. before you can even begin to change. So I came out by posting a status claiming my fatphobia, but at this point I definitely wasn’t ready or willing to let go of ideas I’d held my entire life. Letting go of your bigotry is hard. It serves as this sick little protective blanket, but once you’re aware of how wrong you are, it’s impossible NOT to start letting go.
I kept reading and reading, until finally, someone cracked a fat joke and I spat out, “Hey, man, that is NOT COOL of you!” A few weeks before that moment, I’d have laughed, too. It wasn’t even a practiced or thought-out negative reaction; I had unwittingly crossed the line.
I look back now, and I can’t even believe some of the things that came out of my mouth. I am sorry to those people who have been hurt by things I’ve said or actions I’ve condoned; and I’m sorry to my past self, to be quite honest. My self-worth was directly related to how much I weighed for a long time. WHAT A WASTE OF BAD FEELINGS. I may not be happy-go-lucky about my body, and I don’t think I ever will be, but at least I have shattered the idea many times over that a person’s worth has anything at all to do with weight or body size.