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    I'm Amanda, a 21 year old Florida girl. I'm a student at the University of North Florida, where I'm majoring in Journalism. I love music, the beach and driving. My friends are my family, and I love hanging out at the movies, the hookah bar or a rock show. I want to pick up as many useless talents as possible and to travel the world taking pictures and having good times with my best friends. For more information about me, view my About page.
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The F-word.

So I just discovered this phenomenon called the Fat-O-Sphere, the fat person’s Blog-O-Sphere. These bloggers are people who preach a concept called Fat Acceptance, and I’ve gotta say I am shocked, amazed and dumbfounded. There are people out there… intelligent, creative, witty, downright amazing people out there who believe it is actually okay to be fat. They believe fat is not a bad word, and fat people deserve to be treated like people, too. Maybe this should be common sense, but I, like so many people, grew up with the knowledge that to be fat is to be less than human. As a fat girl myself… I have grown up with the firm belief that I am less of a person–less talented, less smart, less capable, less pretty or beautiful or attractive or sexy, less deserving of happiness–because I am fat.

Saying that out loud makes it sound ridiculous. It is. But such firmly embedded ideas don’t go away overnight. Since the year started I have been making a sincere effort to reevaluate myself and my views of myself, because I’m not happy, and I’m tired of not being happy. I know I’m the only person who can fix that.

Generally, I believe(d) that my happiness hinges on my size. I am fat. Because I am fat, there are hundreds of things I can never do. God forbid I, say, go dancing. No one wants to see some fat girl out there shaking things up on the dance floor. I don’t even want to let the Boychik teach me how to dance (despite his insistence that I learn), just because I am totally convinced I am too fat to be seen dancing, even by my best friend.

The thing is… I love to dance. I am terrible at it. I look terrible doing it. By all rights, even thinking about it is criminal at best. But I love it, and, seriously, why shouldn’t I do something I love?

One of the first Fat Acceptance blogs I stumbled upon, Shapely Prose, features a post called The Fantasy of Being Thin, which put into words exactly what I needed to hear:

I really believed that changing this one “simple” (ha!) thing would unlock a whole new identity — this totally fabulous, free-spirited, try-anything-once kind of chick who was effortlessly a magnet for interesting people and experiences. And of course, the dark side of that is that being fat then became an excuse not to do much of anything, because it wouldn’t be the real me doing it, so what was the point? If I wouldn’t find the right guy until I was thin, why bother dating? If I wouldn’t have a breakthrough on the novel until I was thin, why bother writing? If I wouldn’t be the life of the party until I was thin, why bother trying to make new friends? If I wouldn’t feel like climbing a mountain until I was thin, why bother traveling at all?

Seriously… this seems like such common sense, but I never could put it together. I have no reason to keep putting off the things I want to do, and, more than that, my insecurities are based on more than my appearance. My body is an excuse for ignoring my deeper flaws, like my total lack of social skills. I seriously don’t have the tiniest clue about how to approach people. Or my absolute need for approval. Among so many other things, but that’s… yet another blog.

With that in mind… I am going dancing. The weather’s keeping me away from the club tonight, but at the latest I’m going Tuesday night over Spring Break (said club’s Trash Tuesdays sound fantastic). But by God I’m going dancing.

Things have got to change, and if I don’t change them now, I never will.

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3 Responses

  1. You have no reason to believe that you are less of a person because you are fat. Be careful however, Fat Acceptance’s message is a message that is as dangerous as the Pro Ana groups of the web.

    The body positive vibe they give, certainly can’t be argued with. Their denial of science and the health consequence of prolonged obesity is wrong.

    Making people feel good about themselves is one thing. Advocating unhealthy lifestyles through denial is another.

  2. Chris, the FA movement is most definitely not advocating ‘unhealthy lifestyles through denial’ Why would they? Wouldn’t they be doing a massive disservice to themselves first and foremost? I think you got the message all wrong…

    Amanda, I’m so happy you’ve taken up dancing again. Don’t let anything stop you from doing the things you love. And as cliched as it is, it has to be said: go, girl! :o)

  3. Chris: The material I’ve been reading doesn’t advocate prolonged obesity; it actually promotes a healthy lifestyle while recognizing that just because a person leads such a lifestyle, they aren’t necessarily ever going to be thin. I know that no matter how healthy a life I lead, no matter how much weight I lose, I will never be a small or a thin person. I am naturally a big girl, and that’s something I have to accept. That’s why I can appreciate the FA community. I like the idea that being “fat” by society’s standards is not a bad thing.

    Bee: Thank you so much for the support. I can’t tell you how much it helps.

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