Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lofty aspriations for FA.

I was reading this entry over at SP and it reminded me of something that happened to me a long time ago.

When I was around 23 or so I met this woman who I had one of those strange instant OMG ME TOO feelings with. That doesn't happen often for me, at least not when it comes to an instant we only said three words and are finishing each others sentences kind of way. At that time I was just discovering body acceptance and I remember we talked about it one night as we were sitting in a bar trying to look fabulous.

Mind you, at the time I was actually a bit fatter than I am now. I had gained quite a bit of weight after a back injury and looking back I was feeling a bit wibbly emotionally because of it.

She on the other hand was what many people would deem painfully thin. I'm talking if she exhaled you could clearly see ribs, she usually was relegated to the childrens section for dresses and such. She was too long legged but short to wear the kids sized pants. She looked a bit ill frankly and knew it.

I met some of her family and that is the kind of stock she came from. Her father reminded me of cartoon depictions of Ichabod Crane. Extremely tall and all arms and skinny legs. Her Mom wasn't as tall but was just as thin. I remember she told me (because I asked) that the only time she'd ever in her life been a normal weight was while she was pregnant.

She used to joke that she was descendant of the Great Stick People.

At the time I admit I would occasionally feel a little jealous until I started paying close attention to how she was treated by people. I would watch people look at her with serious contempt and disgust. I remember we went shopping together once and I heard the sales girl mutter, "gross" when she was bent over looking at something because you could see her spine through her shirt.

Moving along she wound up moving at some point and prior to that we had a sit at home get piss drunk girls night together and she spilled a whole lot to me.

What sticks out most in my mind is how anguished and guilty she felt about the natural state of her body. She told me that she'd spent some time trying to binge eat in an attempt to gain a little weight. She said that she went on all sorts of crazy diets (sound familiar yet?), that strangers made her cry, that she'd been called terrible names as a child, teenager and adult by strangers.

She talked about trying to find adult clothing. Her body was at the time pretty much shaped like a pre-pubescent boy and she had a devil of a time finding anything she felt was grown up and feminine that fit her at all.

Now, let's take a break for a second and if you'll indulge me for a moment think about how often we hear the same thing from fat folks?

Not the exact same of course but, a vein of shared experience.

Tears? Humiliation in the store while trying to buy clothes? Shame? Doing harmful things to try and make your body do what it might not be able to do?

Prior to that long ago heartfelt talk, I had never ever given a thought to someone thin having a hard time. I had never thought that the outsider status of my own fat body and the feelings and experiences of living in that body could be shared or understood by someone so entirely different.

My point here is that I would really love to make room in FA for not fat people, or even very thin people.

Mainly because the same person who calls you a fat bitch, is probably the same person who would call someone like her an anorexic bitch.

Because that would hurt you like it'd hurt her.

Now maybe I'm getting a little hippy dippy here but, I think that we have to expand our ideas about experience. I truly believe that the more of us who say, my body isn't here for you to judge, the more of us (us here being human beings specifically) who are taking a stance and being defiant and living in the bodies we have happily the better.

Honestly I would like to see Fat Acceptance become obsolete and unecessary. Ultimately I would like to see FA morph/intersect with/join with the more simple body acceptance. I would like to see a world where we don't have to say, well you're not fat so you can just be an ally.

I would like to see all of us who experience these awful things look at each other and be the voices that say no, we will not put up with this.

I say these things not because I dislike FA or whatever but because, I think the overarching messages of FA would do a shitload of people good and would gain a greater reach.

Part of my whole life philosophy I suppose you could say is seriously opening arms to more people as opposed to less. I want ALL of us, (homies, haters, fatties, skinny folks, homos, not homos, everybody) to be able to live our lives, stand straight proud and happy.

Lofty aspirations maybe but there you go.

Okay I am really seriously finished right now. I have got a weird and bad migraine that is causing my sense of smell to get wacked out.

I went for some OTC drugs at Safeway and sparkly water, and something in the coffee aisle interacted with the migraine and now all I can smell and somewhat taste is that sweetened hazelnut creamer, you guys know what I'm talking about? Anyway it's making me seriously nauseated and cranky.

So yeah.

OH also note to self, talk about Japan tomorrow.

Homo Out.



moxie3 said...

2 things, first of all I do think FA is open to all sizes of people as the majority of people dislike their bodies no matter what size they are and second, I cannot stand the smell of that creamer either!

The Rotund said...

I think parts of FA are very into welcoming that discussion - ideally, yeah, we wouldn't need FA but I think FA addresses external fat hate and internal fat hate - FA is uniquely positioned to deal with fatties hating fatties (themselves and others) - in a way that more generalized body acceptance can't right now. So, I share your ideals, I just don't think the world is quite ready for that yet. *grin* And, in the meantime, we go on saying: no one is too fat for fat acceptance, no one is too thin for fat acceptance.

And I know this is super random but I am SO FRIED and SICK and bleh, I'm going to go fall down.

Thorn said...

I had a similar friendship several years ago, with a former coworker who was very thin, thanks to a combination of genetics and recovering from an eating disorder. We "got" each other in ways nobody else in our office did, and I'm sure some people thought it was weird - the fatty and the skinny hanging out - but we both knew what it was like to have people constantly judging your every move.

When I'm talking to people IRL about FA, I tend to talk more about "size acceptance" or "body acceptance" than about "fat acceptance," not because I'm trying to avoid the dreaded F-word, but because I'm trying to make sure people understand that I believe in people of ALL sizes being able to live free of judgment.

Lofty aspirations indeed. grin.

wriggles said...

I say these things not because I dislike FA or whatever but because, I think the overarching messages of FA would do a shitload of people good and would gain a greater reach

To be honest, I thought this would happen. I thought women of every weight would be shouting yay, I'm feeling that.
When I hear someone who's talking what I consider to be the truth, I've never checked out her/his weight.

It's only after repeatedly hearing, that fat acceptance only applies to fat people that I realised it wasn't going to be that simple.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. My best friend has spent her whole life dealing with rude looks and comments, trying to gain weight. I admit when we were younger I didn't give her much sympathy, but now I know that she with her underweight and I with my overweight are in the same boat together of being wrongly judged by the size of our containers and not what's IN them.

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