I have always felt “fat” as defined by the great “they” out there.
I started developing when I was nine and my brother was the first to announce it to my mothers. “I will not ride the bus with her anymore until you buy her a bra.” The comment provided HUGE fuel to my personal image of self – NOT.
Curves showed up not long after. Looking around the middle school I realized that I was not like the other girls. The magazines on the shelves and that showed up in my mailbox only emphasized just how wrong my body was.
The images of my mother as a beauty queen around the house reminded me that I was NOT a beauty queen. The biggest “you are not right” moment happened when I decided to use her high school cheerleader outfit for a Halloween costume – and it did NOT fit. I was bigger in middle school than my mom was in high school.
That launched me into an obsession with dieting that followed me for most of my life. The Grace of God kept me from developing a full-blown eating disorder, but I missed out on many opportunities because of my insecurities about being fat.
The irony was that I was not fat. I was not skinny. I was full of curves, physically fit (and very active), had hair to die for, and intelligence that made school a breeze. Looking back at pictures of me, I genuinely wonder how I came to the conclusion that I was FAT.
My obsession grew in college where I tried fad diets, herbal pills, and intense exercise routines. I still felt fat because “they” said that my size curves on my size frame was fat.
I started teaching ballroom dance which kept me on my feet for eight to ten hours every day – in four inch hills no less. I added in stretching exercises and core strengthening exercises twice a day. My muscles toned and defined, but I still weighed the same. I comfortably wore a size 8 jean – which was a first since I had entered junior high.
Training with a dance coach – for an upcoming pro competition – he pulled me aside and explained that I was too fat to ever be a professionally competitive dancer.
I had to evaluate the people I was around and the things “they” were forcing on me. I knew that I was in the best physical condition of my life (and I ran track in high school) but the people around me were telling me that I was still not good enough.
I felt fat because “they” said I was fat. I had breasts and hips and without surgical help I would always have breasts and hips – so I could never match they definition of thin determined by “they.”
What is it about society that makes perfectly healthy and fit girls crazy because they can’t fit into a size zero? What person determined that there needed to be a size zero? Who was the MAN who decided what “fat” would be?
It is time to redefine what “they” deem acceptable.
In the last few years, it seems to me that people in general are beginning to embrace women with curves. The kids today are wearing clothes that emphasize the rolls and the fat and they are not focused on disguising it all.
The trends may be shifting, but “they” do not seem to be jumping on board. I watched on a recent television show where girls (who had the fat hanging over their pants or rolls under their shirt) where talking about how other girls were “fat.” They did not see themselves as fat – just the others.
Maybe society is more delusional or transitional. It seems to me that there is still far too much airbrushing going on in the print industry to believe that attitudes about fat have changed.
I am tired of waiting for “they” to get it right.
Today, I start a revolution.
Want to join me?
I will start with my own children and the kids that they bring around – I will remind them that they are special and encourage them to eat better, get moving, and be unique.
I will start with my own image – I will remind myself that “they” do not define me. If I can find a place of comfort and peace then that is my place. “They” do not know me and “they” will not direct me.
One personal image at a time – I am out to change the world.