There is, as most of us well know, this predominant and predictable culturally-sanctioned prejudice against those of us who are fat. Please do not be offended if you are, like I am, fat, by my use of the word fat. I just have a problem with being referred to as overweight because no one can or will tell me whose weight it is that I am over and how or why that needs to have relevance in my life. What I weigh is what I weigh and as such it doesn’t have to be judged as negative through some narrow process of capricious comparison. I have found taking back the word fat to be an empowering experience.
You can’t get hurt by being bashed in the psyche with the word fat if you take it back. To me the word fat is not the pejorative that so many fire it at me and people like me meaning it to be – not at all. It is a word that I own. It is a descriptor of my body size that does not have to carry with it a negative connotation for me anymore. To be told I am fat now has as much importance to me as to be told I am a woman or have any other reality of my life pointed out to me. What is, just is.
I refuse to let being criticized for being a woman, a fat woman, fat, or anything else for that matter change even one moment of how I experience life and my personhood in what living my life means to me. There is personal power in that. Fat power.
Fat power, for me, has meant coming to radically accept whatever size I am. Whatever size I am, whatever size you are is just a fact. It’s okay. It is what is right now. The empowerment that radically accepting your size can give you is the peace that can be found in taking back the word fat, owning it, and not allowing yourself to be shamed by anyone with that word ever again. You can do that. We can do that. We do not have to ascribe to the culturally-sanctioned prejudice that drives people to negate us based upon the fact that we are bigger than they are. Why do they value all that is so shallow?
We live in a fat-phobic world. I believe that the issues, fears, and/or prejudice that many others have about those of us who are fat are best left with those who feel so insecure, or have such low-self esteem that they have to try to make themselves feel better by putting us down. That says way more about the fat-phobic people than it says about us fat people.
There is such a mindless polarized collective consciousness that if one thing, being thin, is perceived as desirable it automatically, in small minds, then stands to "reason" that its opposite has to be bad. As if life is really that simple or shallow – it isn’t.
Those who find it necessary to follow the fat-phobic masses in this culturally-sanctioned segregation who do not think for themselves or have the character or Grace to be compassionate based upon difference, who think that everyone should think the way they do, or look the way they look, or value what they value, are truly the ones who need to take a long hard look in the mirror. In the mirror of the imperfect human condition in which it is truly futile to try to be perfect. In the mirror that can reflect back to the senselessly-sizeist what it is that they lack that drives them to be so polarized, judgemental, and shallow. Fat-phobia is the issue and responsibility of the fat phobic – not those of us who are fat.
Fat power is finding your way through the crazy culture of mind-numbing judgement secure in the knowledge that your value and worth are intrinsic and that they cannot be diminished by anyone who is so arrogant as to abuse you verbally, emotionally, and/or psychologically because of your body size.
Those who espouse these self-absorbed and dispassionate judgemental views and then make sure that we hear them have a much greater need to be enlightened. As someone who is fat I wish each and every fat-phobic person the revelation of a new and deeper awareness in what is truly important and of value in life. I hope for each fat-phobic person that they can awaken to the wound they carry that leaves them blinded by the shallow light of intolerance. It must be an awfully painful and dark place from which to live. It is an unenlightened place from which to relate to the world. My sense is that the fat-phobic don’t just judge those of us who are fat. My sense is that they have other prejudices and as much intolerance for most, if not all differences. That’s sad.
If you are, like me, a fat person, you can awaken such an enlightening awareness inside of you by just flipping the switch of your perception of your own body size, its meaning and the meaninglessness of the vile verbal abuse of the fat-phobic. That’s fat power. Fat power awaits your choice to engage it.
Fat power, like a phoenix, rises gracefully from within a strong sense of self. Fat power is the outright refusal to be defined by a culture that values something called a size zero. I don’t know about you but I value having size and I do not want or need to be anything near a size zero. I do not need to fit in and I mean that literally. I dare to literally stick out and not feel ashamed of that or by that. How dare I eh? I believe that I have a right to all the space that my body needs. I am okay with being more visible.
Fat power is the power of one exercised through a refusal to be controlled by what others think. Fat power is the power of one realized in knowing that who you know you are carries much more weight than how others attempt to define you.
Fat power is an enlightened awareness that you can tap into the second that you give yourself permission to let go of believing that what anyone else says about you has more value than what you know to be true about yourself and who you are. Your size, like my size, if you are fat, is, whether we intend it to be or not, a statement. Define the statement that your size is in your own way, on your own terms. Take your power back. I have.
Fat power awaits your choice to engage it. Embrace it. Embrace yourself. Value yourself. Take back your right to be who you are, as you are, because you are. If you are fat, choose fat power.
© A.J. Mahari
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