Just be you!
And so, dear reader, now we know the truth… I’m fat, maybe you’re fat, maybe people know know are fat.
And if you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that I think it’s not a moral failing or something terrible and shameful. It certainly isn’t the worst thing you can be, or even in the top 10.
Today, I’d like to talk about how to deal with being fat in a world where stick figure slimness is touted as the preferred way of being beautiful.
First of all, I want to stress this: there is no perfect or right shape. “Fat” gets a lot of airtime, but skinny ladies have just as much body insecurity as us curvy ladies. I hear a lot of overweight women take swipes at their thin counterparts, as if we need to put down skinniness as a way to somehow legitimatize our own body shape.
Please, don’t do that.
We’re all in this superficial world together. I’m only talking about being fat because that’s what I personally know, but most of what I’m going to write can apply to anyone, of any shape. And remember, ladies, men have body insecurity too for the same reasons we do.
So, how do we all handle living in a superficial world? Here’s a few things that work for me.
1. Realize that weight is just a number. It’s a cliche, but cliches become overused because they’re often true. This is a number that’s essentially meaningless. Don’t define yourself based on a number, not age, weight, number of Facebook friends, or number of times you’ve won Words With Friends. If you want to define yourself, define yourself by things that matter, and in my opinion, those are the things that can’t be measured by numbers: hopefulness, love, joy, depth of friendships, to name just a few.
2. Develop selective hearing. One of my favorite cartoonists, Danielle Corsetto, has a comic on this. Essentially, why should I care about what random people think? There are people out there who have watched Jersey Shore. Like, voluntarily. And enjoyed it. Same goes for 16 and Pregnant, Alaskan Bush People, Jackass, etc. So, if I disagree with people’s opinions on TV and mock their exquisitely bad taste, why oh why am I going to care about their opinions on body type? Or anything else, for that matter.
3. Be confident! Confidence really does make a huge difference. Dress for your body type and personality and call attention to your best features. I’d love to be one of those women who looks effortlessly stylish in casual clothes, but that’s just not me. I’m a Converse and torn jeans kind of girl, and I can rock that like no one’s business. I have great eyes, so I wear eyeliner and eyeshadow. Confidence really is more attractive than a particular body type. Stand with your head up and shoulders back. Look people in the eye and smile. There aren’t enough smiles in the world.
4. Figure out what really defines you as a person. For me, I define myself by my kindness, optimism, writing, and wit. I have other good points, but those are the ones I think are most prominent, and those seem to be the ones that my friends appreciate most about me. When you focus on the good points about yourself, you’ll feel better about yourself overall, and superficial things will become less important.
5. Stop labeling things as “good” or “bad.” This goes for food, body types, type of day you’re having. When we label things, then we have expectations about them, often unrealistic expectations. Chocolate cake is not a moral decision. It’s not bad to eat it. It might make you feel bad if you eat too much, but the chocolate cake is not an existential dilemma. Thinness or fatness is not a good thing or a bad thing. In the 17th Century, bigger was better, at least when it came to women. Times change, trends shift. Don’t base your self-worth on something so fleeting as public opinion.
6. Just be you. Seriously. Jennifer Lawrence says things that would probably earn ridicule in other actresses, but because she owns it and says it with confidence, people love her. Sure, some people bash her, but she is one of those actresses who is loved by a whole lot of people. There are many people who will appreciate you for you. That’s how you find your tribe. I found my tribe because my people are irreverent and socially awkward. How did I find them? By being me. If I tried to pretend to be something I’m not, I may never have found them. My tribe doesn’t care about my weight because they value me for things other than my appearance.