We all have encountered fat shamers in our lives. Be it our well-meaning family members who “are worried about us” or the creepy dude at the bar who has nothing better than to do than make whale jokes.
I’ve been there.
I’ve had the well meaning concern trolls. There have been plenty of opportunistic “entrepreneurs” who think I need to hear about their weight loss product. Who hasn’t dealt with the guy who thinks saying something nasty about our outward appearance will change the fact we just told him “no thanks” to that beer he wanted to buy us.
At the top of the list of the toughest fat shamers I’ve had to do battle with is myself. I have always used humor to defuse uncomfortable situations, especially my own discomfort. Most of my young adult life was highlighted by my discomfort with my body. I left a long string of insulting jokes about myself in my wake. The great thing was, they always got a laugh or two. I became the “funny girl.” I would smile with pride when someone would say “this girl is hilarious!”
The laughter I was creating in public turned sinister when alone in front of my mirror. The jokes about my the size would become the dark, defeating tape that ran through my mind. They weren’t just jokes, they were self-fulling prophecies. I was too fat to dance, for fear of causing earthquakes in Tokyo. I was too out of shape to hike, because no one wants to hike with Darth Vadar. What was approving laughter in public was the reinforcing glue that kept these thoughts invisibly stuck to my mirror. What I always strove to create was also the pain that tore me apart.
Once I starting dipping my toe into the Body Positive pool I began to question the negative self-talk tape in my head. I started questioning the “truths” I was seeing when I looked in the mirror. I realized I was recording this tape, and torturing myself with it. The amount of input that other people had on my feelings of self-worth were nothing compared to my own impact.
Learning to love myself has really been an inside-out journey. I’m working hard on learning that what other people think of me is none of my business, whether they chose to share their opinions or not. What is my business, is how I think of myself. What I think, and say, when I see myself has a huge impact on my journey.
I still slip into bad habits, especially when I am feeling incredibly insecure. But, now at least I hear them for what they are… the ways the toughest fat shamer tries to put me back into my comfort zone.
I’m not ready to give up my title as the totally hilarious chick yet. I’m always on the hunt for the humor in my life. I just don’t have to find it in my body shape anymore.