My weight was the only thing I was never good at. Even at my most fit, I did track I did cheerleading, I wasn’t a star athlete but I worked out enough and ate like any teenager, infrequently and horribly, yet all I had was super muscular legs, defined lats, arms I always wanted to cover up, and a stomach that would never grace the cover of a magazine.
My cheerleading skirts had to be ordered special because I couldn’t wear the ones passed down from other years. In high school I was a size 14/16 and for a girl who found herself in a group where the average was a 2 (and they still dieted) I almost always felt like a failure in that regard.
I distinctly remembering wishing I could develop some type of eating disorder. Where I over exercised and loathed food. That was not going to ever be true for me (And thank God!) but the thought did exist. I remember wondering how it was that I excelled in so many things and yet losing weight was my biggest hurdle. It was like I couldn’t figure it out.
Once my mother asked me if I loved myself. I quizzically answered yes, because why wouldn’t i? And she told me if I loved myself I wouldn’t hold on to all the weight. My mom is always on a weight loss kick so I figured maybe she was on to something. So then it became about self-work. I read articles and mastered the art of Oprah so that I could lose weight through my soul rather than the scale only the weight never came off. Again I was stuck, do I hate myself unknowingly? Am I missing it?
As I grew up and into myself I finally stopped playing the guessing game, “What’s wrong with me?” Opting for the belief that nothing was. My fatness remained an anomaly and for the time being I allowed it to remain unsolvable and unquestioned. It wasn’t until a conversation I had with myself just yesterday that changed things.
I’ve been receiving very clear and exciting (scary) messages from the universe about my next steps. In the process of trying to figure out logistics and prioritize my own professional becoming along with everything else I’m juggling right now I sat down to ask myself how I was going to manage and more importantly why? The conclusion I came to was that the things I’m meant to do are in their fundamental stages and every life experience I’ve had up until now has uniquely prepared me for this moment. Every conversation, every chance encounter, every opportunity, every blog post, every outfit, everything. Including my body. I asked myself if I could speak with any authority on fatness or fat women if I were not, in fact, a fat woman? Likely not.
I asked myself could I hold the space of the group I want to create if I did not look like my participants? Likely not.
Does this mean I can never lose weight for fear of abandoning my audience, no. But it does mean that even this body has a purpose and that I am not separate from it dragging it along as I carry out my calling. It is very much an IMPORTANT part of my call. This is not a cage or a prison, this is me and this is the vessel through which I will touch and change lives. It was a powerful reframe for me.
I shared with Mari and Nicki my fear of expanse. Not physically but of becoming too big. I told Nicki how when I was a kid I used to bump into things constantly. My parents thought I was clumsy or careless but it was truly as if I could not see the wall or I had no idea how much of me needed to fit through the door frame. My sense of self has always been so much bigger than my body and I don’t want to get so big that I lose my boundary. I also fear becoming too ego driven and losing my center, my spiritual side. Mariko reminded me that fear was not a good enough excuse to play small (ha!) and that it is not that all these things I’ll get into redefine or redistribute “Me” Nicki helped remind me that the output of this work isn’t me at all. This is God and I am just the conduit.
When I remembered that I am just the vessel so much of my fear subsided. Zachary told me this before last summer. Not to hold on to the power as if it were mine but to allow myself to be used in service of its distribution. Letting it pass through me and not mistaking it for pieces of me. It helps to ebb the feeling of abandonment or boundarylessness when it leaves.
In all, I’ve never been happier. I found that the place where I have continually stumbled has been the rock I build from. Daring to believe that there is reason and purpose to all things allowed me the space to grow compassion for myself and eventually to forgive and accept myself entirely.
I have already considered the counterclaim that my fatness being of use in this way is an excuse to stay fat. And rather than dismiss it as society influenced fatphobia or propaganda I’ve entertained it. I think it is likely at some point I may lose weight. In fact I am currently tracking my calories in an attempt to eat better more often. However, I do not currently feel like I am “staying fat” for anyone or anything. I simply am. I may not always be. And I imagine as with any part or piece of self, as my body changes my perspectives may. But that doesn’t mean I cannot learn from the vantage point I currently have. It does not mean that I am only valid when I am in pursuit of thinness. It means my purpose is in my right now, and I’m going to answer as my whole fat self.