These are some things I have learned after living for more than two and a half decades as a fat person. This list isn’t, by any means, comprehensive or relevant to every fat person. Some things might be relevant to people who aren’t fat. That’s great. But don’t forget that this is by and for fat folks. Some things I am still trying to learn. Some things you probably already know but it just helps to have someone else say them. I hope you find use in some of these things. I hope you can teach me more.
1) Never justify your body to anyone ever again. You have a right to exist. Period. Your humanity needs no qualifiers.
2) Being fat in this world is difficult. Sometimes it can be sad. It will make you strong. But let yourself feel your feelings. When you are sad or happy or hungry or angry or full or exhausted or frustrated or exhilarated or loved or in love. Feel them. They are all valid. You are not a burden.
3) Look at yourself. Make eye contact with you in the mirror. Look at yourself. From the side. From the back. Naked. Sitting down. Standing up. Lying down. Legs over your head. Know yourself from all sides and try to remember they’re all valid. All your stretch marks and scars and cellulite and acne and moles, discoloring and rough skin.
4) Re-learn how to take up space. Fat people– especially fat women– are taught to be ashamed and embarrassed of the space we take up. Fuck. That. Don’t be ashamed to assert your needs. If the booth at that restaurant is too small your abundance don’t be afraid to ask for a table. If that chair breaks under your brilliance… well, fuck that chair. That chair sucked.
5) Make fat friends. Stop hanging out with people who make you feel bad about yourself, either intentionally or not. Don’t hang out with people who shame you for eating what you want. Who want to take you shopping but only go to stores who don’t carry your size. Who treat your fatness and your beauty as if they are mutually exclusive. Who take you to bars where you never get hit on and pretend not to notice. Who diminish your feelings because the fucked up asshole cashier just did some fucked up subtle microaggressive fat hating bullshit and try to make you think it was about something else. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
6) Listen to your body. Be aware of its limits and don’t be ashamed of them. Just because your body works differently than others doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Stairs are bullshit. Everyone knows it and if they don’t they’re lying to themselves. It’s ok to take the elevator. Unbutton your pants when you need to. Even in public. Pants are a social construct.
7) Walk with your head high. Feast on the insecurities of those who would hate you for it.
8) If you’re into sex and/or dating: have sex with and/or date other fat folks. Finding beauty and eroticism in another fat body is a wonderful way to find it in yours. Don’t hold the attention of thin folks as a higher form of validation than from fat people. Plus, fat sex is just hot.
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9) Reclaim your body. Take ownership of it. Wear sleeveless shirts, short skirts, bright colors, crop tops. Tattoo it. Pierce it. BE in your body. Make it your own. Fuck everything you thought your fatness prevented you from doing.
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10) Rethink anything negative anyone ever told you about your body. Know that problems with your body are not inherent to your body but a result of a world that wasn’t built for you. Know that this isn’t your fault. Your body is exactly how it was meant to be. Human-made structures weren’t meant to contain natural beauty.
[Feature Image: A photo of a person sitting outdoors with their head resting on their hands. It is dusk they are pictured from the shoulders up with a low haircut. Source: Pexels.com]