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Shedding my Shame

January 5, 2011

For the past couple of weeks, I have been working at  my family’s business, numbly entering information into a database. After a few days of feeling like my mind was turning to mush, I decided to give Lesley Kinzel of Two Whole Cakes and Marianne Kirby of The Rotund‘s Fatcast a listen. As silly as it sounds, my mind was completely blown. I had never heard of women talking about subjects such as bodies, shame, and power in this way. Beyond feeling like I’ve received booster classes in Fat Acceptance, these girls also made me realize how many similar experiences fat people share. One particular experience that I want to discuss today is the experience of being taunted, harrassed, stared at- all simply for being fat.

These girls and many of you have helped me realize that these situations are not my fault. I did not act in any way to incite these incidents. It is not my fault that someone has decided to be mean. However, to move on from feeling like the victim in these situations, I need to share them with you. I need to get them off of my chest and my baggage. I need to just say them and let them go. They can exist here, but I refuse to let them exist in any reasoning I form to not go after the things I want. These will no longer lurk in my fears. I refuse.

After putting together this list, I realized that in many ways these situations didn’t happen just because I was fat. There were other factors that contributed to them, but that doesn’t make them any less hurtful. Listening to these podcasts and reflecting on my own experience has made me realize that I need to be more proactive in combating bullying, combating the way people seem entitled to dictate and ridicule others’ bodies. And while this post risks sounding whiny, it is still something I needed to think about for myself. These are things that I need to shed. I hope that all of you can shed a bad experience or two. We all deserve to not let these people and experiences control our life or choices.

1. 3rd grade- a kid wrote in my yearbook that he hoped I would lose weight over the summer.

2. 6th grade- a boy I liked asked me to be his girlfriend only to later find out it was a joke concocted by him and other girls in my class.

3. Being taunted in the high school hallway by a fellow fat kid who liked to yell, “Big Beck!”

4. Having crushes on boys who told me I was too large for them.

5. Guys that were attracted to me, yet did not want to be seen in public with me.

6. Not being invited out for girls’ nights because it was “harder to pick up guys” with a fat girl along.

7. Being told that I would be acceptably attractive if it wasn’t for my beast of a butt.

8. Being told by a man that he was “drunk enough” that he’d “even consider hooking up with me.” Um- no thanks.

9. Hearing friends say, “She used to be a lot thinner,” in a negative way about my current body.

10. Being at any public place and receiving stares and/or snickers.

Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s over.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 7:52 am

    Yes i know those horror stories, i’ve been a recipient of feeling more than inadequate compared to my skinny counterparts too. Luckily my friends didn’t mind bringing me along to laugh at the guys who try too hard.

    Of course i totally relate with the bits about guys who think we are too large for their insecure selves, men who wanted to fuck us (‘scuse the language) but didn’t want to be with us.

    I’m constantly being told that i would have a lot more suitors if i am slim but i’ve actually a certain state of enlightenment now to mentally register that someone said that but i don’t let it get to me at all. I never had friends who stopped asking me out because they felt it was harder to attract men with a fat girl in tow. In fact, wouldn’t it work opposite? Our fatness “show off” their slimness. Well if they really mind you going out with them because they wanted to pick up men, they shouldn’t be your choice of friends anyway right? And as for the man who said that if he was drunk enough, he’ll consider hooking up should totally be slapped in the face. I’m not sure that even if we are drunk enough, we will be able to overlook his loser personality.

    Anyway it’s the new year, we can be better and more confident. We just need faith. Sometimes when we least expect it, it will come your way 🙂

    • January 5, 2011 1:33 pm

      Thanks, Dee, for the thoughtful comment :). You’re absolutely right that friends like those shouldn’t be friends at all. And they aren’t, anymore. But I definitely went through a part of my life where I kept people who were toxic to me around because I just didn’t seem to realize that friends could behave differently. I’m happy to say now that I surround myself with very loving friends, but part of that is just growing up and being with adults. As for the drunk guy, I let him know what an asshole he was, but unfortunately it left me crying in a hotel room for most of the night. But I feel much more confident since starting blogging and reading blogs. I didn’t handle all of the above situations in the best way, and I may not in the future, but as you said- I’ve reached some sort of enlightenment where I don’t feel that these things will destroy me now. I feel like I can brush it off and see it as their problem and go on with my day.

      Absolutely about 2011, I think it will be a great year for the both of us :).

  2. January 5, 2011 7:50 pm

    it’s brave of you to confront these incidents so publicly, but i bet it feels empowering. i commend you, and i empathize with these situations. you definitely do not come across as whiny, it reads as self-aware to me. i really appreciate this post. =)

    • January 6, 2011 12:35 am

      Thank you for the kind message. 🙂 I do feel good just letting them be known and not keeping them hidden within me.

  3. January 5, 2011 9:16 pm

    thank you so much for sharing this love. I am sending you lots of warm hugs, you beautiful person! I know what you are talking about, I grew up feeling so deeply ashamed of my self that I tried to end my life several times. I was always lonely and bullied, but I survived, and am fighting for my and all of our self worth now, I am so glad I was brave enough to listen to that whisper inside me that said that I was worthy, fat or not. You are wonderful. I ❤ you. Anika

    • January 6, 2011 12:36 am

      Anika, you are so sweet. And yes, I think it truly is a point where we have to decide what defines our worth for ourselves. ❤ I love reading your positivity on your blog.

  4. January 5, 2011 9:37 pm

    Oh my goodness! I can’t believe you had to put up with that! I had nasty comments during secondary (junior high) but it all stopped by the time I was 15.

    I sometimes feel self concious but not so much because people are staring! That is awful! I hope you blow them a kiss or give them the finger!! I have once been called a “fat cow” by some yobbo in the street and I walked up to him and asked him to say it again to my face so I could slap he – he didn’t know where to look!

    Maybe that’s the answer – I’m quite in your face and I don’t stand for much – maybe that’s the way to deal with it??

    I hope writing it down has helped you move on and find confidence. I think blogging will help – it’s helped me. x

    • January 6, 2011 12:39 am

      Thanks, Monkey. I think blogging has helped a lot. That and reading other people’s blogs who I can relate to. And I think you’re completely right about confronting the issue. People think they can get away with snide or hurtful comments, but when you confront them with their actions and your self-confidence, you can regain your own power. Thank you for the support of my blog from early on :).

  5. January 6, 2011 11:14 pm

    Oh god, I hear you. The amount of shit fat girls and women go through makes me so angry. I love that you are publicly confronting these things that have happened to you, it’s awesome! I still to this day feel physically sick when I think back to similar incidents that have happened to myself like this. It makes me furious.

    I do totally agree that reading and writing blogs has helped me too, it’s amazing! xo

    • January 9, 2011 6:00 pm

      It makes me furious, too. And I’ve become so much more aware of when people make little side comments. Even though friends/family are WITH ME they still will say things like “move tubby” when a large person is blocking their view of something. I know I eventually need to confront them when they do this, but it’s hard to grab the balls and confront those that you normally don’t have confrontations with. I know I need to though. That’s the next step.

  6. Jeniese Hosey permalink
    January 9, 2011 5:54 pm

    Wow, been there, and i think I may have a t-shirt to say I survived! I reflected recently and I realize how many of these incidents have shapped my own personal view of myself. The feelings of guilt and rejection, shame. I commend you on this post! It was very inspiring for me to continue to let go of my reminders of these incidents.

    • January 9, 2011 6:32 pm

      Yes, I think that letting go is the important part. Why should we carry someone else’s inappropriate actions with us? Unfortunately, I needed the shake up to realize that I did not incite these incidents. I simply existed, and for some reason people in our society still find fatness as something that can be publicly ridiculed. But I needed that wake up call to rise above my past experiences and move on. Thank you for your comment, Jeniese 🙂

      • Jeniese Hosey permalink
        January 10, 2011 1:46 am

        Your welcome. I think that we are probably more comfortable with ourselves than other people, and that just causes them to pick at people. But I often say that fat discrimination is the only acceptable form of discrimination in the country.

  7. January 23, 2011 6:59 pm

    Marianne and Lesley are like… superheros, I swear! It sucks that we spend so much time in our lives holding onto pain other people have inflicted upon us. Good for you for making a list of these things to let go- sounds like something I should do too!

  8. Heather permalink
    October 13, 2011 7:55 pm

    I am jealous of your butt, honestly. I wish I had something… anything back there. I’ve got nothing 😦

  9. jess permalink
    January 20, 2012 10:57 am

    Great post. This is awesome what you are doing. Fat people are often shamed into being quiet about such experiences, as if they are there own faults. They are not, and putting those experiences out there is a way of letting the world know that fat-shaming is NOT ok. Keep up the good work. Honestly, I don’t know what is going on in these people’s heads. They must just be completely horrible, miserable people to feel that they need to put people down like that. Hold your head up and don’t let these people get to you please!

  10. Anon permalink
    December 7, 2015 9:53 pm

    I myself have gone through various changes in weight so have been there myself with cruel comments and behaviours 😦 You’re not alone and this kind of behaviour is discrimination and it’s unacceptable just like any other form of discrimination. People can be so mean. Everyone has the right to their own body and body image. They don’t have the right to decide what we should look like. Stay strong!

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  1. Giveaway: Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere « theplussideofme

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