What's so bad about FAT? More importantly, why do we care if people refer to us in this way? Why do we give those three letters so much power? Why does it matter?
I have been called a bitch (yes, it’s true). I could care less. It doesn’t matter to me. However, throw the word FAT in there, and my world could be over. I immediately go down the shame spiral. I want to crawl under a rock and hide from embarrassment. In my life I have carefully crafted scenarios where I couldn't be called FAT. In other words, I would hide. In some ways I'm still hiding, especially when it comes to my business. I'm still afraid. So, today I am asking myself some very important questions.
Why am I afraid of FAT?
Why am I giving this little word so much power?
What am I making it mean?
Why am I still hiding?
Imagine being in elementary school and being called Miss Piggy. She is a gorgeous puppet, but you and I both know that’s not why the other kids called me that. I loved the Muppet's, and I loved Miss Piggy. I had a pink winter hat with a Miss Piggy patch on it. I remember standing in line one day, waiting for the school bus. A little boy told me I was FAT just like Miss Piggy. I don’t think I ever wore that hat again. I was 9 or 10. This is one of my earliest memories of being FAT shamed. This is when FAT became a bad thing in my world. This is when I started to give my power away to people who didn’t deserve it.
These are the names I remember the most.
At a very young age I started to believe that there must be something wrong with my body. I started to feel shame about the way that I looked. I remember thinking that maybe I could get them to stop calling me names if I lost a few pounds. That never worked.
The names continued into my early adult years. I recall one particular incident when I was working at the food court of a local mall. The mall was closing, and so was our store. I was making smoothies. People were lined up to get a treat as they headed home. We had to stop serving so we could close up shop. I cut off the line, and a very angry man told me I was a "FAT bitch". No smoothie for you!
Another time I was in Las Vegas, driving around in a fabulous Mustang Convertible with my husband, Garret. We thought we were cool until a man begging for money yelled “FAT bitch”, because I ignored him. I made Garret put the top up. I instantly went into a shame spiral. I wanted to hide from the world.
In all of these cases, the solution was always to lose weight. I wasn't doing it for me. I was doing it so people wouldn't see me this way, so they would stop calling me names, so they would stop judging my body. Every single time I was giving my power away and putting it in the hands of ignorance. Is that really how this should work? Is that what we want to teach our daughters? Absolutely not.