I posted a link recently to a Dances with Fat post on how to love your body. Regan says that her own journey started with four realisations and the first one stopped me in my tracks.
The first was that I had no problem with the bodies of other fat women – in fact I could find beauty in every body but mine – and that was my first inkling that, if I didn’t hate their bodies, maybe I didn’t have to hate my body either.
Well I do judge. I do have a problem. I do look at people and think fat, thin, scarily thin, shouldn’t wear those clothes with that body, shouldn’t wear those clothes at all, how do you walk in those, why do you walk in those… I think it goes back to people watching with my mother, a long time before that phrase was invented. I remember it as being about clothes and colours but maybe it turned into more.
So her three realisations that followed on quite logically from this first one don’t work for me. Somewhere along the line, and in some ways it doesn’t really matter, I decided to judge everyone’s appearance. I am fully aware that this is superficial and I don’t judge whether I like people based on their appearance but I still judge the way they look.
This goes some way to helping me realise why, despite putting some effort in over the last few years, I still look at myself and say “fat and horrible”. I never take photos of myself, or encourage others to and I avoid looking at any others have taken.
All this was brought home to me when I visited the fantastic Scottish National Gallery and I saw several pictures with Rubenesque women and instead of seeing Rubens’ beautiful curves I saw fat women. I was genuinely horrified as I know this hasn’t always been the case.
I had been mulling over this new awareness, trying to get a sense of direction. I fully believe in the idea of Size Acceptance, in the sense that I *should* love my body and be proud of it regardless of what it looks like. I also subscribe to the HAES approach, that I should focus on exercising and healthy eating to look after myself and my body, rather than any futile attempt to lose weight.
But I’m also fed up with hating the way I look, of trying to find clothes for dressy events. I buy from online catalogues as shops don’t stock my size and I just stop trying very hard. My feet have gone up a size as well so I can’t buy shoes easily which is also frustrating. The lack of choice makes me angry, but do I want to campaign about it? No, I just want to buy clothes that fit and are nice, not just that will do.
Where I go from here I’m not sure. My holiday has highlighted my lack of fitness so I have returned and upped my workouts to the maximum intensity. I haven’t skipped one yet either. Trying to not judge people as I notice them is a lot harder.