Something changes when a person acknowledges that they are in fact comfortable with a part of themselves that they are taught to feel shame of. People become quiet, or they yell at you, or they become quiet – like crickets quiet – because they cannot fathom how someone could be ok with being something that they hate about themselves. I have never been this outspoken about my own personal body politics as I have been in the last 6 months. Sure my close friends know some details on my own beliefs but to the extent that has been laid out as of late is completely different. To be honest I’m sick of hiding, of allowing others around me to continue to pollute my own life with the bullshit shame that they feel about their own bodies. To allow them to make me feed bad because I won’t partake in their own self distruction.
A perfect example of this is with my family. My mom has spent the last 8 years of my life listening to me preach about being body positive, and while she isn’t completely with me, she still drove from DC to Detroit for the BODYSLAM! On the other hand I have family in the area who are comepletely silent when it comes to the recent work that I have been doing, even though they are just as connected with what I am working on as they are.
It is in their own silence that they speak volumes.
By being silent they are admitting to me that they don’t feel comfortable about the idea that you can actually love yourself and be fat. Or thin. Or anything.
I’m ok with the silence at the moment, the yelling and the comments that they think I won’t see. This is the side of right, living without shame and working toward ending discrimination.
If that makes you uncomfortable, you should ask yourself why.
My own experiences are very similar to yours. Some people are silent, some actively change the subject, and some have even decided to avoid me because they feel it is so wrong for me to be positive about my fat body and to campaign for the respect, fairness and dignity of fat people.
But something else also happened, a little later down the track. I made new friends. Some active in the fatosphere, but some who just decided that they really liked this positive, confident, happy me. Some who realised that by listening to what I have to say, and by following my example, they too can be positive, confident and happy.
And that’s been the reward. Those people I knew only as acquaintances who send me an email, or come and tell me that I make a difference in how they think about themselves. That’s worth so much more than those who let the crickets chirp, or avoid me altogether.
Totally agree, it is just very interesting to see the people who are silent about it. Some more than others. The amount of support and people in the FA corner is astoundingly inspirational. Some of my friends have surprised me with how supportive they are.
I agree with sleepydumpling! All of the silence is counteracted by the fact that people will seek out out as a resource, people will break the silence by sending you fat links, and you ARE ALREADY making a difference in people’s lives.
So they can be as silent as they want….while you rock the fuck on.
Oh wow, I have HEARD that silence so often, especially lately as I become more outspoken about the truth of diets and weight and so forth. Or the polite smiling and nodding when I contradict a new report or commercial that I am learning is their way of trying to quickly dismiss me lol.
I think the reason that I am working on becoming more vocal about standing up against all the lies and stupidity that is dumped on everyone day after day is that it kind of hit me that if I keep silent when someone around me is spouting fat hate or diet brainwashing then I am basically agreeing with it, or encouraging it to go on. Now I try to do it in a way that isn’t threatening, mean, or hateful just usually say something to gently contradict what was said and hopefully get them to think about it a little. Then be prepared to defend or tell them more if they ask me about it.
I am not very good at it yet, this whole standing up for myself is not an easy thing but I have found it easiest when someone I care about is bashing their looks and or weight , or is talking about how unhealthy they are cause they have x amount of weight to lose. Then I can just say that a person is beautiful regardless of size and the people who can’t see that aren’t people you need in your life, or that you CAN be healthy at the size you are right now! It may not seem like much, but it feels like huge massive steps to me and I am learning to do it more often so that it is becoming more natural.
The silence, and comments, and stuff still sting, but the sting is getting less the more I let my voice be heard!