I fumble a little, not because I am nervous. But because someone decided to put the lock upside down in our moderately priced rental and my key has a cupcake cover that gets all tangled up. God damned my love for cutesy things over function. I should be nervous though. Really nervous. Today, I decided to take pictures of myself butt naked and post them on the internet. No, I am not leaking the photos for millions to a gossip magazine or for horny men willing to pay. You see, I am no Paris Hilton and I don’t happen to be a sex worker, although there was a time when I thought I could be one but that’s another story.
I am fat. F-A-T. I talk about being fat on my blog, The Nearsighted Owl. What started as a place to diddle daddle about crafts, cats and cupcakes was eventually taken over by a more intense passion - Fat acceptance, fat politics and fat fashion. I consider myself an activist and share my life as a fat woman to inspire others. I, among a surprising amount of other fat activists online, who also put out the message that fat people deserve to be treated fairly and with respect and speak out against fat hate and discrimination. We also break all the rules with our slamming style and spread the word about loving your body at any size.
So, even though I am bearing my 300 pound body to the world, I am not nervous or feel like I am being particularly brave. I am not brave because I do things "even when I look like this" or because "even though I am fat." The word brave is defined as ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. It indicates that you have a fear or hesitation. That despite something terrible, you are making a choice to do it anyway. Overcoming all odds. You see, I am not at odds with my fat and don't see it as something terrible that requires courage.
After 30 years, I am finally comfortable in my body and with my size. So I take care of the pee dance issue and start clearing out the dining room. It’s my designated photo shoot area for taking photos of myself in outfits when it won’t stop raining outside or, in this case, I am stripping down. So off go the leggings, striped top, studded flats, fuschia panties and ratty bra. The cats turn their heads as I trot around the house with boobs swinging, searching out my tripod and camera remote. My goal is to pose in a way that covers my lady bits. I want my readers to see what a fat body looks like and present it in a beautiful and maybe alarming way. Surely, more than a handful of them have a body that looks like mine and is wasting their lives hating it. Fuck that.
Sadly, it isn't acceptable to be vain and fat. We are told that we must be a martyr of our own bodies and let someone else decide what is acceptable. We must feed corporations with our own self-doubt and let them prey on our insecurities. You have to join the club and participate in conversations about how much we hate ourselves. Like a competition of who can be the most unsatisfied with various body parts or the size of said body parts. But it doesn't have to be that way! Instead of being rewarded for being brave, we can be complimented on our perfection and fabulous-ness.
What a wonderful world that would be! If everyone was as free from body shame as I am. But it's something we are ingrained with at an early age. There are layers and layers that need to be peeled back. Like when I was 10 and someone told me that I was better off not wearing my pink two-piece with black polka dots and endless frills because my teeny belly was round. I immediately lost a little bit of my shine. Every deflating experience with my own body and influence continued to tarnish me. By the time I was 30, I could have easily been covered in rust. But I have spent time polishing and buffing off those layers of shame and body hate. Each time I wear what I want, talk about fat acceptance or post my picture on the internet, I am wiping away some of that gunk.
I lean against the dining room wall, letting my double belly rolls stick out, my pudgy arms hang to my side with all my stretch marks and dimples proudly on display. Click.