lördag 27 mars 2010

How I learnt to stop worrying and love my size. Part one: Childhood

This is a Fat Acceptance(1) post.

I was thin as a child. At times even gaunt.
I sit here with the photo album my mother made for me, looking at pictures where skinny legs carry my tanned frame at summer. How ribs are visible when I stretch, play, pose for the camera to show of some new trick I've mastered.
I did not struggle with childhood obesity.

Me, 7 years old.

First Fat Shaming
I remember one of the first times I was fat shamed. It was in 5th or 6th grade and I was 11 or 12. I had been severely bullied since I started elementary school, mainly by some boys and one of them came up with a rhyme playing on how fat I was and that meant I would never be loved (romantically). I locked myself in the bathroom and looked down on my body. Maybe my stomach was a bit round?
In adulthood I have realized that I later found out I was lactose intolerant, so my stomach might very well have been a bit round, and remained so for most of my school years. But that is irrelevant. No matter how I looked, commenting on my body was fat shaming, bullying and a part of a larger campaign to inflict as much hurt possible on me and break me.
Fat shaming was just a part of it.

Unfortunately I seemed to have internalized this "fat kid" role. I soon got help from the school counselor who helped in many ways, the most important thing giving me a feeling that I mattered. That my body, mind and soul was important. That I was a human being worthy of respect, no matter what bullies told me every fucking day. No matter what they did. I was still severely bullied and I blame the school for it's pathetic attempts to rectify this, their fear of admitting a problem and their victim blaming.
But the counselor was wonderful.
That counselor might have saved my life in more ways than one.

But still, no matter how my body looked in reality, I was now, to my self, the fat kid.
Puberty hit and as happens to a lot of teens I gained, confirming my body image. We gain fat to be prepared for the changes that occur in the body, we gain due to hormonal changes. If we look at teen gymnasts, these often hit puberty way later in part because they lack the body fat needed. (Citation needed, contribute if you have one!)

Me at 10 or 11 and me turning 12. In second picture I called myself  "round"

This post was inspired by I'm giving up on diets and Fuck you, Fat shamers from Look Left of the Pleiades and was made possible at this time in my life by meeting Arwyn from Raising my Boychick on twitter, you can read her post On fat acceptance and fitness

Next part: Teen years and young adulthood.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_acceptance_movement

7 kommentarer:

  1. Looking forward to part two.

    That Counsellor sounds amazing, one of those people who come into your life and change it, or save it...

  2. Ruth: The counselor was an excellent listener, and was there for me at a time where I shaped a lot of the things I believe about myself. So having a responsible adult there encouraging me to be me helped. He never made the bullying about me needing to change anything, not how I looked or how I behaved, nothing.

  3. The counselor had a drawer full of candy bars, didn't she?

  4. Greg: "You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity." (that's a Toy Story-quote, if you didn't know that)

  5. Wow Greg. You are a special kind of troll, aren't you? That is, the kind who mistakes predictable slurs at apparently easy targets for biting wit.

    The really sad part is you've chosen as targets women who are manifestly confident, intelligent, strong and knowledgable. Joke's on you. (Oh, and health at every size applies to bodies but sadly not minds. Your small-mindedness is decidedly unhealthy. Fatten up that brain with some actual knowledge about health and it's relationship to weight, eh?)