Thinking about The "F" Word
Last week we released our second podcast, “The F Word,” where we discussed our process of taking the power back from the almost unanimously feared “FAT” word. During the episode we broke up our process into three parts: 1) How the word fat was used has a weapon against us and how we felt about it, 2) How our process of acceptance has looked throughout our lives, and 3) how we feel about the word “fat” presently. At the end, we talked for a bit about the reactions of those around us has we have begun to commit to the body/fat positive movement.
We realized after releasing our first podcast that a lot of what we are unpacking is very difficult and painful for us, and more than likely for many others, as well. We don’t want to be alone with these feelings, so we don’t want to leave you alone with these feelings, either. One of our main objectives in beginning this podcast was to build community. For two transplants to Seattle, the lack of community while navigating these hard truths can feel very isolating. We hope that we can play some small role in bridging the gap between the information you’re receiving and what to do now. We are truly all in this together. HIGH FIVE FOR SOLIDARITY!
First, we want to say: YOU do not ever have to take ownership of the word “fat.” For some of us, the process of taking words back is vital to our healing journey, but for others of us, it’s not. Like so many things, it really does boil down to individual preference. It might be tempting to follow the masses on this. From what we have witnessed, the majority of the fat positive community reclaims the word “fat” like it’s a rite of passage. It’s not. There is a distinction between making peace with something and choosing to use that thing for your own purposes. So we hope that whatever words have been weaponized against you, you are able to find healing from that pain. However, you do not always have to reclaim the words yourself.
Second, let’s talk about process. All of our journeys are a mix of accidental and purposeful learning. For us, both of our processes began by losing weight and suddenly having a different experience of our bodies. Engaging in a good book, podcast, class, or community event are examples of purposeful learning. (None of these terms are technical by the way; we just like to sound like a couple of smarty pants.) We all need space to process and decompress what we are taking in. At Jes Baker’s book signing of “Land Whale,” someone recommended therapy to another woman who was new to the community and feeling very emotional. Therapy is a great way to process! While we don’t know exactly what you need to process all the emotions you could be experiencing, we do want to encourage you to trust yourself. If you need to talk, talk. If you need to write, write. If you need support, reach out. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to hide from your kids in your closet with a bag of jelly beans, do it!
Not everyone has good support systems or resources, and finding the space to process can be even more difficult. Social media can be powerful in making those connections and has been a precious resource to both of us. To help you in finding more connection, we have created a resource page on our website. We will continue to build this page to be more inclusive for all identities and abilities.
Finally, let’s talk about the humans on the outside who don’t understand what body positivity is and get all messed up when they hear the words “fat positive.” When confronted with these people, we like to think about ourselves when we began this journey. We literally felt like, “This cannot be a thing!” We both had to struggle for a long time to understand, and honestly, coming to the place of acceptance was mostly a happy accident (i.e. accidental learning). That is to say, we don’t know why some people register with the concepts of being body and/or fat positive and others don’t. We don’t know why it took us into our late 20s and early 30s and others seemed to jump on board as teens in high school. We’d like to think that one day everyone will come to find the kind of acceptance and peace that we are leaning into about our bodies. What we do know, however, is that no one can force anyone else into loving themselves. Yeah, it’s a positive thing to love yourself, but even positive things can become dogma in the wrong hands.
Thank you for reading! This blog will evolve as we grow, but for today we really needed to set some boundaries in our own heads, so thank you for indulging us and we hope this information was as helpful to you as it was for us.
Until next time Fat Faces <3