Fat + New City = Insecurity

I spent this past weekend looking at houses and apartments in the city I’m moving to for graduate school. I’m already getting nervous about leaving the place I am right now. You get comfortable and content in a place with people who care about you, and being uprooted to somewhere new makes all your insecurities rise to the surface. This is part of my so-called “process.” I tend to get anxious before big life changes and start to get nervous that I’m not ready, or not good enough to do well in my new life.

Part of this, of course, is a drop in self-confidence and renewed obsession with my appearance. I always worry that people are going to judge me when they meet me because I’m fat. And I’m terrified that this will happen when I move.

Luckily I’ve secured good, accepting roommates for the fall (I met them this weekend), and already have a few friends in the area, but it’s still tough. It’s one of those times of insecurity that makes me question my resolve. I start to think about losing lots of weight and becoming thin and therefore “beautiful.” I start to want to change myself because I think it will matter to all these new people I’m going to meet.

This, in turn, makes me angry at myself for thinking I need to change who I am for someone else, and continues the loop of frustration. I think I’m secure in my body, but then I start to think negative thoughts and buy back into the same traps and pitfalls I’d had before.

This is one of those times, I think, when I need to be reminded of people out there who don’t care about my size but care about who I am. This is one of those times when I have to remember who I am and what I believe in. This is a time when I need your advice. How do I avoid falling back into my insecurities? What has worked for you in your life? What wisdom can you give me to persist, oh Fatosphere of Wisdom?

Are there really Fat Beliefs?

In my post yesterday where I was talking about the election, I asked a rhetorical question that now is really bugging me. The post was about an absurd article I found talking about the ten fattest states being for McCain and the ten slimmest being for Obama. I said the article was absurd as asked the question: “Are there really fat Beliefs?”

I got a rather incindiary response from a commentor, Kay, about my post, and she specifically addressed the subject of Fat Beliefs. I tried to explain in a comment how I felt, but I’m not sure I was clear. I’m going to try again here.

Since Fat Acceptance has just recently become a part of my life, I’ve never thought about my fat as dictating my belief system. My beliefs are centered more on women’s rights, feminism, and human rights in general. For me, the fact that I’m fat does not dictate how I think, vote, etc. It has been an emotional hurdle for me to overcome, and has inspired me to act on behalf of this injustice, but I have not been able to translate that directly to action, political or otherwise.

Herein lies my problem: my beliefs are not Fat Beliefs. I can’t become an activist for fat acceptance if I can’t even figure out what that means. I can’t even put my beliefs in the realm of fat. Other things always come first: women’s rights, equality, promoting tolerance, etc. Are these Fat Beliefs? Are these just other beliefs that just happen to blanket my fat? What are Fat Beliefs?

This is something I’m really having trouble wrapping my mind around, and I’m curious about what all you think. Kay said in her comment:

I sure as hell absolutely am “voting with my waistline.” Staying alive is one of my top priorities.

I honestly don’t think I understand that comment at all. I’ve been pondering about it since I recieved it yesterday, and I don’t understand it.

So, someone, please help me put this into perspective. Are there really Fat Beliefs?

Fat in the Election: Get Out the Fat Vote

Okay, y’all, I’ve seen this out on the fat-o-sphere lately, and am a little late in picking it up, but this article is one of the funniest, most contrived things I’ve ever seen. Basically, the whole thing is talking about how all of the fattest states in the nation are going to McCain, and all of the slimest states are going to Obama.

Of the 10 fattest states, nine show strong support for the Republican nominee, John McCain, with only Michigan – once considered a battleground state, but recently abandoned by McCain’s campaign – as the exception.

Of the 10 least obese and overweight states, eight support the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, although Colorado, where Obama is ahead by four points, is still considered a toss-up. The exceptions are the conservative mountain states of Utah and Montana.

But THEN, believe it or not, the author goes off about traditional voting patterns relating to traditional eating habits and poverty.

There are many confounding factors here imposed on traditional voting patterns – a link between poverty and obesity, that the conservative states of the South traditionally enjoy fried foods, and the influence of the healthier cuisines of Asia and the Mediterranean on the east and west coasts.

Overall, this whole article feels like a ton of crap. There is, I agree, a relationship between poverty and obesity for a lot of people, but not everyone. And I don’t appreciate being considered as part of a mindless mass. Overall, as a fat woman, I’d rather vote for Obama because he’s for all of my issues. Which, believe it or not, world, are NOT related to my FAT.

Sometimes I think people get too caught up on weight. Yes, it is an emotional, pretty much hard to deal with, thing. BUT, I don’t vote with my fat. I vote with my values and beliefs. Are there really Fat Beliefs?

I hope all of you out there, fat or thin, will take a moment to consider the actual issues. I really really hope you’re not voting with your fat. And even if you, I think you’ll find a nice toasty companion in Obama. He’s less fat-hating than McCain.

My Biggest Fear: Ending up Alone

Just now, I opened my hotmail email, and this article was under the MSN Today tab. And it’s making me confront my biggest fear: ending up alone.

“Why I love women’s bodies”

Tall, short, plump or petite, one thing is universal—no matter what a woman’s shape, there’s a man out there who’ll appreciate it! To prove our point, listen to what these guys have to say, and feel your confidence soar… no matter what your body type.

It goes on with quotes from various different men about their significant other’s body type. And here’s the thing, it has raised a conflict within me that I can’t overcome. My feminist side is sitting here screaming in outrage at the insinuation that we need men to think we’re beautiful for us to feel beautiful. No one else should dictate how we feel about ourselves but ourselves. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate having men agree with my opinion of my beauty, but I wish, for once, that it would be men and women saying they love their OWN bodies.

This goes along with owning our poo, and other such things. We should get to say we’re beautiful, and whether or not a man thinks my shape is beautiful or not should have no measure. Let’s kill the line: “Listen to what these guys have to say, and let your confidence soar, no matter what your body type.” and replace it with “Be confident and you will be beautiful.”

But at the same time, I’m still trapped by it. I know that I personally want men to think I’m beautiful. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I’ve figured out that my biggest fear right now is that I’ll end up alone because no one will ever find me attractive. I’ve started my nesting instincts early, I think. Whenever I see baby clothes and cute little kids, I keep thinking “I want one of those.” I already know, just shy of 21-years-old that I want to grow up and have a family. And at the same time, I see everyone around me pairing off into happy couples, and I can only hope to be that happy. I know I’m happy by myself right now, but I have no one to really share that happiness with, and I want someone to share that with.

I know, I know, that doesn’t mean that my physical attractiveness should take the front seat, but I’m starting to lose faith in this world that there are any men who DON’T think of superficially of physical attractiveness. Our nation is so stuck in that place where physical attractiveness takes precedence over everything else, that I just want to tear out my hair. And it scares me. Every day it scares me that no one will ever get past how I look to see who I am.

I discussed it in my fat documentary a little, and I think the fact that this is still hanging over me shows me that I’m not as confident as I thought I was. I’m still afraid that my fat will cause me to be old and alone. And I know I’ll need more than that. I deserve more than that.

I’d like to tell myself right now as I’m writing this that my lesson from it all should be “Well, if you don’t care about your fat, he won’t care.” or like I said earlier “confidence is beauty.” I want to own my poo. I want to not care. But this only proves that I’m human. I want a man to find me attractive. I want to find someone to share my life with. And the sad truth is that I feel completely powerless when it comes to this because beauty, the effing jerk, is in the eye of the beholder. It makes me so mad because I’ve given up all my power to men. And I just want to say fuck it. I just want to lie around in my pajamas and feel beautiful. I just want to look at myself in the mirror and say “this is great.” I just want to be fully and completely happy with myself.

Maybe it’ll happen someday. Maybe I need to just get out of college and live in the real world where people aren’t as superficial. I just don’t trust it to be that different.