But I don’t like my fat.
So what? That doesn’t matter, because no part of you deserves hatred. Do people you dislike deserve your hatred? What are your criteria for love and acceptance?
Maybe it comes down to your world view.
What about your feet? Feet deserve love too.
Looking at gorillas makes me feel like it’s okay to be fat, in a way that fat-positivist literature (which I value highly) doesn’t quite seem to achieve. Gorillas are inspiringly majestic, and I wouldn’t want them to look any different. Watching them helps me appreciate my hairiness and my well-rounded muscles and belly. They make me want to be even rounder!
The take away message for me is - I wouldn’t want them to look any different. So why would I want me to look different?
It starts with perspective and love, because people simply do not care for that which they hate. You must start with love if you care about your own development. Even this simple desire: wanting things to be different, better somehow – this is a sign that you care for yourself.
You can’t make yourself worthy of love. Social propaganda would have you believe otherwise – it would have you think that you need certain attributes, that you need to be a certain type of person. But why? Love is not something for which you qualify. It is wildly inconsistent to believe in unconditional love and not love yourself at the same time. And you can’t make yourself unworthy of love either, certainly not based on the way you look. It’s the worst kind of bigotry.
If you think you will love yourself when you’re thin, when you’ve achieved your athletic potential, when you’ve changed who you are, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Thinking that your deeds will qualify you for love is delusional. If you hate yourself when you’re fat, you’ll hate yourself when you’re thin. How can the approval of other people make up for that?
I’ve achieved a lot that did not make my life better. So what does that mean? Achievements actually are as meaningless as we suspect, they are not what make you worthy as a person. If you try to change yourself - make yourself the type of person you think you would be happy with - how is that going to turn out? When does it end? When do you get to be the genuine, eternal you? What attempts at change are actually going to serve you, and what are not?
The problem is, when you’re feeling fat – when you look in the mirror and you tell yourself you’re fat, it feels true. We associate fat with ugliness, and our eyes go straight to the parts of ourselves we like the least.
When someone tells us we’re fat, whether as a criticism or masquerading as concern, it hits us hard – “I knew it”, we think, “I knew it all along, and everyone who ever said I was beautiful was lying to me.” We feel betrayed, desperate.
It’s not true. It feels like it’s true, because it carries weight. It carries weight because it exploits our fears and insecurities, and when you’re hooked on compliments, when you feel like you need constant praise in order to function, that doesn’t work either - the positive opinion of people telling you you’re beautiful - as true as it is, it doesn’t carry weight, because it doesn’t exploit you.
And what’s the use in telling someone “oh, don’t worry about it, you’re not fat”? What do you actually mean? Are you telling them that not being fat is important? Do you mean fat is bad, and they’re not bad, therefore they’re not fat? Do you mean they’re beautiful? If you say they’re not fat, tell them to brace themselves as well, because what happens if one day they get fat? And then... will everything be as bad as they feared? Beauty apocalypse! It’s a bit like saying, “don’t worry, you're not really ugly... Not yet...” Why not - rather than flat denial - try to resolve fears of ugliness? Investigate it a little? What are we actually afraid of?
Telling someone they’re ‘not fat’ only reinforces the idea that fat is ugly. If you think it is bad to be fat, you’d be rather uncomfortable with the whole scenario. So what do you do when someone is worried they’re too fat? What would actually be helpful? What will address their real concerns?
You cannot eradicate all hatred in the world, but you can eradicate hatred in yourself; you can resolve your own fat-hatred, and then when someone complains to you that they feel fat - your perspective has shifted. You don’t need to tell them they’re not fat, you can tell them the truth.
We’re human. Beauty belongs to us, but it has been stolen. It must be reclaimed.
Read Part One.
Read Part Three.