The Power of Identification

Out on the town with friends Ragen, Julianne and Rose

Stay tuned for a super special new project announcement at the conclusion of this blog post.  Thank you!

I remember when I was very first starting to accept my body.  When I was what size acceptance folks lovingly refer to as a “baby fat”.  Somebody who is new to the notion that beauty and health happen at all sizes.  I had read some statistics that indicate that fat is not a death sentence, and that helped.  But something was missing.  Then I went to my first NAAFA convention and a whole lot of things changed in a hurry.  The reason was simple.  It’s one thing to talk about size acceptance.  It’s a whole other thing to be in a hotel with several hundred other fat people who are dancing, romancing, swimming, singing, exercising, sharing and generally having a heck of a good time.  I honestly never believed that health and happiness were possible at every size until I saw it, on a grand scale with my own eyes.  Finally I had found a group with which I could identify.

This is what is so very dangerous and damaging about fat hatred and fat bigotry.  We shame fat people into believing that they are dangerously other.  Like Frankenstein’s monster, we fat folk are another species, incapable of blending with society.  It’s bad enough when we do this to adults.  But it is especially damaging when we do this to children who may not be mature or sophisticated enough to understand that being shunned is a failing of the hater not the hated.  And we do this to children who may be in a somewhat sheltered environment, where they may feel they are the only fat kid in the class or even the whole town.

That is one of the reasons why groups like NAAFA and ASDAH are so very important.  I’m proud of my role as Vice President on the ASDAH board and for the work I’m doing with NAAFA-LA.  And I am deeply grateful that I have my amazing colleagues with whom I may work, dream and share.  And this is why the work that Marilyn Wann is doing with the “I STAND against weight bullying” project and Ragen Chastain is doing with the Support All Kids project is so important.  Imagine the impact that hundreds and hundreds of size positive people and messages can have on a child who feels isolated and alone.  What would it mean to a child to look up and see a billboard in their town depicting kids who look like them, and are healthy, happy and comfortable in their own skin.  You don’t have to just imagine it.  We are very close to realizing it.  We need just over 200 people to donate to the Stand 4 Every Body project in order to unlock an amazing $5000 challenge grant from More of Me to Love.  Today is ask a friend day.  Ask a friend to donate just $1 to make this dream a reality for kids of size in Georgia.

And here’s the super cool announcement I promised at the opening of this post.  Along with my super cool friends Ragen Chastain and Jayne Williams, I will be launching a new social web space called the Fit Fatties Forum on March 3.  This will be an amazing space where athletes of all sizes can gather, encourage one another, share photos, triumphs and war stories and learn from one another.  The “Ask a Fit Fatty” section will allow you to get answers to all your burning fitness questions.  And perhaps most importantly, we’re creating a space where you can identify with other fathletes.  You may be the only fat aerobics instructor at the club, or fat runner in the 5K or fat scuba diver on the boat.  But my dear Chicklette, you are not alone–never alone.  Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

Love,
The Fat Chick

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