One of the things I loved past about this past weekend at the NAAFA convention was the blogging panel. I shared the table with the authors of Dances With Fat and NotBlueAtAll and the fabulous moderator Julianne Wotasik.
And one of the common themes that came up again and again at the panel was the way that none of us, on the panel or in the audience, ever seemed to know ahead of time how we were able to impact other people. It always seemed the small things, the innocuous things, the tossed off things that would find someone and change the way they felt about things. And this held true when it came to blogging or even just an off handed compliment we paid a stranger or a moment of kindness that came at a critical moment. You just never know how much you can help somebody just by doing your thing.
I was astonished to hear a story told by Ragen Chastain of Dances with Fat shared with the panel about the effect her blog had on a person of size who had contemplated suicide. This woman had decided to use pills but wasn’t sure about the appropriate dosage for a woman of size. This woman went on the internet and searched “fat suicide”. It turns out that Ragen’s blog had had so much hate mail suggesting that fat people should commit suicide that Dances With Fat came up in the search engine. The woman spent the entire night reading past blogs on Ragen’s site and in the morning decided to send Ragen an email explaining why her blog had helped her decide not to end her life. Because Ragen had been so bullied in the comments section of her own blog, that woman is alive today.
So my little chicklettes, you don’t have to save the world. You don’t have to write a best-selling novel or be a movie star. Someone asked the panel how to help people find happiness and body acceptance earlier in their lives. And the answer was this: just be yourself as hard and as completely as you can. That’s it. And you can make the world a better place for you and so many people around you.
The Fat Chick
Wow, just wow. I have struggled with mental illness and as a result suicide, this just give me the chills because it reminded me how close I came. I’m not surprised that this had happened and I’m sure it wasn’t the first time and not the last. God Bless
Thank you so much for sharing Andrea. You’re not the only one who has lived on the edge, believe me. I’m so very grateful for all the positive people around who are ready and able to lift us up!
Thank you for being a part of the panel and for being such an amazing part of the fatosphere!!!!
Thank YOU Julianne for all the amazing work you do. And for just being awesome!
I’m in tears over this post. Was having a difficult day, and this helped. Really, THANK YOU for posting.
Hi Ready to Party,
So glad you’re feeling better! Go get ’em tiger!
Wow – what an incredible story. Every time one of you guys posts from NAAFA my heart sinks a little more that I can’t be there. But thank you all for going and doing your thing. You rock!