Tag Archives: being yourself

Love (for yourself) is in the Air

Aside from being the week of the Winter Games, here in the U.S. it’s also the week of Valentine’s Day.  It’s a week to think about love.  And I would suggest, it’s a week to start loving yourself.

Now I understand.  Yet another discussion about loving ourselves is enough to trigger a Stuart Smalley marathon viewing party.

But I have to confess that this past week, I came across an extraordinary video that once again got me thinking about what it really means to love ourselves.  I’d like  you to meet Sanah Javani, an extraordinary young woman who is coping with a disease that has caused her to lose all her hair.  In this extraordinary video, Sanah recounts a little bit about what life was like for her when she started wearing a wig and how the other kids bullied her.  She talks a little about years of agony and shame and self harming.  But out of this experience, Sanah has decided to found “Natural Day”–a day to celebrate the fact that we are beautiful just the way we are.  Why not take a look?

“I want girls to live their lives in freedom.  And I want girls to love themselves the way they are.  And I want girls to not suffer with eating disorders or cutting.  I just want them to accept themselves.  So on natural day, I am challenging girls all around the world to go without makeup and to love themselves for a day.”

Mature?  Yup.  Amazing?  She sure is!  Natural Day is the day before Valentine’s Day–February 13, 2014, and I plan to scrub my face clean and stand strong beside Sanah.  I don’t usually wear a lot of makeup anyways, but I have to admit that a day without mascara and a little bit of lip gloss has me feeling a tiny bit anxious.  But that’s an even greater reason to do it, right?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about love in general and about how difficult it can be to apply the kind of love we share with other people to ourselves.  When people we love are hurting, we care for them.  When we truly love people, we don’t berate them 24 hours per day.  We don’t keep repeating the things we don’t like about them as a mantra all day long.  We support them.  We cut them some slack.  We give them a break.

But how often do we fail to show ourselves even this simple kind of love?  How often do we berate ourselves internally, all day long, about the size of our thighs?  How often do we cut ourselves some slack?   When do you give yourself a break?  And why are we so terrified, that if people see the real us, unadorned, without control-top panty hose or self tanning lotion or hair extensions or a little bit of makeup, that they won’t like us any more?  Why does “natural day” seem like such a scary idea?  I’m not really entirely sure. But I hope to find out.  And of course, my dear readers, I’ll let you know.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

Ripples on the Pond

At the Blogging Panel at the NAAFA Convention with some amaaazing ladies!

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