Tag Archives: criticism

All About Gifts

During this time of year, it’s pretty natural for us to think about gifts.  We’re frantically making finishing touches on the gifts we’ve yet to give, reflecting warmly about the gifts we’ve already given and received and looking forward with either anticipation or dread towards the gifts we’ve got coming in the future.

But when I talk about gifts, I’m not only talking about those wrapped packages we receive on special days, but also about those talents and special blessings we have that we can share with the world.

But so often, because we live in a world obsessed with physical appearance and in a world that is so unkind to people who don’t meet the impossible media standard of beauty, I see people who are not able to enjoy or share their gifts.  So many amazingly talented, intelligent, kind, funny and gifted people are simply unaware of these gifts.  So often, I talk to someone, especially someone of size about their gifts and they respond in fear and negativity.  They say things like, “I’m not really talented.  There’s nothing really all that special about me.”  Or even if they acknowledge a talent, they don’t feel that their talent is of sufficient magnitude to share with the world.  They say things like, “Oh I couldn’t sing in public, I’m not good enough.  And people would just laugh at me.”

Let me stop right here and say, I get it.  I procrastinated in writing my book and coming out into the public eye for years because I was afraid.  I was afraid people would say mean things to me.  I was afraid people would laugh at me.  I was afraid people would discount me because I am fat.  And you know what, once I started to really share my gifts out in the world, all those things happened.  People refused to study exercise with me because I wasn’t thin.  People said incredibly mean things to me, even on national television.  I got hate mail, and I get hate mail.  Some of it is incredibly ugly.  Nearly all the things I feared, in at least some small part, have come true.

But none of that icky stuff begins to compare with the feeling I get from sharing my gifts with other people.  None of that yuck comes close to the feeling I get, when somebody calls or emails or simply comments to say that in some small way, I helped them.  None of that hate spewed by others compares to the feeling I get deep in my bones when I know that I am doing at least some of the stuff I was put on this earth to do, and I am breathing deeply and  living loudly and to my purpose.  None of that even comes close to the feeling I got when I walked out on stage of the Katie Couric show to talk with the world about what it means to love ourselves the way we are right now.  The feeling of being what I should be, and the feeling of helping  is radically joyful.

When I speak in public, especially when I speak to young people like I recently did at USC, I am careful to always talk about this.  When I talk about the costs of the “War on Obesity” and the costs of fat hate in our society, I always talk about the costs to each of us individually and to the world at large of large populations of people not daring to even dream about living fully.  I talk about the costs of a significant percentage of people in our world who deny their gifts or hide them under a bushel basket because of the very real fear that they will be laughed at, derided and scorned because they don’t look the way society dictates they should.  And I remind people that it is not just the individual cost to each person who does not derive as much joy as they would like from living to their purpose, it is also the cost to everybody else in society who doesn’t get the benefit of those shared gifts that makes this hatred of certain body types so very, very expensive.

It’s not always easy to admit to and share your gifts.  I know this.  But one thing that seems to make it easier is to try to live in the present.  If we dwell on past hurts or we anticipate future pain, we draw into ourselves.  We curl up and we don’t give.  One of the keys to sharing our gifts seems to be living in the now.

Take a look at our friend from Kung Fu Panda.  At one point, Po was ready to give up.  Mr. Panda states, “I probably sucked more today than anyone in the history of Kung Fu–in the history of China–in the history of sucking.”  He was frustrated and embarassed.  He was laughed at and derided by the other creatures in the Dojo.  But Master Oogway reminds Po that, “Yesterday was history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That’s why it’s called the present.”

So during this holiday season, I would invite you to consider your gifts.  I promise you have them.  You have talent.  You have worth.  You have energy and time.  You have ideas.  You have  compassion and joy and laughter to share with the world.  And you have the gift of today in which to share those gifts with us.  Please share.

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want a gift to help you learn how to share YOUR gifts?  This month I’m giving away “5 Things That can Help You Love Your Body Right Now! for free to members of my clique.  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

Reductionism: Why They Want Us Smaller

Yup, those dogs sure like to chase!

A friend of mine recently started experiencing a lot of success and positive attention in her career.  She started doing really well, and began to realize some of the dreams she’s had for decades.  But she also started seeing a lot more criticism for her weight, and found that that criticism had become nastier than before.

In addition to the increase in body shaming she received, she found that she was also feeling especially vulnerable to these negative comments.  She found that things she might have easily shrugged off a few weeks ago were now hurting her deeply.  She found herself frustrated both with herself and her peers.  And she found herself yelling at herself for her hurt and her tears.  It led her to ask me, “what is going on here?”

I think that as we get larger in the world and as we make a bigger impact, forces both within and without conspire to make us want to be smaller.  I think this is true for two reasons:

  1. Many of us women have been taught all our lives to be smaller. Think about it.  From the time of our birth, many of us girls were taught to fade into the background.  We were taught to sit with our legs together with our handbag sharing the seat.  We were taught not to brag, not to make too big of a deal of ourselves, and not to make too much noise.  So I think, for many of us, as our lives become larger, we are triggered by a desire to make our bodies smaller.  We feel so conspicuous and so exposed by the new attention in our lives, we want to shrink back down, curl up, and not expose our luscious bellies to the enemies.
  1. Dogs don’t bark at a parked car.  And it’s not so surprising, really that our enemies head directly for our soft underbellies just as we start to see some success.  Most of our enemies were taught the same thing we were taught.  They were taught to be small and humble and inconspicuous.  So what happens when they see somebody who starts to grow in stature and achieve many of the dreams they may have had for themselves?  What happens when they see the car speeding away from them?  They start chasing, and they start barking.  And oh my goodness what a racket they make!  When folks see somebody achieving something they wish the had the guts to go after, do you think they are introspective and use it as a life lesson to get themselves off their butts?  Well some folks do.  But most folks just run along side, nipping at the tires and yipping their fool heads off.

So my dear chicklettes, this week I’d like to talk about reduction.  I want to talk about making our doubts smaller and our lives bigger and louder and even more amazing!  Because I don’t want you to let the yipping dogs slow you down.  Oh no.  I want you to speed on ahead in your gorgeous, great big convertible and leave all those other dogs panting in the dust.


The Fat Chick