I was excited to see this video on YouTube this week. It’s so exciting to see fresh, young faces who are embracing elements of the size acceptance, size diversity and self acceptance movement. Laci Green has a lot of wonderful things to say in this video about the end of diets. (Although some of the things she defines as a lifestyle change still sound a little bit like a diet to me.) She covers a lot of ground in this short time in a charming and fun way. And she ends up eating pizza in a bikini! How awesome is that?!
I am so inspired by the courage demonstrated by these young guns in the social media space–not only Laci Green, but also Stella Boonshoft with her brave photo, former Green Bay Packers cheerleader Kaitlyn Collins and so many others. A big part of why I became the Fat Chick and started blogging and writing and teaching in the first place is the deep hope that I can, at least in a small way, help young people discover body acceptance a little bit earlier in life. I hope to help them avoid putting decades of their lives on hold waiting to be thin, to help them reclaim a year, a month, a week or even a day that they might have spent obsessing about diets or their weight. I hope to add my one small voice to the chorus of voices that are singing of loving and living life out loud–full tilt boogie in the body you have right now.
The voices are all different. It takes different sounds to make a beautiful ensemble. The music is so much more subtle and nuanced when it is sung by high and ethereal soprano voices, and deep chocolatey contralto voices and brightly shining tenor voices and deeply booming baritone/bass voices. It takes all of these voices to make a choir. I am thrilled and deeply honored to be singing the same tune as these amazing new talents in our community.
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:
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.
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.