Tag Archives: self acceptance

Recursive Recrimination–Beating Yourself Up (For Beating Yourself Up)

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Several decades ago, I made the decision to not let negative feelings about my body rule my life any more.  I decided to stop putting my life on hold until I reached a certain size or shape.  I decided that all the things I was waiting to do until after I had the “right” body, well I was going to do those things right away.  I have never regretted that decision.  It was a massively important turning point in my life.

However, when I decided to become The Fat Chick and make this decision extremely public, I hesitated.  Because I wasn’t perfect.  I wasn’t perfectly healthy.  I wasn’t in perfectly physically fit.  I wasn’t the ideal poster child for fat people.  And sometimes I had bad days where I didn’t feel perfectly happy about my body.  How, I asked, can I inspire others to love their bodies and love exercise again when I don’t always exercise and I sometimes frown at what I see in the mirror.

Working with a very wise coach and my super smart husband I came up with the answer.  I have it on a post-it note on the window in my office.  It reads, “The Fat Chick is not a ‘persona’, she is a person.  And people aren’t perfect.”  Getting past this little post it allowed me to finish my book and be on national television and face down another pile of hate mail and ugly comments on my YouTube videos.  It has allowed me to get on with things–even when I’m feeling far less than perfect.  And it’s allowed me to stop beating myself up for beating myself up.

Look, we all have days where we feel powerful and strong and invincible.  And then we have days where we don’t.  This is normal.  This is life.  But when we make the decision to stop hating our bodies and hating ourselves for the way our bodies look, there is a tendency to want to exchange one sort of perfectionism (the search for the perfect body) for another (the complete cessation of negative body thoughts).  I get it.  First I mourned for all the perfect things I imagined would happen in my life once I had the perfect body.

And then I had the honeymoon period where I believed I would never feel bad about my body again and I would remain perfectly healthy and nobody could ever hurt me again.  And then I had the bad days where I didn’t feel perfectly happy or healthy in my body AT ALL.  And then I started beating myself up for beating myself up about not having the perfect body in a perfect recursive storm of self-recrimination.

Sometimes I just have to STOP.  Take a few deep breaths and tell myself that I am hereby absolved of the need to be perfect in anything.  This includes being perfect at self-acceptance.  This includes being perfect about body love.  This includes being perfect about not needing to be perfect.

I take another breath and try to be grateful for the whole, non-perfect, f’ed up mess of it.  Try to be grateful that I can breathe.  Try to be grateful that I have a life to muddle through and mess up.  And try to remind myself that I don’t need to be perfectly grateful either.

I don’t always get it right.  But that’s okay.  Because I am a person, and people aren’t perfect.

I hope this little blog post helps serve as a reminder for some of you who are currently in the process of beating yourself up for, well, beating yourself up.  You have the permission of the universe to be profoundly imperfect.  Because the universe made us that way.  You are a person, and people aren’t perfect.  And that’s totally okay.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Up Hill Both Ways: 30th Anniversary of Shadow on a Tightrope

A new generation is introduced to Shadow on a Tightrope.  Photo Credit: Substantia Jones

A new generation is introduced to Shadow on a Tightrope. Photo Credit: Substantia Jones

I have to confess.  I recently re-read Shadow on a Tightrope in honor of this blog carnival.  I tore through the book at warp speed, reveling in the sheer, unadulterated, radical awesomeness of it.  I was moved by the rawness and honesty found in so much of the writing.  And I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the women who came before me in this amazing movement of size acceptance.

I felt all of these things, but more than any of these things, I felt a sense of awe.  These women blazed a trail across this far-flung land.  They build a bridge to one another through their written words.  And they did it with pencils and typewriters.

Now I understand that there’s a real danger here that I will tell the activism equivalent of walking to school and back, in the snow, and that it was uphill both ways.  But isn’t that sort of what we are talking about here?

In reading these stories, I was struck by how hard it was for size activists simply to find one another.  I was fascinated by the level of manual work they did, collecting checks to cover the costs of photocopying medical journal articles and studies, copying them and mailing them out to one another.

I was also struck by how often a writer in the anthology refers to years or even decades in isolation–believing they were the only one to feel the way they did.  And I was moved by the joy expressed in finding even one like-minded soul with whom to have dinner, swap letters or share late-night phone calls.

It’s hard to speak of size acceptance today, even with the myriad of online research resources and the powerful forums and channels that bring like minded activists to the distance of just one click from one another.  While it’s true that modern life brings a different set of headaches (like moderating yet another absolutely vile YouTube comment) it also brings us comfort and tremendous support.  Often, within seconds of writing a blog post or sharing a thought on Facebook, I’ll have a word or two of support or encouragement.  I can debate difficult questions about the nature of size acceptance in real time, with scholars throughout the world.  But even so, it can be hard to stand aside from the mainstream on notions of weight, weight loss, fat acceptance, and Health At Every Size.

But how much more difficult was it back in 1983 or even earlier? Shadow on a Tightrope, was created in a time when writers put their stake in the sand, said their piece and then waited weeks or months or even years to see what the world had to say about it.  Yet it’s astonishing, how many stakes were planted, and just how much ground was covered by this early work.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these early pioneers.   That’s why I am so excited to see projects like this one, celebrating the 30-year anniversary of a seminal work in the Size Acceptance cannon, or the history project initiated by Barbara Altman Bruno on behalf of ASDAH, and the tremendous work being done by Ragen Chastain to document the stories of the founders of this movement in their own wordsl

I am proud and honored to share in some small way, my heartfelt thanks to those who not only added to the scholarship side of the size acceptance movement, but also paved the way for me to step off the diet/body hatred merry-go-round and learn to love my body far, far earlier than I would have done without their guidance.  For helping me reclaim weeks, months, years and even decades for body love, self acceptance and even joy, I’m very, very grateful.

Perhaps 30 years from now, the young upstarts will be rolling their eyes and wondering how we old farts ever built a movement without transporter beams and holographic recording.  If at that point we are able to leave behind even a small fraction of work on par with that found in Shadow on a Tightrope, I will count us successful indeed!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

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F@#$k Purple, I wanna be a Footballin’ Granny!

footballingranniesHello Peeps.  I saw this picture and it inspired me to write something special for you this morning.  Enjoy!

Football Kickin’ Granny

When I am old, I will certainly wear purple.

For I wear purple now.

I won’t wait for permission or the scent of senility

To do whatever, WHATEVER I want.

I won’t wait until I’m old (well older) to wear hats

and buy sequined dresses

and invent wildly inappropriate places to wear them.

I pay the mortgage and the light bill, yes.

But I also buy tiaras, and declare myself princess of the known universe

Because it is Tuesday.

I do that now.

When I am offered a sample, I taste it.  When I see a ball, I kick it.

I will not wait to devour my life.

For tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

But should I be blessed with old (well older) age, I hope I will also

Be blessed with the desire and the ability to continue

My purple wearing, sample tasting, football kicking ways.

May I continue to kick butt and take names.

May I be the one that feisty is named for.

But Lord in heaven, don’t ask me to wait until I’m old.

Let me tear it up, let me embarrass my children,

Let me paint the town red.

Right now.

Love,

The Fat Chick

 

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