Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I hope you’ll take a few moments to brush up on some info… it could be really helpful for you or someone you care about.
That person there in your office, sitting two cubicles away. That woman at the gym in the front row of your yoga class. That teen plugged into her phone on the bus. That senior woman sipping tea at the cafe.
Who has an eating disorder? The truth is, it could be anybody. You can’t tell from looking at someone if they have one, or what kind of eating disorder they have. Continue reading
I was in the locker room at the Y a few weeks ago. After showering I draped my towel across my front to walk a few steps to go into the sauna, leaving my back-side exposed. Bodies are naked all the time in the locker room and I’m casual about nudity, so it was no big deal. It’s a busy place and I barely noticed the mom with her young daughter crossing behind me. Until I heard the small voice:
“Look at her big butt.”
One evening last week, I went on a walk with my husband Bob. Halfway through, we sat on a parkway bench, talking. We were startled by a voice shouting out of a car going by, a middle-school-aged boy with his head stuck out of the open window, looking at us. We turned to each other, puzzled. “I think he said, ‘Fat Positivity.'” That’s what we both heard. But… why?
Bob went on with what he had been talking about, and I found myself unable to listen. I felt the familiar warm flush of shame on my face, and my mind started spinning on the incident. “Fat Positivity” sounded, well, Positive, but was it taunting? Was it solidarity of some kind (a lot to expect from a young boy)? Even if it was well-intended, it was still someone seeing me in all my fatness, noticing it, calling it out. I felt seen in a way I didn’t want to be, attention being called to an aspect of my body that is unacceptable by society’s standards, not to mention being judged as unattractive, undesirable, and a personal failing. Continue reading
This weekend I went to my first Fat Splash — a private pool party for fat people. The event was sponsored by Cake Plus-Size Resale, a new-ish consignment shop in Minneapolis with a fabulous selection of clothes and a safe, body-positive space for shoppers. My daughter Gennie eagerly snatched up two tickets for us when they went on sale, which was smart because the party sold out in 12 hours, and an additional party sold out quickly too.
Over the years, I’ve heard about fat pool parties in various books, articles, blogs, Facebook groups in other states, and more recently, saw one on the recent fat-positive Hulu show “Shrill” (which is based on the wonderful book by Lindy West). These parties looked fun and freeing, but also far-away, unreachable. I didn’t think I’d ever get to go to one… Continue reading