That's what a message in my guestbook (a page where guests to my website can leave comments) stated in reply to a photo I had on my personal web page (http://www.geocities.com/~bbwqt) of myself in a (gasp!) bikini. My first reaction was, "Oh crap! I better take that picture down before someone else I know sees it!" The above-mentioned guestbook entry was from a friend's mother who just recently got on the internet. The more I thought about it though, I decided to leave it where it was.
Many of my fellow BBW sisters have placed risque or sexy pictures of themselves up on their personal home pages. Is this okay as long as no one outside of the large-size community sees them? Do they give out their home page addresses to their immediate family and close friends?
I have several pictures of myself in the above-mentioned bikini, but I haven't put them up on my own page because I didn't want my Mom to see them (I sort of snuck that one photo in at the bottom of one of my pages, thinking no one would find it). I recently found out that she has viewed my home page before and I was afraid she might "have a cow" if she saw me showing so much skin. Especially since she is one of those fat women who are on a perpetual diet. Another thing that kind of bothered me was that we used to work at the same place (she still works there) and have a lot of mutual friends. They are the ones who showed her my page on the computer at work. I'm not sure which made me feel more self conscious, her seeing that photo or they. Probably her.
Why do I feel this way? Do other people feel the same, or are they braver than I? Is it harder to accept your size or love yourself when around family or close friends not involved in the size movement? My entire family and all of my good friends know that I work for Dimensions Online and what Dimensions magazine is. They know what NAAFA stands for and that I am a member, as well as NAAFA Online's (http://www.naafa.org) webmistress. So it's not like they don't know my feelings on the subject of fat people, and my belief that fat women should not hide their bodies but should celebrate the beauty they possess.
Why then am I so afraid that my mom will see those pictures? Possibly it could be the fact that my mom always told me that fat was bad, and she was always trying to get me to go on a diet. She has battled with her own weight for most of her adult life, she just cannot accept the fact that I am fat and I don't try to hide or shrink myself anymore. I guess, deep down inside, I still care what she thinks about my looks and still want her approval.
My husband and I just got back from visiting her, we live about 900 miles away so we don't get to see each other very often. Her first words to me after not seeing me for over a year were, "You've put on weight." Not "I've missed you," or "You look happy." My weight seemed to be the most important thing on her mind.
My husband is in the military and he is going to Honduras for 12 months. I will be staying with my mom while he is away. I work at home so she will probably be seeing quite a bit of fat-related literature, websites, and pictures that she normally would not be exposed to. Maybe this will help change her attitude about herself, her body, and other fat people. Who knows, it MIGHT just work!
Even though I still feel a little awkward about her seeing that photo, I'm not going to take it down. It is my test for me, to show myself that I can overcome the ingrained fear of my mother disapproving of me.
Will I ever lose this insecurity when it comes to dealing with her, or with her seeing something akin to that dreaded photo? Probably not, but that’s okay. I know that she still loves me no matter what. She may disapprove of some of the things I do, but hey, she’s a mom. That’s just something they do, regardless of the subject at hand. Got to love ‘em.
See you next time or on the web! ß
Dimensions Online Column