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Old 11-01-2009, 03:02 AM   #51
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The thing of it is, for me, whatever the antidote is to the messages that were internalized has to be something found by the individual. That's why I'm not comfortable with the idea of "codifying" fat self-acceptance, or with suggesting that "self-love" really is going to get 'er done. At some point, then, what appears to be on the surface a good idea offered in the name of support becomes a mantra that is just one more burden the fat person has to bear.
I'm still half-assing this thread whilst dealing with other shit and I can't rep you again yet, but...yes. Resounding yes. Your road is not my road is not her road is not his road is not their road, and as such, our lifemaps may not match. At all. While our paths may intersect at the Corner of Fat Misery St. and Size Acceptance Ave., our starting points may be thousands of miles apart, and our journey's end divided by oceans.

"Just love yourself" is as oppressive - and useless - as "Just lose the weight." In fact, I'd argue that it's WORSE. Most of us know how to lose weight, more or less, but NOBODY knows the secret to pulling happiness from thin air/their ass. There is no magic pill, no medical procedure, no guaranteed step-by-step instructions for quick and easy self-acceptance. If there were, we wouldn't be here discussing the issue. This is why the air of impatience I sometimes sense really ticks me off.

I'd rather my dead grandmother rise from the grave to revisit her "fat people smell" lecture than endure a smug "just call it good and be happy, what the fuck is wrong with you?" from somebody who doesn't have a clue about me or my life. Unless you're a bulemic who's been dealing with some form of BDD for most of your life, a damn good therapist, or a preternaturally empathetic person, you're just not going to be equipped to judge my personal progress.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:04 AM   #52
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Yes, from the bottom of my heart, I love being a fat queer. A 300 pound, masculine looking, biowoman who only gets annoyed with being any of those things when rude people feel they have a right to offer up their negativity to me or people like me in public. Luckily, because I do a good job of not caring what they think, this public display happens very rarely with me.

I say this because it took me a very long time to truly mean what I wrote above, and so I think if others are struggling, and they want to reach a place where they fully accept their bodies, it is possible. For some, that means an aggressive and overt self-love, for others, it means an understanding of the balance at play in the universe and one's own self, and for others it means a million other things. The key is acceptance, right? Acceptance and love are not the same thing, so can we all at least agree on the idea that coming to self acceptance, regardless of your own beliefs about what a fat identity should be, is a good thing for us all?
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:14 AM   #53
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Do I love my fat body? Yes. I love the curves and softness. I like the way I look. Do I love what is happening to me as I get older and no longer will my joints support the weight? No. Do I love the fact that my heart is rebelling against the work it takes to support my weight? No. Do I love the fact that I need to lose weight to remain mobile at a weight that I used to be able to handle with few problems? No. Losing weight is hell. And, I find myself trying to find ways to enjoy hell for the sake of my health. Nothing more than that. It is difficult to find people in my world that understand what I am experiencing. They see it as a black and white issue: lose weight...no problems. For me, it is losing a part of who I am. Hmmm...this is off topic? Sorry.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:01 AM   #54
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hmmm, do I love being a fat girl?

In general - no. It would be so much easier to go through life as an average sized person. It would be easier if I didn't have this addiction like attitude with food.

I can and am lose weight, but its still not quite the same as going through life NEVER being fat. I'll still always think that when I hear someone laugh out in public, it might be directed toward me. Or that everyone is looking at me, thinking I'm the fattest person ever. I'll always have my stretch marks, my extra skin. I'll still always be some variance of that fat girl inside who was made fun of, regardless of my size.

But I am who I am. I can either spend my life hating myself and my body, or just deal with it, and move on. I'd rather focus on things I can do than the size of my body. I'm learning to love my body for its strength, for what it can do. But love it because its fat? No, I love it because its mine.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:46 AM   #55
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It would be so much easier to go through life as an average sized person.
I feel like even bothering to think like this is self-defeating. For many of us, becoming "average-sized" is not an option. Sorry to make an example of you, because I don't necessarily mean you, but the thin fantasy many women harbor does nothing but harm them, even if it is a so-called "realistic" (I only want to be a size 18, not skinny!) fantasy.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:15 AM   #56
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we all at least agree on the idea that coming to self acceptance, regardless of your own beliefs about what a fat identity should be, is a good thing for us all?
For me, it's about compassion for self and understanding of self. There are some things about me I want to change. So self-acceptance in that context is inappropriate.

Compassion, OTOH, allows me to work for personal change while at the same time remaining kind to myself if I fail. Compassion eradicates self-rejection while it fosters self-understanding (since applying it leads me to understand what my own motives are for feeling and doing as I do) and leaves room for whatever dynamic change I may need.

I have found in the past that the idea that I was "supposed to accept myself" left me feeling confused about whether that meant I could also want to change something about myself, to grow. That's why I think we'd better not agree "officially" that self-acceptance is a good thing. That sounds too much like we're saying we know what's best for others.

Wherever anyone is on their journey, they are at the least human beings who deserve our compassion and love. As far as I'm concerned, those are the only "rules."

Congratulations, butch, on enjoying the fruits of your internal work.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:48 PM   #57
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For me, it's about compassion for self and understanding of self. There are some things about me I want to change. So self-acceptance in that context is inappropriate.

Compassion, OTOH, allows me to work for personal change while at the same time remaining kind to myself if I fail. Compassion eradicates self-rejection while it fosters self-understanding (since applying it leads me to understand what my own motives are for feeling and doing as I do) and leaves room for whatever dynamic change I may need.

I have found in the past that the idea that I was "supposed to accept myself" left me feeling confused about whether that meant I could also want to change something about myself, to grow. That's why I think we'd better not agree "officially" that self-acceptance is a good thing. That sounds too much like we're saying we know what's best for others.

Wherever anyone is on their journey, they are at the least human beings who deserve our compassion and love. As far as I'm concerned, those are the only "rules."

Congratulations, butch, on enjoying the fruits of your internal work.
Fascinita, let me offer up an alternate point of view. I never once thought that accepting oneself meant it wasn't okay to change. In fact just the oppposite. Accepting oneself means you have to be able to accept the changes you go thru in addition to the process of changing. Even if along the way you find out things about yourself that surprise you and make you uncomfortable that is okay cause it's all part of who you are and that is how you learn who you are. It's impractical to imagine ourselves as hard rocks that can't be molded, rather we are more like clay or water. Tho clay may change shape, it is still clay. Water may fit into any space, but it is still water.

I realize this is what you experienced and I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings or say they are wrong. They are what they are, but I am frankly shocked that anyone would think of self acceptance that way. It just never occured to me....it only seems logical to me that we should change in some ways as we get older. To me acceptance is just being able to accept who you are at every stage in that journey and if you don't accept who you are, it means something is wrong and something must be done to achieve some equilibrium...if you don't like something then change it. If changing something about yourself is hard (honestly most things are), then it's okay to accept that too as long as you can be happy with that but if you can't then it's all the more reason to try to change. Afterall, isn't life really about finding that equilibrium or in other words, following your heart?

I don't understand why the persuit of happiness needs to be something we should stay away from just because it's hard or painful. The payoff is contentment and to me that seems worth the struggle.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:49 PM   #58
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I'm not sure that even if we were to agree "officially" that self-acceptance/self-love/a positive self-perception (to me they're almost the same thing, or at least related) is a good thing that it would matter. Who's put us in charge anyway? And even if so, of what?

I understand what you're saying, Lizzy, but where I get a little lost is that I don't really see anyone here, or elsewhere, trying to force people to feel better about themselves in order to fall lockstep on a march towards bringing fat acceptance to the world, or something. And how would any group enforce that anyway? I very much agree that being hard on oneself is fruitless and useless, and I think that (and believe most people think that) compassion for each other's experience and situation is important (when one removes the things that people get into arguments over; at least here). But I'm wondering where you see the sorts of behavior you're talking about -- where you've encountered it -- so as to feel that there is some sort of group-think about this stuff that you are against. Or are you just being philosophical in general? Maybe I'm missing context here.

ETA:I also agree with Olwen that accepting oneself and wanting to change some things about ourselves are not mutually exclusive. And pretty much everything else she has said. I'm appreciating this discussion, and seeing the varying POVs, very much.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:06 PM   #59
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Fascinita, let me offer up an alternate point of view. I never once thought that accepting oneself meant it wasn't okay to change. In fact just the oppposite. Accepting oneself means you have to be able to accept the changes you go thru in addition to the process of changing. Even if along the way you find out things about yourself that surprise you and make you uncomfortable that is okay cause it's all part of who you are and that is how you learn who you are. It's impractical to imagine ourselves as hard rocks that can't be molded, rather we are more like clay or water. Tho clay may change shape, it is still clay. Water may fit into any space, but it is still water.

I realize this is what you experienced and I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings or say they are wrong. They are what they are, but I am frankly shocked that anyone would think of self acceptance that way. It just never occured to me....it only seems logical to me that we should change in some ways as we get older. To me acceptance is just being able to accept who you are at every stage in that journey and if you don't accept who you are, it means something is wrong and something must be done to achieve some equilibrium...if you don't like something then change it. If changing something about yourself is hard (honestly most things are), then it's okay to accept that too as long as you can be happy with that but if you can't then it's all the more reason to try to change. Afterall, isn't life really about finding that equilibrium or in other words, following your heart?

I don't understand why the persuit of happiness needs to be something we should stay away from just because it's hard or painful. The payoff is contentment and to me that seems worth the struggle.

Olwen, I'm just offering my views. I've presented them as such. What works for me may not work for everyone else.

As well, I'm explaining why I think it's potentially harmful to codify what will lead anyone to their "happiness." Using terms that signify a concept that is obviously going to play out differently for everyone, in a way that suggests that there is one answer, doesn't seem productive to me.

That's the essence of what I'm saying. There is nothing in what I'm saying that even remotely suggests that we should be opposed to people finding their happiness. Just the opposite, in fact.

I suppose what I see as the difference between "self-acceptance" and "compassion" is that the first is a pop-psych term that's used blindly to mean anything from "I'm a fuck up and that's OK" to "I have body image problems and maybe I'd be better off being kinder to myself." No matter. If someone individually prefers "self-acceptance," I hope it's crystal clear that I have no problem with that. Nothing in the way I've conducted this dialogue suggests that I'm picking bones with anyone's individual choices. My only problem is when we, as groups, begin to want to dictate "self-acceptance" as a prescribed way out of what ails us.

And anyone who doesn't agree with me that it's counter-productive to speak with authority about what will make all fat people happy--or even just fat people in a sub-category of fat people... this way of classifying people strikes me as de-humanizing, for the record--can easily ignore what I have to say. I've been happy to talk to some of you about it, but it looks like that's just caused up more of a stir. It's not my intention to "shock" anyone by advocating compassion for self and all human beings as something we can all opt into, beyond codified ideas that are easily confused with normative directives. Compassion, I feel, is something everyone has intuitive access to. "Self-acceptance," because it's held up so frequently in authoritative ways as "ideal"--by the media and by the mental health community, for example--is a concept that may need explaining. And who does the explaining? Who gets to define what is "good" for self-acceptance?

No matter. For me this has now become an issue of expressing different views on what it means to be fat in the world.

It appears that my views are quite unorthodox. lol I hope there is room for them here without their constantly being challenged or misread. I was glad that last night it seemed I had made some progress and that my place in this dialogue had been confirmed. I'm glad to try to explain what I mean, but at a certain point, I begin to feel like I'm doing a whole lot of explaining just to validate the appropriateness of my views here.

Your post contains a number of ideas, olwen, which have nothing to do with what I've been saying. Maybe you're putting words in my mouth. Maybe I've failed to explain myself. I enjoy discussing this with you, but it looks like we're not understanding each other. Maybe we can agree that we both want good things for fat people and leave it at that.

For anyone reading, the first two paragraphs of this post are the most important viz. the topic at hand.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:22 PM   #60
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Olwen, I'm just offering my views. I've presented them as such. What works for me may not work for everyone else.
I understand, Lizzy, and feel just the same way about my own stated perspective. That's the thing that I believe we can all agree upon: it's a different road for everyone, even if some of the differences between experiences are small. It's okay for others to be further apart, and I really enjoy differing POVs.[/quote]
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It appears that my views are quite unorthodox. lol I hope there is room for them here without their constantly being challenged or misread. I was glad that last night it seemed I had made some progress and that my place in this dialogue had been confirmed. I'm glad to try to explain what I mean, but at a certain point, I begin to feel like I'm doing a whole lot of explaining just to validate the appropriateness of my views here.
Lizzy, I think there is a lot of room for varying views -- it makes discussions, and life, more interesting and lets us get to know each other a little better.

I'm sorry you feel as you stated in your last sentence there. I'm not wanting or trying to get you to validate your viewpoint -- I don't think it should need to be validated. I'm just trying to understand, probably, context more than anything else. I think that overall I agree with you (though agreement isn't necessary, IMO; it can be fun to disagree), but I'm not sure if you are saying that Dimensions as a whole, or some of us, or whomever, are trying to force people to feel better about themselves or be damned. I think that because I don't really see that happening, and have tried to think of if I've ever seen it happen and have come up empty handed, that more than anything I wonder if yours isn't just a general statement/concept. Or maybe we see different things? Anyway, I have not been trying to impose anything upon you, and I hope you don't think I have. I've tried to be clear that these are my own views and experiences and that I also know that each person's needs and path is going to be different.

All in all, I've never really liked to be put into a box, either.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:24 PM   #61
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Do I love my fat body? Yes. I love the curves and softness. I like the way I look. Do I love what is happening to me as I get older and no longer will my joints support the weight? No. Do I love the fact that my heart is rebelling against the work it takes to support my weight? No. Do I love the fact that I need to lose weight to remain mobile at a weight that I used to be able to handle with few problems? No. Losing weight is hell. And, I find myself trying to find ways to enjoy hell for the sake of my health. Nothing more than that. It is difficult to find people in my world that understand what I am experiencing. They see it as a black and white issue: lose weight...no problems. For me, it is losing a part of who I am. Hmmm...this is off topic? Sorry.
Not at all, and I totally understand where you're coming from. I've recently had to go on a very serious diet because my blood pressure was edging towards dangerous. On Monday I climbed onto the scale and I've lost 3 kilos. I wept Being forced into losing this weight is hurting me, I resent every minute, I resent those lost kilos even though i know its for the best. So your point is very relevant.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:25 PM   #62
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Fasc, I really am not trying to put words in your mouth and I really do want to understand you....maybe we are saying the same thing here - that fat people should just do whatever it is they need to do to find happiness. No?
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:31 PM   #63
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I understand what you're saying, Lizzy, but where I get a little lost is that I don't really see anyone here, or elsewhere, trying to force people to feel better about themselves in order to fall lockstep on a march towards bringing fat acceptance to the world, or something. And how would any group enforce that anyway?
Tina, I see how ideas are used to keep people in line, to control them. And I'm cautioning us from lapsing into that. Those are the very tactics that are used to keep fat people (and thin people) in line in the world outside of Dimensions.

For an example of how this touches this community, I see the idea of enforced "confidence in our fat bodies" as normative. And that is certainly an idea that exists as such on these boards. Now you may disagree that it's ever harmful to encourage someone toward something as "positive" as confidence. And I'd have to reiterate that I think it's not appropriate for everyone.

In our rush to promote fat acceptance, we shouldn't rush to adopt normative practices that tend to make some feel oppressed or excluded.

That's all.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:43 PM   #64
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fat people should just do whatever it is they need to do to find happiness. No?
I would edit that to read, "I support the idea of allowing each person the freedom to find his or her own path to happiness, and I'll do what I can to add to that happiness, where appropriate, by showing compassion."

Yes.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:53 PM   #65
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I would edit that to read, "I support the idea of allowing each person the freedom to find his or her own path to happiness, and I'll do what I can to add to that happiness, where appropriate, by showing compassion."

Yes.
Woman, why didn't you just say that in the first place? LOL That I understand perfectly.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:13 PM   #66
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Yes, I love being a fat girl. Life is not all a bowl of cherries jubilee, but every day I count my blessings that I live in a time and place of such abundance and high standards of living. My body is built for comfort and has a phenomenal capacity for fat production and storage, so methinx it would be a constant battle to lose weight. Some days it's a royal pain to carry around so much fat: heavy, awkward, bulky, bouncing around, slowing me down, affecting my balance, and hurting my legs and feet. As I grow older the aches and pains increase, but so far I've managed to avoid most of the health issues associated with obesity, and I hope my luck holds out, knock on wood (ow, my head!). Physically, some days it's annoying that my large breasts and huge belly hang out like the bow of a ship, getting in my own way. Good stylish clothes in my size are hard to find, or very expensive, not quite as bad as my younger days, but now I need to try on cars for fit too. Chairs are a form of Russian roulette. Even if a seat fits me, will it support me and can I haul myself out of it? Is that sturdy-looking chair actually stuffed with quicksand, just waiting to swallow my double-wide butt?

Air travel is The Voyage of the Damned. "Any carry-on luggage?" "Aye, Captain, 2/3 of my body mass is fat. Permission to lug it aboard." I can endure airline seats a few hours if I raise the armrest and overflow onto my husband, and if he massages my bruised and squozen legs and hips back to life after I hobble off the plane. Flying overseas in sardine class is impossible. A couple months ago I flew to Berlin for a business matter, so I insisted on business class . . . and got it! Gee, fat as a negotiating tool -- who'd 'a' thunk it?

It sounds kinda goofy, but I really love the look and feel of my fat: so soft and warm and comfy. Sometimes after a shower as I towel myself dry, I do little hops to watch my fat bounce in the mirror, and I'm just vain enough to think all this fat looks great on me. It's obvious I'm fat, so I try to dress well to flatter my figure and even flaunt it, within reason. I also like my long fat arms and legs, which I do show off when the weather is warm or I'm at the beach. And to a certain extent I enjoy the sensation of my fat bouncing around when I walk. Occasionally I envy thin women when I see how more convenient life might be, or when I'm curious what it's like to run without getting winded or my breasts hitting me in the face, but these are minor concerns.

Fat has certain benefits. My size gives me added presence and an aura of authority. Obesity forces me to be observant and to think independently and creatively, which serve me well both personally and professionally. As a tall fat woman I can hold my own with the men in the workplace, be assertive with implied physical strength and power, yet still be ultra curvy and feminine. I also feel that simply by being fat I've already broken some societal dictates, so I may as well transcend a few other barriers while I'm at it. It's also amusing to walk over to someone's desk to discuss an assignment, and find they speak to my belly or breasts more than my face. Maybe the sight of my belly hanging out over their desks fills them with the trepidation of an impending dam burst, but at least I have their attention, and my fat impinging on their personal space gets my point across.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:27 PM   #67
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That I understand perfectly.
I'm glad. Thanks!
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:48 PM   #68
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I feel like even bothering to think like this is self-defeating. For many of us, becoming "average-sized" is not an option. Sorry to make an example of you, because I don't necessarily mean you, but the thin fantasy many women harbor does nothing but harm them, even if it is a so-called "realistic" (I only want to be a size 18, not skinny!) fantasy.
I dont think you read the rest of my post. Its not like I think like that all the time. That was my response to the question. Of course life for me would have been easier had I been built like my sisters, for example. Its just a fact. I know that I'm not as big as most people here, and even at my heaviest still wasn't as big as most here. But the fact is, in my life, my family, where I grew up, I was HUGE. I was always one of the fattest people in my school. I was the fattest of my sisters. And I went through HELL growing up. And to state the fact that, life would have been easier for me had I been "average sized" is just that, a fact. I dont think there is anything wrong with saying that. Its the truth.

And losing weight doesn't change what I went through. I may be able to pass as an average sized chick when I get to my goal, but its still different, IMO. But everything I went through, made me who I am today, and I like me now.

But as I said in the rest of my post:

Quote:
But I am who I am. I can either spend my life hating myself and my body, or just deal with it, and move on. I'd rather focus on things I can do than the size of my body. I'm learning to love my body for its strength, for what it can do. But love it because its fat? No, I love it because its mine.
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:28 PM   #69
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I dont think you read the rest of my post.
I did read all of your post. I isolated that sentence to go off on a different tangent about body acceptance because it reminded me of something. I do believe I said I was NOT actually making an example of you.
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:01 PM   #70
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Tina, I see how ideas are used to keep people in line, to control them. And I'm cautioning us from lapsing into that. Those are the very tactics that are used to keep fat people (and thin people) in line in the world outside of Dimensions.

For an example of how this touches this community, I see the idea of enforced "confidence in our fat bodies" as normative. And that is certainly an idea that exists as such on these boards. Now you may disagree that it's ever harmful to encourage someone toward something as "positive" as confidence. And I'd have to reiterate that I think it's not appropriate for everyone.

In our rush to promote fat acceptance, we shouldn't rush to adopt normative practices that tend to make some feel oppressed or excluded.

That's all.
Ah, okay. I am guessing you might well be referring at least a little to me, given the posts I've made here and in other threads over time. But I would say that encouragement is not pressure, and if I see a situation where a person is asking for feedback and they feel like shit about themselves, I think that the not-feeling-like-shit-about-oneself option is pretty much always a better choice than the feeling-like-shit-about-oneself option. Also, encouragement or giving a perspective isn't forcing, isn't even pressuring or insisting, and certainly isn't trying to remove the person's freedom to walk their own path or saying it's the only way.
Quote:
I would edit that to read, "I support the idea of allowing each person the freedom to find his or her own path to happiness, and I'll do what I can to add to that happiness, where appropriate, by showing compassion."
I definitely agree with this, unless you're saying (and I'm not saying that you necessarily are, but if you are...) that just giving my experience of how seeing myself in a more positive light helped me to learn to appreciate my body more instead of hating it is "adopt[ing] normative practices that tend to make some feel oppressed or excluded." It's just one of the things that helped me in my own life, and what's right for me isn't going to be right for everyone. I have no illusions about that.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:43 AM   #71
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It's complicated.

I like being *me* in general. I like being me now that I am fat, and I liked being me just as much back when I was thin.

But, I do not like the way being (this) fat impacts my life. Just like if I had cancer, I would still like being me, but would not like the way the cancer was impacting my life.

In all honesty, if I were to lose 100 pounds, I would also be gushing about how much happier I was and how much better life was. Not because I weighed 100 pounds less, but because the ways that those 100 pounds impacted my life would be gone. Just like I have to be truthful and say that I am much happier and life is much better now than when I was 100 pounds heavier, for the same reasons.

If somebody were to wave a magic wand and take away the health and mobility problems along with all the ways they impact my life, I would not have any problems being the size I currently am.

Because for me, my weight is not a major part of my self-identity. So, I can easily compartmentalize my feelings about it and like being me but hate being this fat.

Tracy
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:35 PM   #72
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I feel similarly to Tracy. It's not the weight itself, it's all the other shit that comes along with it. Health concerns, nasty comments & trouble finding clothes to name a few.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:33 PM   #73
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Great points Tracy. I like myself now but loved the fat girl that I was about 100 to 150 lbs ago. She was the bomb, able to do anything and everything without health or any other issues.

I'd kill or take any pill/surgery available to be that person again.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:29 PM   #74
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Great points Tracy. I like myself now but loved the fat girl that I was about 100 to 150 lbs ago. She was the bomb, able to do anything and everything without health or any other issues.

I'd kill or take any pill/surgery available to be that person again.
This. At 420 I was the shit. I had attitude, could kick my legs over my head, put up one hellova fight if someone dared to say a word to me. I miss that girl.....a lot.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:10 PM   #75
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I had WLS and I lost a lot of weight, but it did not make me happier. I looked and felt sick a lot.
I have since gained back a lot of weight, and I feel happy about it. I honestly feel I look healthier and I am feeling good about my body.
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