08 August 2012

On Being Fat and Being Awesome

I was a confident teenager.  I know that sounds crazy and completely opposite of what we hear all the time, but it's true.  I was a good student, involved in activities, knew what I stood for and was comfortable in my own skin.  Maybe it's because of my experience during my teen years that I'm continually surprised at my lack of confidence in myself now.

I feel absolutely ashamed that my lack of confidence is almost entirely born from my physical appearance.  I am overweight, and have been for years.  I've tried, multiple times, to get myself into shape, but I never seem to be able to lose more than 20 lbs.  And so I'm ashamed not only of my appearance, but also because I can't seem to alter it, and because I'm letting society/others determine a portion of my self worth.  Isn't that the exact thing I'm always telling my young friends not to do?

I'm pretty sure that this post will take some people by surprise.  I think I come across as capable (which I am) and confident (which I am not).  But there's a reason for that.  I always say, "Fat people have to be awesome."  We all make immediate judgments, and the most common assumption about fat people is that we're lazy, uncommitted or apathetic.  That's why we have to be awesome.  We have to be the most capable, the first to volunteer, the friendliest, smartest, whatever-est because our personalities and abilities have to overcome the immediate judgments that are made about us.

And sometimes I just get tired of being awesome, because it's a lot of work.


Shannon said...

I was NOT a confident teen. I love getting older because, as Greg says, my self confidence "gels" more with each year. I still have a ways to go. Part of that has to do with my weight but a lot has to do with my height, oddly enough. For some reason, we really do let what others think about us determine how we feel about ourselves. We are incredibly aware of the things that we perceive make us stand out from others.

I wish I had an easy answer because I have a child dealing with the same feelings about his weight and, to some extent, his height. I try to remind him and myself that I don't think any less of someone else because of their weight or height so why should anyone else do that to me. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. It's hard to convince a teen of that, though.

Meri used to say that she thought she was given the body she had because she knew she didn't look like a super model and it kept her dressing modest instead of wanting to show off what she had. I've always liked that thought, too.

John Bytheway says that he's glad, now, that he had a terrible problem with acne when he was in high school because it gave him a heart. He knows what it feels like to really not like how you look and wonder what others think of you because of your appearance. He more easily treats others with compassion because of it. He's realized that others like and respect you for the way they feel when around you, not the way you look.

You're right, you do come across as very capable and confident and awesome. For whatever it's worth, you have a way of brightening a room and making others feel like a million bucks. I don't know if that helps you feel any better about yourself, but it means way more to me than the packaging.

Queen Scarlett said...

I love you. Just as you are... and because you take me as I am (with all my crazy).

You don't have to do anything - just smirk at me and I'm good. I adore you.

Everyone else can go $*%&*$%&*^*


carblemarble said...

I agree & relate 100% to this post! I like to tell myself that I am working on it & that I have a chemical imbalance adding to the problem, all of which is true. However, there is still the front that has to be put up. I wish that society didn't judge on weight so immediately. My weight has changed how I act & who I am and I hate that.

Love you!

The Streiffs said...

Actually, if it makes you feel better, I don't think of "fat" people as lazy or apathetic. I usually think that if given more time, energy, money, etc, they would be able to be thin, but that they have chosen to use their time and means on other things. I like to assume that those other things are making someone else's life better. Like a mother who could spend all day in the gym, but chooses to spend it enriching her families life. Or a friend who probably shouldn't bake those cookies cause she knows that she'll eat a few, but also knows that there is someone who needs to know there are loved by getting a plate of cookies. Not that taking time to take care of yourself is bad, but you should also give yourself props when you deserve them, and many times we deny our needs for the good of someone else. So, give yourself some props.

La Yen said...

I just found this and love it and the honesty that is you.

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