Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The "Fat" Stigma

So, I am not a "small" woman. I never have been. I never remember easily finding jeans in my size. I have generally been happy with the shape my body is.

... but I have recently been made aware that in the culture I am immersed in, my body is often the subject of other conversations. Many others believe that my body is not only mine, but theirs to comment upon. I understand that my body shape is not what society is most comfortable or familiar with, but it is real. I have *shape.* I have *hips.* I am *curvy.* That has, on more than one occasion, opened (against my will) discussion about my body. A few times folks have asked me if I am expecting. Surely you can read into all the reasons this is offensive to me, one who has never been pregnant.

Self-confidence issues that resulted from those comments aside, this question is only one of the few times that my body has been the subject of unwanted and uncomfortable commenting.

I recently experienced another instance. I was in a setting where I was not the only overweight person in the conversation. One person (a man... I feel like this is a relevant fact, despite my effort to remain situationally ambiguous) pointed out the fact that not only he was overweight, but I was, too. I believe that I handled the situation with grace. I dealt with his questioning about my healthcare habits in the best way that I could. I stated that I knew that I could stand to lose a few pounds. It was uncomfortable (and I believe inappropriate).

So after the conversation was concluded, and those involved were loitering in a setting with others who were not involved, I found myself with a grumbling stomach. I had not eaten yet that day. As I stood in front of the food/drink spread, I found myself debating between a cookie and a banana. What I wanted was a cookie. What did I choose? A banana. As I peeled and consumed the banana, I kept my eyes on those around me. I chose the banana over the cookie because I didn't want to see the man who had drawn attention to my "fatness" to see the fat woman eating a cookie. "Hey, LOOK AT ME! I chose a banana!"

And I am not the only person who feels this way. I know of many other situations in which a person does not want to be seen eating a certain item or drinking a certain drink for fear of being stigmatized for being fat.

I am reminded of a recent episode of "What would you do?" on ABC. A larger woman is sitting in a restaurant and orders a large meal (I don't remember exactly what) of fried/fatty food. The server (an actor who is really "in" on the situation with the actor playing the customer) berates the "fat" woman for ordering "fat" food. Very rarely do any of the unsuspecting onlookers stand up on behalf of the customer. If anything, they side with the server.

So here is the question: is this fat stigma in the mind of me, the writer, and other "fat" people, or is this an honest societal issue that needs dealt with?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On the Eve...

Dear Anna,

Tomorrow is a life changing day.* You're nervous about it, I know. I am telling you the same thing I tell brides and grooms on their wedding day. If you weren't nervous about it, I'd be worried. It is a big day with a lot of meaning.

... that being said, please remember that tomorrow does not define you. A committee can not negate a call. A board can not take away your identity. Sure, they may vote no, but even if they do you will still be a beloved child of God, one who is called and claimed.

You have done the work. You have prepared. You have prayed. You have been prayed for. No matter how tomorrow turns out, you will still be you. The outcome may or may not be what you had desired, but you are a strong woman who will make the best out of whatever may come.

I promise I will always love you for who you are and who God has shaped you to be. No one will change that, no matter what you may be feeling.

Remember the quote you love so much...

"So I walk like I'm on a mission 'cause that's the way I groove. I've got more and more to do. I've get less and less to prove. It took me too long to realize that I don't take good pictures 'cause I have the kind of beauty that moves."

~ Anna ~

* written on the eve of my interview for commissioning as an Elder in the United Methodist Church

Friday, March 11, 2011


I saw this post on one of my favorite nail polish blogs (yes, I read more than one nail polish blog... don't judge me).

Let's see your handwriting!! Write out all the answers to the questions below, and post it to your blog!!

1. What is you name? And your blog.
2. Blog url
3. Write: the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
4. Favorite quote
5. Favorite song
6. Favorite band/singers
7. Say anything you want
8. Pass it along to a few bloggers