Jenna

My Phat Philosophical Philandering

Being new to the FA movement I’ve come to realize that I have not reached what I thought would be a peaceful conclusion. I thought that I had finally reached the summit of what was the climb of my life only to see that this mountain is only the first of a whole chain of them stretching out to the horizon. I’ve just begun this journey. What I used to accept as the truth (I am fat because I: am lazy, lacking in will, gluttonous, etc) there by being like other women who are  pinching, proding themselves whilst talking about the endless hunger of dieting, a famine of the mind, as long as I bought into that I would be accepted even as I was the flotsam of failed attempts washed up on the shore of constant striving.

But now that I have awakened to see the illogical fallacies around me, as I struggle to truly be free, I am coming to other questions and wonder if they are part of “my process”. For example, an old friend of mine facebooked me and out of the blue proceeds to tell me she is a health coach who has herself lost 45 pounds and, “15 to go yay me!’ and wants me to help promote her new job to my friends.

Now, how do I handle this? Do I simply ignore the note? If I do that then what is my role in the FA movement and what does it mean if I stand silent? Do I simply work on myself to the exclusion of interfacing with greater society about the conclusions I have reached? Do I send her a note in response and if so how can I tell her that I think the very thing she is so excited about is a lie? And it is not only her, what do I do with the nameless masses around me who make countless statements and opinions where hate is tossed in as easily as one requests a coffee? Do I attempt to insert my FA mind set? And if so, will I lose friends or even hurt them in the process? If I tell them what I believe will their opinion of me change?

Over the last few months I have mentioned to a couple of friends about  my transformation and the responses I got were guarded skepticism at best, polite disagreement or just changing the subject altogether. Not once was the response, “How interesting please tell me more.” And while I can quote and fling reams of data which support my choice it is met with crossed arms, slight head shakes and stiffening jaw lines.

Its with some saddness that the joy and relief I feel at getting off the rollar coaster and loving myself as I am is truly lonley here in my real world, away from the comfort of like minds on the internet. I truly wish my friends and family would join me here but instead of getting warm hands to pull up into my new world view I find resistance, disagreement, disgust even.

Ever see that move, What Dreams May Come? In that movie, the husband played by Robin Williams goes to heaven while his wife goes to hell but in this movie hell is a place of one’s own making, built out of one’s illusions and negative thoughts. The husband makes it his mission to try to convince his wife to change her point of view in order to save her. I guess this analogy is like the FA movement. We have come to a place where we find some measure of peace but it is often a lonley meadow. We watch our loved ones continue to hate themselves or others or keep trying to use a tool like dieting that always fails in the end. How can we bring these people lost within false illusions to the place where they may find acceptance and understanding? Is it our job to even try?

Sigh… I do not know the answer hence the mountain range I must continue to navigate… endless challenges for ourselves and for our fundamental beliefs as to our responsibility to others. So I place this question in your hands: what would you do and what are you doing, if anything, to advocate for the FA movement to intimate friends and family. The unawakened ones?

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  • http://kataphatic.wordpress.com Kataphatic

    I very much know how you feel. In fact, this issue is so raw for me that it’s difficult to talk about. I feel myself drifting away from friends who have been unwilling to consider FA ideas, because it hurts me to watch them hate themselves and it also triggers my own insecurities and body hate that I am by no means rid of yet. I have coped with this by deliberately seeking out “real life” friends who are also part of the FA movement. I wonder sometimes if part of the loneliness is that we (in the fatosphere) are all so geographically separated. I think it will be really important for us to find folks in our areas where we can do in-person networking, community building, and friendship making. Because otherwise, it is a lonely road…

  • EJ

    Thanks for writing this post! I feel the same way–new to FA, unbelievably happy to have found it, content with my body, and….facing a world that is in CONSTANT contradiction to my reality. A friend recently suggested we do a “biggest loser”-style program to “get in shape”. She didn’t mean it in terms of weight loss, just in terms of exercise, and I didn’t know how to react. Exercise gets so intertwined with weight loss that I tend to think that guilt for not exercising can’t be separated from the damaging weight loss culture. But in the moment I hadn’t really processed why I was uncomfortable, so I wouldn’t have been able to say anything to her even if I’d felt up to it!

    I’m in graduate school right now, and am extremely busy. The type of exercise I love takes a long time: 90 minute yoga classes, long bike rides, walking around all day. These just don’t fit into my life right now because they conflict with my top priority of school. So, I don’t have a problem with the fact that I exercise less now that I have in the past and than I might in the future. I don’t expect to be in top physical shape every year of my life. And it’s fine with me if some one else does, but I don’t think you should just accept “always being in prime physical condition” as a goal just because our culture expects you to.

    I know I got on a bit of a tangent, but my point is just that the FA perspective has made me question SO MANY things that people say that I am often uncomfortable and uncertain about how, when and if to confront them. It goes so far beyond just the surface of anti-fat comments to a multitude of nuanced assumptions of facts or common beliefs. It’s nice to not be alone in feeling lonely and overwhelmed.

  • Shieldmaiden1196

    My first conversation with my husband ended with me shouting a list of side effects from weight loss surgery that people I know personally endure every day. I realized that he is very heavily indoctrinated with the ‘fat = death’ mentality and some of this comes from the way his own family has been treated by the medical community. (ie an aunt who had breast cancer and chronic leukemia had a doctor say to her, ‘okay, so what are we going to do about getting this weight off you, because its killing you’ and instead of raging against the fact that it was likely two cancers and not her fat that was killing her, they meekly accepted this as fact) I know a lot of his objection come from not understanding what FA is, he even said “I don’t see how ‘giving up’ is a course of action”. I concluded by telling him that I would talk to him about it again after he read Linda Bacon’s book, or some of these blogs, and got his head around some facts. We’re at polite stalemate at this point. I just keep writing my blog in hopes that he absorbs some truth and comes around to my way of thinking.

  • http://caitymakes.com Caity

    I’m new to FA, too, and I am in the same boat: well meaning people (even medical professionals that are supposed to be HELPING me!) who just don’t get the idea that we can be fat AND healthy. Or fat and attempting to move my body more, in any case.

    For your health coach friend: “congratulations, but I’m not interested right now. Have you heard about the HAES movement?” I think that’s about all we can do and get on with living!

  • Myrax

    If you want to respond, you could try to emphasize the shared experiences of gaining confidence and feeling at ease in your body. Then explain that your path was through FA and talk about how awesome it feels and give her a few useful links. I’ve found the best way to start a conversation and avoid arguing is by finding a common thread (though sometimes it feels like grasping).

  • Anonymous

    I’m a noisy, mouthy know-it-all, and am usually cheerfully able to spring into a conversation and get my Fat Acceptance all over everything. On the most superficial, Facebook-and-Twitter level, I tend to just toss out very me-oriented statements, wrapped in pleasantness. “Happy to hear that you’re happy! Me, hey, I’ve got this other thing I’m doing. HAES, ever hear of it?” I tend to not lecture, so much as go “this is what I’M doing and it’s AWESOME.” I’ve stood my ground, but I haven’t actually attacked anyone.

    In more personal conversation, I’ll argue with anything too absurd. Or I tend to lean on “Hey this dieting stuff is actually pretty unhealthy, and shouldn’t all this effort be towards actual health?” Which gets me fairly far with my diet-wacky circle of friends. Perhaps I won’t get any converts, but I’m at least there providing a different perspective and a breather.

    I do tend to think pretty highly of myself. Maybe they’re annoyed with me, but my friends haven’t stopped inviting me to parties, so…

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