Cheryl, I just read your post about weight and dieting, and I have a lot to say about this post and would be happy to have a longer 1:1 conversation after you have had some sleep...say in 2-3 years!
Briefly let me just say that in not one of the photos you posted were you fat by anyone’s definition -- anyone’s but your own. To say that you were the “fattest cheerleader” is a disservice to you and to all of us who are fat. Further, you’ve set up a double dichotomy of skinny = good and fat = bad. For your sake, and most especially for your son’s, I would encourage you to spend some time reading in the Health At Any Size (HAES) and All Bodies are Good Bodies movements. Some good links:
Bevin Brandlandingham: www.queerfatfemme.com
Jes Baker: www.themilitantbaker.com
Linda Bacon, PhD: www.lindabacon.org
Your fat friend
|Bevin of the blog Queer Fat Femme; owner of amazing shark dress.|
The American Cancer Society put out a pamphlet about cancer prevention that recommends a general “healthy body weight” in every category except for estrogen-positive breast cancers, for which it suggests, I swear to god, “being as thin as possible without being underweight.” As you might imagine, that spoke directly to my little overachieving soul and whatever anorexic residue lies buried beneath my chocolate-loving heart. That dictum hangs over me in ways that aren’t always good for my brain, because when I go up a jean size, I imagine cancer cells nomming on the estrogen that is stored in fat cells.
Dash’s birth family has a history of heart disease. His birthmom is on the slender side, so again, I know that health and weight are not the same. I also know that genetics plays a huge part in all of this stuff, so I could get cancer and Dash could get heart disease even if we live off organic carrots and small mercury-free fish.
I also know that orthodoxy can be a fatal flaw, one I have a long unfortunate history of falling victim to. If you try to eat only carrots, you’ll probably fail, say FUCK IT and eat all of the croissants. Better to eat some carrots and some whole wheat bread and half a croissant. By “you,” of course I mean me.
I’ve now played the cancer card, the heart disease card and the kid card. Aren’t I holy?
|If only this didn't require playing beach volleyball.|
You’re right, I’m not fat in any of the pictures I posted. I was, nevertheless, the fattest cheerleader—like I said, Manhattan Beach’s body bar is set high and traditional. I was always on the bottom of the pyramid, tossing some cute hundred-pounder into the air. Obviously it still messes with my head a bit.
I wrote about trying to leave shame behind, and I’m realizing now that there are two categories of shame: shame for things that were really a bad idea (whether it’s as minimally consequential as eating a box of Oreos in one sitting or as big as something that would land you in jail) and shame for things that are actually fine and even awesome (being fat, being queer, etc.). In both cases, shame is useless and tenderness is the only cure. But I’d put some of my eating habits in the “try to avoid in the future” category, while putting my body, in all its scarred imperfect glory, in the latter.
Thanks for the links. I think I’ve read and liked some of Jes Baker’s posts before. Bevin Branlandingham has a fun voice and style (not to mention a fantastic name), and I’m interested in what she says about “food neutrality,” which I see that I so don’t possess, as I reread my opening paragraphs of this message. Obviously I need to read more; this is a process. I’m not an authority, just a ponderer with a chronic sweet tooth.
Thank you again!