Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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On Dogs and Body Acceptance

September 2, 2011

Happy Friday, everyone! And especially happy Friday to North Americans as we get a 3 day weekend thanks to Labour Day. Huzzah! The labourers and unions of the past and present have my eternal gratitude for their efforts ensuring fair wages and hours, an end to child labour, protection from firing, and the creation of things like weekends, overtime pay, and safety standards! And now, over to Carolyn!

So I had an interesting discussion with my therapist today.  This will be the third time in my life that I am going to therapy.  Two of the experiences have been rather frightening, but this therapist is fantastic.  We speak the same language, and I’ve been able to accomplish more in 4 sessions with him than I have in 4 years of therapy with other people.

          The discussion started because I was talking about some of the friendships I had “lost” in the last few years.  I felt like I had done something wrong somehow and that I was a bad friend.  I do my best to be a supportive and loyal friend, and while explaining the details of said friendships to my counselor he briefly stopped me to offer perspective.

          My therapist has a dog named Jambo.  He explained that he loved his dog very much and that the dog was easy to love.  He then asked me what I would think if someone approached him and said “That’s a stupid dog!  Why do you have such an idiot dog?”  He asked if I thought that he would love the dog less.  I laughed and replied “no”; obviously the person who doesn’t like the dog has the issue, not the dog itself.  He agreed and asked me if, had the former friend approached me and explained their hurt, what would I have done.  I said “anything to make amends and understand.”  He said “exactly.”  The realization slowly sunk in.  I was not unlovable anymore than Jambo was a bad dog; it was a matter of the person’s perspective and had nothing to do with the inherent value of the person (or dog) being judged.

          This simmered in my brain-pan for a few days, and then I started relating it to my body and fat acceptance.  If someone disparages my body, or even a large group of bodies, it has nothing to do with the inherent value of said bodies.  It has to do with whatever issues the Judgy McJudgerpants has going on in their head.  If someone came to me and told me that my dog was a fat, unlovable jerk, then I would probably give them a hearty mental “fuck you” and move on. For reference here is a picture of my dog Oliver for your viewing pleasure: 


 So the next time there is a talking head on tv, radio, movie, or even in your personal life, who implies that your value is somehow less because of your lack of visual appeal to them, perhaps think to yourself, “How would I feel if they were talking about my dog / kid / spouse / mom. . .?”  Would I love them any less or would I think the person was off their banana? And then stand up for yourself the way you would for a friend.  That’s my goal from now on.

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