Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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Self Perception Deception

August 1, 2010

Last night, waaay later that I should've been up, the hubs and my very best friend and I were chatting post-gaming about Life, The Universe and Everything.  We wandered through racism and privilege, and the Fionavar Tapestry vs. The Lord of the Rings, a hilarious gamer web-show called The Gamers, talk of our friends and how they're doing, changes coming, and self perception.  Ryan mentioned that he's taller than he realized, having spent a LOT of his highschool years slouching.  He's 6 foot plus an inch or two in his work boots but was really thin for that time too, quiet and geeky.  No wonder he slouched, trying to blend in, to hide.   Best friend in the whole world's dad, however, makes Ryan feel the 'right' height, the dad in question being well, the tallest person I've ever met.  When I hug him, my face is squarely just below the middle of his chest.  It would not take much effort for me to poke him in the belly button with my nose. 

I'm a pocket person.  On a good day, I'm 5foot 3, according to the tape measure.  My head fits perfectly in Ryan's shoulder, my head under his chin.  It's a wonderful feeling.  I know I'm short and it's ok.  Sometimes I forget HOW short I am, sort of how I sometimes forget what I look like.  Not my face, I have to see that every day when I brush my teeth, but all of me, all at once.  The only full length mirror in the house is on the back of the bathroom door and is usually mostly covered by a bathrobe.  I rarely see myself.  Once I'm dressed I just go about my day.  In or out of the shower, unless it's a special occasion, I just don't notice.  Now I'm wondering if I'm doing it somewhat on purpose?   Do I subconsciously hate the way I look?  As SilentBeep has recently mentioned in her post about shame spirals, it's possible to use fat acceptance to beat yourself up.  It's too easy for me, still, to look in the mirror and pick out the flaws.  There ARE things I wish I could change, things I don't like.  Not much but to me they're fairly significant.  For example, I miss the way my belly looked before a c-section, I really do.  Then I think to myself "Well, I shouldnt' think that way about myself, I'm awesome! I'm into body acceptance!  What a hypocrite you are, Jen." And then I leave the mirror and go about my day.

Sometimes I see pictures of myself and think "Oh, so that's what I look like now."  Other times I grimace at the double chin and toothy smile.  If I'm really really honest though, a lot of the time I just don't care.  I'm me and this is the body I have.  I dont' need to look at it every day, I know it too well.  When shopping I buy things I know look alright with everything else I own, hence I don't really have 'outfits', just clothes.  Makeup? What's that?  Hair styling?  Can't be bothered.  I realized a little while ago on my feminist and fat acceptance journey that I'm not here to be anyone's ornament, I exist with almost complete disregard for the Male Gaze.  If I want to dress up a bit for a date or a birthday or wedding, it's because I want too to make whoever I'm with feel special and yes, because it's an expected societal norm.  If/when I get a job someday, I'm sure I'll put on a little something, just to be 'professional' (though I shouldn't HAVE too, mind you).  Maybe it's lazy, maybe it's a hold over from my tomboy days as a preteen and teen, but there it is. 

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