Not bad for a fat girl

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The Best Part of Me

I’m a teacher and I use Pinterest. There, I said it. I feel like maybe there’s a 12 step program somewhere in my future, because there are times when I spend hours on that site, mostly pinning teaching ideas. It’s not that I don’t have any of my own, it’s just that there are so many good ones out there to borrow!

One that I found and liked was a writing activity that asks kids to think deeply about the best “part” of themselves. They literally write about a body part, but I wanted my young writers to go beyond the surface.

To me it’s not enough to say, “I like my eyes. They allow me to see and they’re a pretty color.” Maybe for a young child that would be fine, but these kids are eight to thirteen years old, and so bright. They are capable of so much more.

I asked them to think about why they chose that particular part. What does it do for them? How does it make them feel? Does it affect their relationships with others? Does it matter what others think about it? I wanted them to really reflect.

Then I invited each student over for a photo of their selected part, to go along with the writing. Above are a few of the parts they chose. Their reasons are wonderful.

Have you ever thought about your best part? What is it, and why?




Why Being Fat Sucks

(Originally published July 1, 2013)

Here are a few random and not so random thoughts of why being fat is a sucky thing. A lot of them are totally obvious, but there might be a few on here that you’ve never heard anyone say or maybe you haven’t even thought about them. In no particular order, I give you lots of reasons why being fat sucks.

1. Huffing and puffing with no intent to blow anyone’s house down.

2. The look you get at the doctor’s office when you head for the scale, even if, as in my case, all the staff are amazing and kind. Even if you don’t get the look from them, you imagine it in your head.

3. Getting in and out of your boyfriend’s Mustang is a chore.

4. Overheating and then feeling like a sweaty pig.

5. Having trouble keeping all your nooks and crannies clean and fresh.

6. Actually worrying about whether wall mounted commodes are fastened securely enough.

7. Never being able to use the tray table on the airplane because it forms a downward angle as it rests against your belly.

8. Speaking of airplane, living in fear of the seatbelt extender. I haven’t had to use one yet, but the last flight I took gave me a good scare.

9. Sitting very carefully or choosing to stand if furniture doesn’t seem to be sturdy enough.

10. People stare at you and are mean sometimes. They are.

11. Stuff is too small for you. All kinds of stuff that you might not expect, like boots that don’t fit over your calves or watches that have straps that are too short.

12. Trimming your toenails is like an Olympic event. Even tying shoes can be a real challenge.

13. People who care about you give you all sorts of well meaning advice and even give you newspaper clippings just to remind you about how dangerous and awful it is to be fat.

14. You take medications for things that you wouldn’t need to deal with if you weren’t hauling around all the extra weight.

15. Buying clothes. ‘Nuff said.

16. Not being able to ride all the rides at the carnival or amusement park.

17. Not being able to go horseback riding (but really, did you ever see Bonanza? Hoss was bigger than I am!).

18. Not being able to reach the top of the trail when hiking.

19. Feeling overwhelmed and “less than” when in fact I’m “more than.”

20. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to be kind and good to myself.

Feel free to add your own, after all the more we can keep these in mind, the more likely we’ll be to banish them forever!


Swings (Photo credit: brettchisum)



The Real F Word

Polite people don’t use the “F” word in everyday conversation, at least not usually. Unless, of course, the “F” word happens to be FAT.girl fat

It seems that perfectly ordinary people, who would never point out someone with a physical or developmental disability, feel completely comfortable commenting on how fat other people are. I find this so peculiar. If it’s not polite to say, “Hey, look at that guy, he only has one leg,” or “Check out that woman, she’s using sign language to communicate,” then why would it be okay to say, “Wow, that girl is really fat!”

It’s not just fat people either. Anyone who is “differently sized” is likely to be pointed out. However in our culture thin is seen as desirable, so there’s generally far less venom behind a comment like, “Jeez, she looks like she could blow away in a strong wind.” I’ve actually met women who might take such a comment as an affirmation that they’re doing something right.

The stigma around being fat is so deeply ingrained that fat people shame each other. I’ve done it myself, thinking, “Well, at least I’m not that fat!” But really, who am I to judge?

I try to keep an open mind, and to remember that each of us has our own struggles. What someone is going through on the inside, is impossible to know. It’s also impossible to know where they’ve been. It’s not my business or my right to know each person’s story. Who am I to decide if someone is “okay” being fat while someone else isn’t? I don’t get to decide, and frankly I don’t want to.

Living my own life in a way that is reasonably decent and healthy is enough for me. I have no desire to take on the problems of the world. Let someone else sort out who the “okay” fat people are, because I have no idea what the criteria would be. Response to medication? Imbalanced hormones? Depression? Genetic predisposition? The list goes on.

I don’t care what syndrome or genetic abnormality you might possess. I care what type of person you are. I would hope you feel the same way about me. You should be asking about the “inner” me, not worrying about my body. Isn’t it more important that someone is well meaning? Compassionate? Fun-loving? Loyal? Playful? Creative? Hard-working? All of these traits are worthy of scrutiny. Weight, size, and body fat percentage are not, and should play no role what-so-ever in determining whether we should be friends. Yes, I’m fat. Deal with it.