I’ve been thinking about my body in new ways lately. Mostly negotiating identities, trying to figure out whether I “fit” the identities I use, and whether I can/should choose the identities I present. I’ve especially been struggling with “fat” as an identity.
The truth of the matter? I don’t want to be fat. I want to be muscular and curvaceous and strong. I want to reach a certain number on the scale or clothing label. I want to lose the weight I’ve gained in the last 4 years. I want to be proud of my body again; in high school, I thought I was fat (wasn’t!!) but I was proud of my body, its strength, its achievements, its abilities. I could dance or run a basketball court for hours; I could bend and stretch in any position I wanted.
Now? I’m carrying all this extra weight, which wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could still do all those things or if I still had strength and muscle.
On another site, I participate in a community based around fat fashion. The people there are beautiful and inspiring and all-around amazing. I joined it hoping I would begin to find more acceptance of my body in the state it’s in right this moment.
What I found was a better sense of style, which certainly helps me head out of the house with my head held higher, and more pep in my step.
But when I’m trucking up the hill to my new apartment? When I’m running bases at softball? When I’m home and the clothes are off and the lights are on and my body is just THERE? Not good. I can only hide my body’s reality behind clothing so many hours of the day.
So do I *want* to identify as fat, or as part of groups that have that as a shared identity? *Can* I take on that identity, when I am so unhappy with my current state? Will taking on that identity reclaim my body or mould it into the body I want? Will that identity help or hinder my goals to reform my fitness and health?
I don’t know the answer. That’s a lie. The answer is NO, I don’t want that identity. NO, I don’t think I can take on that identity without trivializing the hard work of others who have reclaimed it as a positive identity when for me, at the root, it would still be negative. I want to continue forging relationships with fabulous fat men and women, because I know that my issues with accepting my body will not go away instantly, regardless of my size, weight or fitness.
When I was 18, I thought I was fat, but I didn’t hate my body. That, more than anything, is what I want back – the ability to like, and even LOVE, my body.
Filed under: body, fitness, health | 1 Comment