This weekend I wore a sleeveless shirt in public for maybe the third time as an adult (other than the beach or pool). I even *gasp* wore it with shorts. I even *double gasp* went out without brushing my hair. Despite the white-knuckled defiance and the evidence that no one noticed or cared what I, a total stranger, was wearing, the “Acceptable Fat” persona was still shrinking into a little terrified ball in my guts.
“Acceptable Fat” is that little part of me that believes every passing human being is just waiting for a chance to humiliate me and stomp on any show of non-conformity or self-confidence. It’s that part of myself that spends every public moment watching how I walk, gesture, dance, talk and dress so as to not draw attentionto my different-ness. If I don’t stand out, I’m less likely to be targeted by the same kind of person who goes out of their way to leave nasty messages on a total strangers' blog. But if someone hates me for being fat, they’re going to hate me whether I’m in sweat pants or a tailored skirt, whether I’m eating ice cream or a salad or nothing at all. That phobia has officially claimed enough of my life, so I have made a goal for this summer. If I can’t get rid of Acceptable Fat, I can at least bring it to heel.
So this summer, I vow to bring about the end of Acceptable Fat in my life. I will wear a sleeveless shirt in public. I will mow my lawn in same sleeveless shirt and anyone who doesn’t like it can mow the damn thing for me or STFU. I will go walking in my neighborhood without wondering if anyone’s silently laughing at me behind the windows. I will only care for the opinions of people whose opinions I have reason to respect. I will not fear walking past groups of teenagers. I will go to the beach and only care about how much fun I have. I will go hiking and rest when I need to. When I’m hungry I will eat what my body wants, even if other people can see me. I will wear shorts. I will not assume that person who smiled at me is mocking me. I will smile back. I will wear the low-cut corset to the Ren Faire and flirt shamelessly with the pirates*. I will not allow Acceptable Fat to validate the judgements of others. I will wear high-heeled sandals even if it makes me 6’4”. I will make up that groovy sun dress pattern in flame-print cotton and wear it with said high-heeled sandals. I will only wear clothes that make me feel good. I will run barefoot in the grass and play softball and not waste time brushing my hair and putting on nice clothes just to run to the store. I will focus on the person I am and the people I’m with and not the people passing by. This is my summer.
*Note to JD: I promise not to bring the pirates home.**
**Unless they agree to mow the lawn and/or tile the bathroom floor. Then I promise to feed them and change their litter and keep them from scratching up the furniture.
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