“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I've always heard it said that people are fat because there is some sort of payoff in being fat. Most times it's attributed to some sort of protection - like somehow the extra layer of adipose tissue can protect the person from suffering emotional pain. I have no doubt this has been the case for me for many years. And although I have accepted this concept at face value (fat = protection), I never really knew what it was I was "protecting" myself from. I think I now have a better idea....
I like to be noticed. I like to feel attractive. I mean, who doesn't? And although most days I do not feel this way, I am aware that sometimes others find me to be so. And on the days that I would agree with them? Then all the better. I should be able to feel attractive without feeling like I need to apologize for it.
(maybe even fabulous.... every once in awhile.... on a good hair day and with the right pair of shoes...)
But, I also want people to like me for me. The “me” that has nothing to do with how I look. The “me” that writes this blog. The “me” that has crazy dreams (literally and figuratively). The “me” who just wants to be seen.
In my friendships, I tend to gravitate towards men. Not because of any need to have them fulfill some typically "male" role in my life, I just find that my sense of humor often times meshes better with men. I was a tomboy as a child. At heart, I guess I still am. I am just a tomboy who appreciates a cute pair of heels with my jeans.
Regardless, many of my friendships over the years have been with men. I have a few good girlfriends, but I find that many women seem to keep me at arms length until they can figure what to make of me. Am I out to steal their man? Do I think I am better than them? Am I? Women are too complicated. Men are simple.
However, there have been times in my life when these simple men make things difficult. Friends whom I may adore, start to “adore” me for the wrong reasons. And most times I am completely blind to this. Until it blindsides me and someone ends up hurt. Then the friendship falls apart. Maybe I missed the signs. Maybe their intentions were not the same as mine to begin with. But I am not callus enough to constantly question human motivation.
Being fat? Actually eliminates some of these problems. I mean, I can still pursue friendships with men. It’s just that those who choose to befriend me are more likely to be doing so for who I am. Maybe it’s because I can (and will) eat a whole cheese steak in one sitting instead of picking at a salad. Maybe it’s because not only do I like to watch football, but I yell at the TV and curse like a trucker. Or maybe it’s because I can stay up all night playing poker. Whatever it is? It’s not likely to be all about what I look like.
Being fat? Also makes my friendships with women easier. Women are FAR less put off by me the heavier I am. Suddenly I very easily fill the unassuming role of the “charming fat friend”. All of a sudden, they can see my personality. And let me tell you what - that personality? It radiates. But it radiated equally well when I was thin. They just didn’t see it.
(Maybe no one ever sees it.....)
Maybe that is why I tend to gravitate back to being fat time and again. Maybe I am protecting “me” from me. Maybe I am trying to protect myself from being hurt, misunderstood, or alienated. Maybe I am less vulnerable when I am fat.
But the irony is? I am so much more personally isolated the more I weigh. I don’t feel safe and/or loved for who I am. I feel less capable of loving myself. Because I know instead of holding myself up to the level of treatment I should expect for myself, I stuffed my fears and pain right back down with food.
I think I am powerful beyond all measure. I don’t think I should have to shrink (or, in this case, grow) so that others around me will feel more comfortable. I want to be comfortable with who I am - inside and out - without it changing how I have to interact with others.
Maybe they need to look inside and recognize their own power and light.
Or maybe they just need to go eat until they feel better about. Because I don’t want to anymore.