Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Lady Blanchester: "What was your most memorable personal growth moment and why was it important to you?"

[Content Note: Fat hatred.] The first one that comes to mind is: About 15 years ago, I was sitting on the beach at Lake Michigan with a thin woman I didn't know very well. I was feeling particularly self-conscious, and I was indescribably hot, being a fat woman at the beach on a blazing summer day wearing too many clothes so as not to offend with my fat body.

I made a shitty, judgmental comment about a couple of fat women in the distance who were wearing bikinis. I didn't even believe what I was saying: I was envious of them. But I had learned that the only way to make myself acceptable to most thin women was to express hatred at fat women even more explicitly than they did. It was a survival mechanism, but a goddamn nasty one.

Instead of the congratulatory laughter I'd usually (always) have gotten, my companion just shrugged and said, "I think anyone should wear whatever they want to wear." She didn't even say it in a way that judged me for being a jerk. She just said it so matter-of-factly.

I was deeply embarrassed, but I was also profoundly moved by her decency. And I realized that I agreed. I, too, thought that anyone should wear whatever they want to wear. But I'd never had the luxury of expressing it, without implicitly defending myself.

I still don't, really. But in that moment, I decided I never again wanted to be a person who chose judgment, and participation in my own oppression out of fear, over acceptance and courage.

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