Self-perception, how it changes!

Last weekend, I found on an old videotape an episode of La Course destination monde in which I appeared. That TV show was a budding filmmakers series in which a group of twentysomethings were sent around the world separately to make short documentary films, which were then rated. There were several money prizes for the best films and filmmakers, etc. Basically, it was a smart cross between reality TV and a game show, minus the bickering. Anyways, in early 1993, one of the shows were taped with a studio audience jury (usually, there were only 2 pro juries who got to rate and crititicize the films).

In the extract below, you can see me at age 17 (nevermind the bright red shirt, I dunno what the hell I was thinking — the show’s director must have been pissed off at me). Well, back then I thought I was so fat and ugly, and of course I believed that no guy would ever be interested in me… that kind of not-so-positive thinking. In reality, I didn’t look that bad, and my hair was kinda cute. The clothes were meh, but that was in 93, so many people can say the same thing themselves. As for weight, well, I was just barely chubby at the time (not that there’s anything wrong with being fat, but that’s not how I saw it back then).

Of course, self-confidence plays a huge role in how others react to us. Even though I’m fatter now than I was as a teen, I rarely ever encounter name-calling and teasing like I did in high school, not even from teenagers. To stop internalizing the fat=ugly and thin=pretty equations is also quite liberating. Like everyone I do have days where I look at myself in the mirror and it hits me like a brick wall; fortunately, the bad body days are few and between and they never last long (no more than a day, two at the very most).

Self-acceptance and HAES

I realize that I was familiar with the idea of health at every size (or HAES) long before I encountered the term for the first time on the fatosphere.

In fact, my first exposure to that principle came from my first boyfriend of sorts. I was 18 at the time, and was still very uncomfortable with being fat (even though I was a bit smaller than I am now). I still lacked the self-confidence that I was to gain later.

One day, I was whining to Ricky about my weight (he himself is a tall, skinny man), and he replied, “What would you rather be: fat and in shape or skinny and out of shape?”. I know that most people would have answered “skinny and out of shape” without hesitation, but as an active tomboy, that answer made me shut up.

Looking back, this conversation was a turning point in my life, the defining moment where I began that long journey towards self-acceptance (this was back in 1993, so the Internet wasn’t widely available yet). My relationship with Ricky might have never bloomed the way it should have (for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with me or my body), but his role in my personal history is still highly important, as he made me realize that I could be loved as I am, and that it is okay to be fat. His Spock-like logic might have driven me mad sometimes (he’s a true Virgo!) but that day, it made lots of sense.

How about you? Do you have a self-acceptance defining moment?

Locker room thoughts

As I’ve written before, I take aquagym classes at the local high school’s pool. Lately, I’ve been arriving at the pool around 7:30pm, which is when the (free) free swim period starts. From 7:30 to 8:30, it’s mostly kids and teens who are at the pool, and from 8:30 to 9:30 (at the same time as my class), the free swim is reserved to adults only.

When I come to the pool, I have no qualm to change into my bathing suit right there. No hiding in a cabin or the washroom, no putting on the suit before leaving home. I just undress and put on my suit. I lost my self-consciousness about undressing in a locker room back in high school when I was taking ice hockey classes and really had no time to go hide and change.

However, not every woman in the locker room is as comfy about changing, even though no one really gives a damn. That’s why I make it a point after every class to remove my suit and hop in the open showers to rinse off the chlorine from my skin and hair and suit. I’ve once seen another fat woman remove her suit after a moment of hesitation, probably after she saw that I could safely get naked without negative outcome (often all we need is an ice breaker to lead the way).

Now, since I’ve been coming before class to just swim around and goof off with my friend, I happen to be in the locker room at the same time as girls. Guess what? No way in hell am I going to hide away and change just because some kids are there too. One girl on Tuesday (about 10 or 11 years old) giggled nervously when she saw me naked, but her friend apologized to me for her. I figured that her giggling had to do with my breasts… Where do kids see naked bodies mostly? On the Web… so we’re talking mostly airbrushed and Barbie-cized bodies. So it’s not a bad thing that she gets to see my real body. After all, when she hits puberty, chances are she will feel awkward with her body, like most teens do.

Incidentally, when I’m at the pool with a whole bunch of kids around, I’ve yet to feel their stare on me. In the water, I’m just another person there, and that’s that. 🙂

How I came upon FA

I just realized that people who don’t know me (ie. pretty much everyone who reads this) will think that I’m a relative newcomer to the FA movement. In reality, I’ve been part of it, on and off, for the past decade.

Obviously, like most people, I didn’t magically enter the world of FA. But to be frank, I can’t quite remember how I first stumbled upon it either (heh, that was nearly 10 years ago, after all, might as well say a century ago).

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Happy International No-Diet Day!

Today is International No-Diet Day, the one day where we encourage EVERYONE, regardless of size, to be good to their body by loving it as it is instead of hating it and always wanting to beat it into submission through dieting and extreme exercise. There’s a pledge over at Largesse that I encourage you to take.

I’m not going to pledge myself — not because I disagree with it, but because I realized that I live this pledge every day, that every day IS no-diet day to me. Like everyone, I may have an occasional moment of blaaaaah about myself, but these are rare and never last long. I live my life the same way I would if I were thinner…