Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bravery, courage, fear, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest
Last week, I had two social events scheduled that I couldn’t get out of because both were work related. I have always had social anxiety, and social events (like parties and gatherings) scare the shit out of me.
I was really proud of myself though because I knew I was afraid and I did it anyway. In the past, I have made many excuses to my co-workers as to why I didn’t or couldn’t show up to their events. This time was different.
I took stock of the situation. I thought about how in the last two years I lost my marriage and almost my life in a hospital. I got through that. And as I told my ex (who I am still living with), “They already know me. They know I am fat. They seem to love me and they don’t think that what I look like is not a reason to love me. They seem to like who I am.” She said “Yes, that’s right. And eventually you will realize that this applies to EVERYONE ELSE as well.” That made me laugh, because she is of course right. But I have such a negative self-talk going on in my head that it makes it hard to hear anyone else.
It is me who thinks I am some sort of fat bumbling idiot. The fat part is correct, but the truth is that being fat is not a bad thing about me nor does it make me a bad person. In my estimation, it makes me someone who has cleverly figured out that I feel safer in a fat body because three people used my body against my will when I was a child. Likewise, surviving the abuse didn’t make me a bad person either, nor does it mean I have anything to be ashamed of. I didn’t do anything wrong by being a victim of child sexual abuse, and I also didn’t do anything wrong by putting extra weight onto my body in a bid for self-protection. If people judge me for being fat, it is like judging water for turning into ice when it gets cold. I am not a bad person for being fat or for being a survivor. I am a good person who survived something terrible and also carries extra weight on her body.
I have been reading this blog called “Dances with Fat“, and it’s about this professional athlete who is fat. She is a trained dancer, as well as a fat activist. I really like what she has to say. She feels that people have the right to take up as much space as they need to take up in the world. Literally, my body takes up a lot more space than my thinner counterparts, and I am learning through Ragen’s activism that being fat is okay and being thin is okay, and everything in between is also okay.
Anyway, so back to my bravery. Courage comes when you do things that scare you. Thus, courage is not the absence of fear. I mean, it’s not brave of someone to do something if it doesn’t scare them in the first place. Since almost all of life scares the shit out of me, I am already brave. But as my long-time readers know, this is my year of empowerment. This is my year to find my inner butterfly, and to empower myself to become the kind of butterfly I really want to be. I am trying to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
So I drove myself somewhere hard, twice, and I patted myself on the back when I got there, twice. I went into a social gathering, twice, and I am just so fucking proud of myself. For the second social gathering, I had to park in a parking lot by an apartment building, and as my longtime readers know – parking lots are enough to stop me cold in my tracks. So I did these really hard things, and they both made my stomach hurt pretty badly, but I did it anyway. Whenever I scared myself silly with negative self-talk, I made myself feel better with positive self-talk. When I told myself “They will all figure out I am a fat bumbling idiot”, I stopped that thought and replaced it with “These people already love me. And I know you can do this. You’ve done way tougher things than this.”
May we all have such courageous weeks, and may the next generation never have to exhibit such courage for such terrible reasons.
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