On Acceptance

Fat acceptance is about accepting my body, even though it’s fat.  It doesn’t mean that everyone else is automatically OK with my body.

me, stretching

I know a lot of people don’t accept my fat. Some of them are quite comfortable telling me that it’s not OK for me to be fat.   Sometimes that bothers me.  But more often it doesn’t.

See, I learned something about myself when I majored in computer science in college.

  • I had women outside my major telling it was a mistake, because computers are “icky” and “a guy thing”.
  • I had people at church telling me that it was a mistake, because “that’s a demanding career and when you get married your husband is going to want you to focus on him”.
  • I was urged to get a degree in early childhood education and work with children as preparation for marriage.

I wasn’t married at the time, mind; I wasn’t even dating.  But I was being told to abandon a field I found fascinating and fun to pursue a field I was already tired of, and, oh yes, urged to ensure I would make a lot less money. Why?

So I would do what was expected of me as a woman.
So I would be feminine.

This stressed me out at the time.  I wasn’t happy about it.  But part of what gave me the strength to be a “bad”, “unfeminine” woman was that I already was one.  I was fat. I had broad shoulders and at 5’8″ I hulked over a lot of guys.   I already wasn’t going to fit into the usual feminine mold.   So why shouldn’t I pursue a field I thought was fun and exciting?

Because I was fat, I learned I could survive being different.
Because I was fat, I put less value on being “normal”.
Because I was fat, I became less afraid.

I was also lucky that it was the late 1980s; legally I had doors open to me that might have been closed before.  I did find friends.  My parents did let me live at home and helped me to borrow money for tuition.  I was lucky to get a job right out of school, to do well, and to make friends there.  My career opened more doors to me: within 5 years I was making more than my parents combined.

I also met my first lovers through my work.  Some relationships were what people consider “normal”, some weren’t, but again, I learned from them.   And, again, I didn’t feel I had to constrain myself to fit into the mold marked “normal”, much less “feminine”.

Accepting myself taught me to look beyond what was expected of me as a woman and find what I wanted.  Accepting myself let me get on with my life — and to live my life.

Yes, I would like for the broader culture to be more accepting of fat people — for one thing, it would reduce the negative affects of weight bias and weight-related stress.  But that pales, to me, beside fat people accepting themselves.



, , ,




29 responses to “On Acceptance”

  1. TooManyJessicas Avatar

    This is such a great post; thank-you for sharing it. :)

  2. Mina Avatar

    I don’t think anyone has ever looked at me as normal. I’ve always been nerdy, queer, eccentric and just plain different.

    But I’ve always tried to BE more normal. But, if I’m never going to not be geeky, queer, and different, why should I worry so much about what people think about my weight?

    You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      I’m nerdy, but I can pass as “normal”.

      But I was a size 24 in college. I couldn’t pass as size 12 or 14.

  3. wriggles Avatar

    Because I was fat……


    What has been so strange for me is that this is how I used to feel, to an extent, even though I was trying to lose weight.

    What’s taken longer, is for the source of that acceptance of difference to come from a place of self acceptance, rather than the experience of being different.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      Yes. Being different and self-hating is light-years from being different and self-accepting.

  4. Patsy Nevins Avatar
    Patsy Nevins

    I have probably had longer to work on this than many people around the web, I am sure, both because I am past 60 years old & also because I was born with cerebral palsy, so I have always been ‘different’ & have never, partly because of my own being & partly because of growing up in a poor, abusive alcoholic family, really had a concept of what ‘normal’ is supposed to be. I did spend a large part of my life fighting to ‘overcome my limitations’ & trying to be more like others, but the only person I can be is myself, & that is finally okay with me. I LIKE being different, I like being a ‘weirdo/nerd/freak’, if that indeed is what I am, & I especially like the idea that each one of us is a unique individual. I certainly wish that , when the world at large yaps about ‘celebrating diversity’, they would broaden the definition to include ALL of us, including the fat, the old, the disabled, etc.

  5. […] Link: On Acceptance by living400lbs By Whaliam Here’s a great post by living400lbs on how being fat aided her in her career choice (itself an expression […]

  6. crookedfinger Avatar

    Woo! Love this!

    I can so relate. I’ve come to the point where I’m actually happy that I’m fat for the same reasons you mentioned. Life improved so much when I stopped thinking I had to be like everybody else.

  7. William Avatar

    Accepting yourself for me means freedom from all the inhibitions and worries that appear if you let fear control your life.

    I can kind of understand this back when I was a teenager, but a grown man should not have to worry about what shirt that he wears for fear that it exposes his chest or love handles.


  8. shyvixen Avatar

    Excellent post and so very true! Being fat has allowed me to pursue a life I might not have had a been thin. When you’re already not part of the mainstream it’s easier to take risks sometimes. I’m very happy with the life I have now.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      When you’re already not part of the mainstream it’s easier to take risks sometimes.


  9. Sarah J. Avatar
    Sarah J.

    Thank you for this post. I am at a time in my life where I’m struggling, and your words have been very helpful to me.

  10. spoonfork38 Avatar

    Because I was fat, I learned I could survive being different.
    Because I was fat, I put less value on being “normal”.
    Because I was fat, I became less afraid.

    This. This. THIS.

  11. Healthy Amelia Avatar

    What a shift in perspective. I often think about what things I might be missing because I’m fat (even now, after all this work towards self-acceptance). This really makes me turn that on its head and think about all the experience of moving through life as a fat person has given me. It has given me a sensitivity and empathy towards others who live with many kinds of differences and generally helped me to see past the cultural bias that pervades our society against people who are different. All of my struggles with my weight have informed who I am today so I wouldn’t change any of that experience now. I’m just glad that I’ve reached a point where I’ve let go of the struggle and can enjoy living.

    1. living400lbs Avatar

      We are all of our experiences. I’m fortunate in that even my bad experiences are probably worth keeping.

  12. deathfat Avatar

    Delurking to tell you I love your blog. I was a smaller fat until I had my kids and now I am a size 26. Getting fatter actually helped me find my voice and come to terms with myself. I fell better now than I did when I was a 20 or 22. Did I mention I love your blog? :)

  13. geekgirlsrule Avatar

    What did Janis Joplin sing? Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose? Trite, I know. But true. When you already know you don’t meet one set of their expectations, it’s easier to start tossing the others out the window as well. Because it’s not like they’re suddenly going to accept you if you don’t.

    Thank you for this post.

  14. Avery Ray Colter Avatar

    Yes, really, why not revolt if you’re going to be treated as if you have anyway?

  15. […] I think about what fat acceptance has given me.  So today I’m thinking about what “taxes” I don’t have to pay because of […]

  16. […] Is a choice. Standing up for yourself is a choice.  Going swimming for fun is a choice. Getting on with your life, without weight loss, can be a choice. Enhancing your own health, without making weight loss the measure, can be a choice […]

  17. […] was being studied.  I knew I wouldn’t look like the stereotypical Seattle programmer , but I majored in computer science anyway.  I’m  likely to be paid less than others in my field, but at least it’s a field with […]

  18. […] good public education, but not everyone does. I lived at home, worked part-time, got loans, and completed a computer science degree before starting full-time […]

  19. […] time and energy for LIFE, such as school and work.  (In our current culture, it can also mean accepting difference.)  But it’s worth thinking about: What could be accomplished if we weren’t wasting so […]

  20. […] lived in or near Seattle, Washington for all my life.  I studied computer science in college and work in software.  I’m white, married, bisexual, middle aged, wear glasses, sleep with a bite guard and CPAP, […]

  21. […] I accepted that I would probably stay fat, I became less afraid of being the odd one one in other ways, which helped me deal with criticism for….  I’ve been able to work on cool software and, incidentally, make a good living because I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: