This article recently appeared on ChicagoParent.com where I am a regular contributor.
I got called out for fat shaming . . . . myself
I just returned home from spending four days in Atlanta at the Type A Parent Conference. Filled with bloggers and social media professionals, I was excited for a fun weekend of learning and hanging out with my friends that I hadn’t seen since last years’ conference.
It started during the evening festivities on Thursday. We were ALL joking around and laughing, and the cocktails were flowing. Then it happened. I made a fat joke, with myself at the butt of it. I don’t even remember what I said, but it was something sarcastic and self-deprecating.
Everyone laughed. So did I.
I spent a lot of the next several days referring to myself in the third person as the “Fat Girl” in my running commentary. Things like “Oh, yes, I’ll have another biscuit. Have you seen the size of my ass?? Clearly I don’t shy away from carbs.” “Ooohhh fat girls love butter!” and turning sideways to look at my gigantic stomach, ”Look, the baby is kicking. Not.”
You get the point. There were more. I was the wisecracking, Chicago girl this weekend and the words just kept flying out of my mouth. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to myself in that way. At least, not out loud anyway. It was surprising to me that I spoke that way about myself, but I didn’t think anything of it.
Until my friend, Heather, pulled me aside on Sunday morning. Heather was a part of a large group dinner the night before and my biscuit and butter comments didn’t go unnoticed to her. I popped off on Sunday morning as we were taking our seats for the morning program and she stopped me in my tracks. Heather gently, but firmly, insisted that I stop speaking so poorly of myself. The “fat” comments weren’t funny; they were hurtful. To me! She told me that I was a strong, beautiful and amazing woman and I needed to always remember that. Heather also pointed out that I would never allow my daughters or one of my close friends to speak that way about themselves (which is true). So why was I doing it to myself??
In shock, I just stood there and listened to her words. The tears welled up in my eyes and slowly rolled down my cheeks. She was right. I’ve been on a very public weight loss journey for the last three weeks and one of the promises I made was to not kick the crap out of myself. Clearly, that is exactly what I had been doing. I’m not sure if that was my way of keeping myself “on track” for the weekend or the insecurities about how I felt I look were rearing their ugly head. But I was punishing myself with all of this horrible talk, and it needed to stop.
Ashamed of myself, Heather just hugged me and let me cry. Regardless of my reasons for kicking myself, it needed to stop. I was grateful beyond words that she snapped me out of it. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to really thank her.
What would you have done if you were Heather? Would you have said something to a friend? Have you?