326 Pounds, Or If You Will… My Weight.

Last week my colleagues and I decided to play a game with our students in order to get to know them better and so that they could know more about us. The game was called “The Great Wind Blows.” The basic premise was that someone would say the great wind blows and then add a description. For example, the great wind blows for people who love dogs. Then those who agreed would step over an invisible line and make themselves visible for the group to see that they identified with said statement. The game was amazing for the first 10 minutes and I learned a ton about each student. As we were wrapping up the last person to speak made this statement. “The great wind blows if you are fat.” I was the only person to step out in front and identify with the description. You all know me by now so imagine my surprise when I was the only person to step out. For the safety of others I’ll just say that we all have a right to identify as we choose. I chose to identify with the description of fat. I then gave a hearty disclaimer saying that yes I was PHAT (pretty, hot, and, tempting). Still, I couldn’t help but wonder why there was a wave of shame that followed my choice to step over the line and stand alone.

wind

Later I realized that the shame was not in the idea that I am fat, but that society deems it a bad word/description. In that moment I owned my fatness and felt proud to be me. For me, being plus size, or if you will fat has been challenging to navigate. In prior years I tried so many get thin quick strategies because I thought being big was bad. Now interestingly enough it feels challenging to assert my right, to both love who I am and to want to live healthfully. It’s almost as if 2+2 can’t equal 4. I also want to acknowledge that this is a topic that deserves more attention than five-hundred words in a blog could address,but since the goal is to release the shame, I’d like to give light to women of size whose acceptance of themselves and their bodies have caught my eye! First, Tess Munster (http://bit.ly/1Eowr0S). A Southern gal like me, who was determined to appreciate herself despite the naysayers. In the words of Chris Brown, “Look at her now!” Next Gabi (http://gabifresh.com/). Her fashion blog and business ideas have not only given her success, they pull others up along the way. Actually, both women’s radical demonstration of self- love has helped so many others. Including me.

tess
The thing is at least for me, in humanity we exist flaws and all. I am so grateful to those of us who choose to take traits that society may deem unlovable or “bad,” and make those traits priceless. We are all valuable and how we choose to see ourselves, accept ourselves, and love ourselves could literally effect the choices that others make. As my saying goes: “Your shit is fertilizer for someone else’s garden.” Thanks for stopping by and let’s talk again soon.
gabifresh
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Hollywood Anderson, Shame, and Liberation

Hey all! All feelings new year to you an I feel very excited to share this first blog of 2015. Usually when I don’t write on this blog space it is because I don’t have anything to say. Interestingly enough, this time I haven’t been writing because I have so much to say. I asked myself: “What do I want to share for the new year?” The answer has finally revealed itself and I am so anxious and curious to see what comes of it. I want to share about shame. We’ve all felt it. Personally speaking when I have felt shameful in past experiences I tried to hide it. I wanted to keep the shame neatly tucked away so that I would be loved by others. Recently I have been seeing that choosing to hide shame is not a powerful choice.

The truth is that by choosing to share the habits, choices, and experiences that make me feel the most shameful I allow myself to be connected with others. So where is this all stemming from you ask? Here is my inspiration. Four days ago while sitting in Union Square Whole Foods in NYC I leisurely scrolled through Facebook posts. Then I saw this: (http://lovemeso.me/homeless-subway-singers-american-idol-audition-is-almost-too-good-to-process/) http://bit.ly/1E8xEGI. His name is Hollywood Anderson. I remember seeing him often late nights at Lower East Side subway stations in New York City. He would sing his heart out and I would always think to myself that he would be on his way to bigger things. Just like that, his life changed. I would like to hope that it is because he allowed his talent to outshine the darkness of the shame of being homeless.

hollywood

The thing is at least for me, shame permits power when it is shared. Seeing this person Hollywood Anderson become a national inspiration through the American Idol platform was life affirming. It reminded me that no matter what I have done and no matter where I have been in my life I can always transform. Shame is not the end. I look forward to being more personal with my shameful experiences as the weeks progress and I would love to hear you all’s response to these experiences as I post them. Wishing everyone liberation from their shame in the New Year and beyond. Thanks for stopping by and let’s talk again soon.

shameless