Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I can do this...

Life is full of moments, and most of those moments pass by and eventually blur into that "nothing special" that is every day.  But now and then we are given the gift of A Moment, and those moments are the ones that we remember and that can influence our lives beyond what we ever expected.  I look back at my Moments, and a large number of them are negative, which is sad in more ways than I can say.  I can see a landscape of time littered with choices that I made that caused me to end up giving up on goals and dreams, and those choices were totally mine, which not only makes me sad but it makes me wince and want to look away.  But really, isn't part of growing as a person making yourself look at those moments and learn from them?  And so I've been working on that with myself over the past couple of years, and recently I had another Moment, but this one was a good one, and one that would have turned out completely different ten years ago.

I've always struggled with what I wanted to be when I grow up.  I could tell you a host of things that I DON'T want to be or be doing, but pinning down that elusive feeling of "Yes!  This is IT!" has never come easily to me.  I thought that I had it a few times, but it turned out that it was still easier for me to make the choices that led to losing those dreams.  I don't blame the dreams themselves, they were good dreams, and if I'd been stronger I believe now that I would have been very successful at any one of them.  But I wasn't emotionally ready for them, and so I chose...poorly, and ended up saying goodbye to things that were important to me.

I know, you're probably saying, "But Lys, what does this have to do with being Fat?  Because isn't this blog about being Fat?  I'm confused!'  Just bear with me, and the connection will happen, I promise.

Unless you've been fat, you don't realize the toll that it takes on you every moment of every day.  You are constantly being told that you are less worthy than other people simply because of how you look.  Your time is less valuable, your skills are worth less, and your abilities are discounted simply because of how you look.  Even if you start out believing in yourself and saying that others are wrong, this kind of  repeated bludgeoning wears at you, pounding against the walls until they start to weaken and crumble, then That Little Voice creeps in through the cracks.  You know the one, That Little Voice that whispers in the back of your mind, "Maybe they're right.  Maybe you shouldn't expect so much of yourself because Fat People just aren't successful.  Look around and tell me how many fat role models there actually are.  None, because Fat People are less worthy, less able, and JUST....CAN'T...SUCCEED!"

Too many of us end up listening to That Little Voice and give up on ourselves.  I was one of them.  I stopped singing because there aren't Fat Singers.  I didn't finish my teaching degree because I didn't want to be at the front of the class while my students mocked me for my weight.  I let my Fear of Fat determine my life's path in so many ways.  But I've finally reached the point where that isn't happening any more.  I had A Moment.  It was a wonderful Moment.  I keep that moment in a velvet-lined box in my mind, and I take it out now and then to cherish it and to remind myself about how much I've changed.

When I got laid off, I had choices.  I could apply for jobs, take the first thing that came along, and just keep puttering through life with the assumption that I am going to end up being one of the Faceless Masses who live through history.  After all, there are more everyday people than there are famous ones, right?  The vast majority of humanity ends up as the Faceless Masses, but they're still mostly happy and live their lives without that being a problem. 

My second choice was to do something that I've wanted to do for a long time and always talked myself out of based on a lack of funds, or that it just wasn't the right time, or who was I kidding because Fat People don't do things like that.

I decided to try the second choice, but judiciously and with planning.  I decided to start my own business making jams and jellies.  I always knew I wanted my own business, but was never sure what it would be, and then I found out that I LOVE making jams and jellies, and watching people's faces when they bite into whatever the fruity goodness was resting upon.  I love that moment when their tastebuds start firing messages to their brains, and their eyes get that glazed, "OhmygodthistastessoGOOD!" look.

I took my idea to the local Small Business Development office and discussed my proposed plan of action with them, and my advisor there agreed with how I wanted to proceed.  She made a point of telling me that she felt strongly that I not only had the skills but the personality to do well at this.  And that was without even tasting anything!  (Later I took samples and the office tried them and unanimously enjoyed every bite!)

I walked out of that office and I had my Moment.  I pushed the door open, stepped out into the parking lot, walked toward my truck, and in my mind That Little Voice became a Big Voice, and it shouted to the world, "I CAN DO THIS!!!"

If you have never had to deal with being your own worst critic, I'm not sure that you can understand just what having that kind of moment, and that Big Voice shouting in your head means.  I lost all doubt, I brushed away any remnants of Fat People Can't Succeed, and for that shining moment I held the world in my hands.  It was wonderful, brilliant, and full of joy!  And it was mine.

 Fat doesn't matter.  Other people's prejudices don't matter.  That Little Voice doesn't matter.  What matters is that we all should have this kind of Moment in our lives.  It shouldn't be reserved for those who are considered more socially acceptable for whatever reason, it is a gift that each and every person should be allowed to experience.  So if you're struggling, and hearing That Little Voice over and over, please look for a way to silence it.  And if you're discouraged because you've been looking and you've been trying, just keep going.  Keep looking, take those chances, tell That Little Voice just where it can go because Fat People CAN succeed!  I know that we can!  And when I'm there, and my company is thriving at just the level where I want it, I would love to look over and see you, Dear Reader, thriving right next to me.  I want you to have that Moment, and many others like it.  Because you deserve the right to earn them, no matter what the fashion magazines, or the obesidemic people say.  YOU deserve the right to earn them, YOU matter.  YOU can do this.



  1. I am so proud of you, and feel very VERY lucky to have you as My Buddy!

  2. Lys, I truly admire you. ~ Laney


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