Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker
Jes Baker aka The Militant Baker
I am not "fat", I am not "skinny". I don't struggle to buy clothes, stores carrying my size, I am not judge by the general public for how I look. But I didn't know this until this year. I have always thought I was a fat horrible blob. There's reasons for that, I grew up with constant judgement, always a part of my mothers "diets" never being good enough to just be, I was my mothers "fat". Her self image became mine. She has no understanding of how wrong it is to compare someone in their wedding dress to someone size 0. I just know that it felt wrong to be compared, when there is nothing wrong with my beautiful size 8 and nothing wrong her with beautiful size 0. We're different people, with different bodies. That, however, doesn't matter. Older family members love to compare me to how I use to be; Old Angela was skinny, old Angela was what they perceived as "the ideal body" and they forget that old Angela also spent a lot of her time puking her guts up and not eating for days. But when I was that old Angela I was still "fat".
Body dismorphia is real and it rages in my head almost everyday. I forget that this Angela is strong, this Angela is capable of doing so many amazing things, I forget to enjoy the miracle of my body because of other people's voices. And this book by Jes Baker gives me the courage to discuss that. This book makes me wish I could purchase a copy of it for all my sisters and friends. This book starts with
"If you are a person who has spent your entire life feeling horrible about your body and you think that self-hatred kinda sucks, this book is for you."
I am tired of being surrounded by hatred. This year I promised myself to be a kinder person. I don't believe one can be kind to others, if they are not kind to themselves. I grew up with a deep sense of self-hate. I don't understand why parents think it's okay to boil girls down to an image and nothing else. Why would you take your precious joyous child and tell them they are worth nothing, if they don't behave or look a certain way. Self-hatred is taught
"As little kids, we thought our bodies were fucking fabulous...
We were in awe of the things our bodies could do. There was a discovery period in which there was nothing more amazing than this body we inhabited, and we were unashamed. We poked our skin, sucked on our toes, and showed our bellies unabashedly; we thought our bodies were hot shit."
Don't you wish you could go back to a time where you just were? You weren't aware of all these rules and regulations. Life was simple; sleep, eat, play.
The thing is, it's all a lie. Losing weight will not make me happier. 5, 10, 15 pounds is not going to suddenly give me everything I have ever desired. It doesn't work like that.
"Happiness is not a size"
My mindset will however make a difference. Jess Baker's chapter on mental health works out a plan on how to deal with days where you don't love yourself. Not only that she has steps on how to learn how to love yourself but she shares her own battles and tells you it's okay to not be okay. One of her steps is something I have been doing for years, self-portraits. The point of self-love is to find those things that make you happy. If it doesn't, toss it, and move on. If it does make you happy, go for it. Her happy thing was lipstick, mine is my hair. Ash Hardell; Why I don't shave my legs, is a great example of toss what doesn't work and DO YOU. If you are struggling, try her challenges, this is one of them:
The Post-it Challenge
Step 1: Think of something you love about your body Step 2: Next, think of an affirmation Step 3: Write down your affirmation and that thing you love about your body Step 4: Every time you have a negative thought, read your post-it OUT LOUD
My question is, why do you have to change what you look like to be happy? Why does society think it's okay to put pressures on people to look like 5% of the population and not represent the rest. This book made me happy and it's a great book to have in my arsenal. Self-love is so important.
Other notes on the book:
- She shared a different view on history, how we came to diet culture and "Skinny is the New Healthy". I knew that society went from "plump" being seen as wealth and then switching to skinny as food became more rapidly avoidable, but I didn't know details. I love learning history in different ways and she shared it in an easy way to read.
- She also clarified thoughts I had been having about products I had purchased from BeachBody to Healthy is the New Skinny. It was nice to identify why those things were bothering me. How those companies make promises and promote ideals which really just promote a lifestyle that is not accessible to everyone due to income, health, sex, race. They don't teach you to love who you are and it's just putting money into their pockets.
- She discusses men's body image, people of color, and disabilities, and their lack of visibility. Those are topics that are generally not covered in most books and they are an important part of the conversation. They are definitely something I wanted more of.
- Leading me to talk about support, she doesn't cover how to support others enough in my opinion. But she has so much to cover it's not a big surprise something was only minimally covered. Google is the best and otherwise just straight up ask! If you want to be a better support, ASKING is a good place to start.