When I wrote my letter, I SO wasn’t expecting the response that it received. For 3 days straight, it was everywhere I looked. Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. It was shared so many times that I lost count. It became so much more than it was ever intended to be, as my words had become the voice of many. Truth be told, I had just written it because I was mad. I wasn’t hurt and I wasn’t sad, I was just a “fat girl” who was done.
I received more responses and private messages that I ever even dreamed possible and I thank-you for all of them. Many of them were sent with love and encouragement, and some challenged me and I first want to respond to those ones.
Number One. I’m Fat, and I totally own that. By calling myself that name, I’m in no way demeaning myself, I’m calling it like it is. I’m also a brunette with size 11 feet. Those are facts. “Fat” is just a word. Calling someone fat and lazy, or unloveable because they’re fat, or walking by while making cow noises is a whole different ballgame. There is a HUGE difference.
Number Two. Yes, I’m on a diet and trying to lose weight. Well, I’m actually not even on a diet, I’m on a journey that involves me taking better care of myself. If I lose weight, awesome. If I don’t, I’m in an amazing place and I’m happy. Me trying to lose weight, in no way, means that I hate myself or am unsatisfied in my life. My letter and my personal journey in no way contradict each other.
Number Three. Yes, name calling hurts. BUT I have MADE THE CHOICE to not let it hurt me. I’m choosing to believe that my outward appearance isn’t who I am. You can also make the same choices that I have. If we give people the power to tear us down, they will. Keep that power for yourself and kick the haters to the curb. Period.
Many of the other comments absolutely broke my heart, as the majority of the people that sent them weren’t ‘feeling” the same confidence and peace that I do. They’re feeling defeat and like they’re “less than” because someone told them so. Strangers and even “friends” are constantly beating each other down with their words. It’s so stinking sad.
I also received messages or saw comments saying “she landed a hot husband”, and “she scored with him”, or other things along that same line. Problem is, that judgement of how great my husband is was based on nothing more than his appearance. He is a wonderful man, and indeed I’m blessed to have him in my life, but you can’t tell that by looking at him. People were doing the exact thing that I was standing up against. I totally recognize that it wasn’t done maliciously and that people were saying it as a compliment to me, but it was still an appearance based judgement none-the-less.
Calling someone fat is one of the few “socially acceptable” slurs still floating around. Think about it. How often do you hear fat jokes and laugh? How often are you out with friends and an overweight person walks by and someone makes an ignorant comment? How often do you, yourself say “look how fat she is”? We’ve all done it at one point or another and it needs to stop.
Reality is, this isn’t just about fat people, it’s about people in general. We REALLY need to stop judging each other based on physical features alone. Why does it matter what people look like? And why does that determine whether or not we should tease or make fun them? Why can’t you see a person, and just think of them as a person, and nothing more? Why do I need to be “Fat April” as opposed to just April? If you spend time getting to know me and THEN decide that you don’t like me, thank-you. That’s exactly how it should be.
In all honesty, watching people around us quite often inspires us to become better ourselves. Seeing someone that’s overweight and thinking that I don’t want to be that, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Seeing a homeless person living on the streets and not wanting that life, may drive home why we want to work harder to avoid that. Seeing someone with tattoos all across their face or a million piercings may just verify why we choose to do or not do that. Noticing people and how they present themselves in itself isn’t a bad thing. Calling them out on it because it doesn’t align with your idea of perfect, IS.
I think it’s totally unreasonable to expect people to stop making judgements and to start only seeing people for what they are and not what they look like. In a perfect world, that would happen, but we’re not in that place. We are a society that is totally “looks” based and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’d love for us all to make a personal effort to try to not pre-judge people and hopefully, one day we’ll see a huge difference in our world. But in the meantime, I challenge you all to just be kinder to your fellow-man.
Make your judgements, but shut your yap. If you don’t find someone attractive, okay, don’t date them. If overweight people just aren’t your “thing”, that’s fine, choose differently. If you think super skinny people aren’t good looking, that’s your prerogative. If you don’t want to cover your body in tattoos, more power to you. This world is a huge place, we are always going to find someone who we’re attracted to or we have something in common with. If we stopped pre-judging, we might just make some awesome new friends. People that might really affect our lives, challenge our thinking or bring us unspeakable joy.
So the next time you see someone who doesn’t fit your picture of what the “ideal” person should look like, just smile and go on your way. I’m not asking you to stop and ask them out for coffee, I’m asking you to treat them like human beings. We all don’t need to like each other or become friends, but we don’t need to be hurtful. Be respectful. Be gracious. And for pete’s sake, really truly treat people how you want to be treated.
Frankly, our relationships shouldn’t all be based on whether or not we would think that person would look good naked or whether or not you’d “tap that”. If you’re not attracted to me, I’m totally okay with that. But don’t for one second think that because you “think” you look better than me that I’m thinking you’re “God’s gift”. I’ll be waiting for you to open your mouth and actually speak to me. Your words will help me determine your value, and if you choose to call me a Fat Cow, feel free to consider yourself “judged”.