Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Word On Self Esteem

I have to admit something. I kinda think I'm the shit. Seriously, I do. Oddly enough, thinking I'm the shit has opened up my eyes about how other people are the shit, too, and that is fucking awesome. My the-shit-ness isn't about thinking I'm better than others, it's about thinking I'm awesome in my own right. Period.

This is a picture of me thinking I'm the shit.

As you can see, and as I've mentioned before, I'm fat - I don't say this negatively, I just happen to be, in addition to many other things, fat. I've talked in the past about feeling invisible sometimes due to my size, but really, I'd rather just feel like I'm the shit. Let me tell you something, though - it ain't easy to maintain this attitude.

On a daily basis, I look into the mirror, give myself a knowing wink, and walk out into the world feeling pretty damn good about myself. It's a little game I play - I know that the world in general really thinks that I should either disappear or be a good girl and lose the weight, and yet I stubbornly flaunt my joie de vivre, fat ass and all.

I'll be honest - most of the time, I think the prevailing attitude about fat people is so ridiculously bigoted and uninformed as to be hilarious, and I use it to my advantage. I sneak up on people, and make them love me (or at least like / respect me) in spite of my fatness. My job puts me in front of people on a daily basis, and I can always pick out who will doubt that I can be articulate and smart *because of my fatness*. Then I open my mouth, and it is fun to watch judgment fade to enjoyment as I do the impossible and make software training fun.

However, there are days when the head rats get to me. I'm talking about those little poisonous nuggets of thought - pervasive in this world and difficult keep out - that tell me I'm not the shit. They say that I'm too fat to be loved, or even regarded with more than judgment. Now, I'd like to be able to dismiss these thoughts outright, and I would - if they had no basis in reality.

Unfortunately, I know for a fact that my thoughts are based in reality. You see, if you're a fat person, there's no denying that most people will not think that you're the shit, much less fuckable, and fewer still will find you lovable. Most people will assume that you're lazy, gluttonous, smelly, and more than a little stupid.

Now, I could mention that weight is second only to height in heritability, I could show you the studies (done multiple times because nobody believes the results) that prove that statistically, fat people don't actually eat more or move less than regular or skinny people, and I could talk about the science of weight loss / re-gain until I'm blue in the face, but people don't usually care about that shit. Most of the population views me as unfuckable, which for most people means I don't exist, regardless of the science.

Here's an example of why I'm pretty sure it's not just in my head:

In addition to the lovely advertising from PETA, I see this attitude in action every time I'm in an airplane, every time I meet someone new, and, frankly, every time I develop feelings for someone. Some people practically have a neon sign on their foreheads that say, "You are fat. Do not want."

Battling that message on a daily basis is hard, but add the heart, and there are days when it is frankly impossible not to believe that destructive paradigm.

One thing that fat women have to contend with in a heterosexual context (though there are certainly variations on that theme, depending on your sexuality) is that straight male friends will totally befriend them in the same manner that a straight woman befriends a gay man. Spending time with them, confiding in them, flirting with them, etc, not realizing that the fat woman could possibly read this as romantic interest. I mean, why would she think she's attractive enough for him to want her? Silly fat girl, no love for you. Sometimes it takes a minute, but when the fat girl savvies to the fact that her flirty, communicative, interesting friend couldn't possibly find her attractive... man, oh man, does that do a number on the heart and the self-esteem.

I'll give you a minute to consider that I created that paragraph in the third person, so that it would be less painful for me write.

With that in mind, it is difficult to think highly of oneself when others would view that kind of self esteem to be ridiculous and unwarranted, if not utterly unthinkable. But I'm here to tell you that I'd rather be ridiculous than lower my opinion of myself to match the world's view of me. And on those days when I'm feeling lonely, and the head rats are chewing away at my self worth, I dig in and remind myself who I really am. And I remember that loving myself has given others permission to love me. And I fight back, and I say to myself and the world - I am worthy of love and respect and kindness.

And that? Is why I'm the motherfucking shit.


  1. The shizzle!!!! And hot to boot!

  2. I'm going to start going by TS - The Shit. ;)

    Kidding... please don't call me that, lol.