Identity

We had our dear friends Jason and Juan over for dinner last night, and as we were finishing off the remains of a carrot bundt cake (there goes my ketosis (low-carb lifestyle)) (And I had been SO GOOD- we went out for mexican food and I didn’t have ONE chip. Do you know how hard that is to do?!?!?!) , I saw an article in the LA Times that caught my eye. It was called “The Fat Man Dreams of Running the LA Marathon“. I briefly skimmed over it and was enamored with this line: “If he does (finish the marathon), he says he will be sending a message to a society obsessed with being thin. “Big people,” he says, “can do the unimaginable.”

I read it out to my friends and made some sort of exclamation about how I loved that message, and our friend Juan, (a licensed therapist – a Ph. D.), said “You really identify as a fat person, don’t you?” The question set me back a little bit, but then as I thought about it, I thought, Yes, I do identify as a fat person.  He explained to me how most people he treat view being fat as a complete setback, and allow themselves to wallow in misery, but that he was surprised that I seemed to be so at terms with my weight. I definitely have my insecurities, but I’ve realized that in the past few years, I’ve really learned how to OWN who I am. My body, despite the excess weight, can do amazing things. My body wailed on a punching bag for 60 minutes yesterday in my impact kickboxing class. My body carries me through 45 hours of work a week, and then 15 hours of school. My body lives and breathes, and hurts and aches and comes back around and heals and does it all over again…. and it does this all despite the excess weight. My body is an amazing thing.

The boxing gloves I just ordered for my kickboxing class.

If I could, would I snap my fingers and turn thin? Absolutely. But that’s not possible, and as Popeye says… I am who I am.  My capacity for joy or success is no less attainable than somebody who weighs 114 pounds. And who knows – maybe because of the challenges I’ve gone through with my size, I’m apt to appreciate the smaller things more. All I know is that identifying with myself as a larger person is not a bad thing. It took me awhile to be ok with who I was, and now, there’s a tremendous sense of freedom of being able to accept myself at any weight. I’ll continue to work towards my health, but I’m no less of a person (heh, that’s punny) at 200 pounds… or 100 pounds.

Do you feel that you identify with yourself based on a size? I know I have some naturally thin and petite readers too, so don’t feel that you have to be chubby to chime in. Have you embraced yourself, size and all?



6 thoughts on “Identity

  1. I love reading your blog! And I am incredibly jealous (for lack of a better word) with the amount of self-confidence you have. Your self-esteem is beautiful (as are you!) and I wish I knew how to tap into that kind of love and appreciation for my body.

    I’ve struggled with an ED for a number of years and although it’s under control, I still can’t look in a mirror and emotionally love my body…even though I appreciate it on a cerebral level.

    I know I shouldn’t identify with myself based on size, but I do…now more than ever. When I was 30 pounds more curvy, I was much happier with myself and much more accepting. Funny how that works. Anyone who thinks being thin will make them happy is deeply disillusioned. Loving yourself and your life and taking credit for your accomplishments is the sure road to contentment.

    Alyssa, you glow! Your smile is lovely and contagious, you know your self-worth and demand that no one treat you as anything less (especially yourself), and you’re intelligent and funny. Keep being yourself and spreading the good vibes :)

  2. I love reading your blog! And I am incredibly jealous (for lack of a better word) with the amount of self-confidence you have. Your self-esteem is beautiful (as are you!) and I wish I knew how to tap into that kind of love and appreciation for my body.

    I’ve struggled with an ED for a number of years and although it’s under control, I still can’t look in a mirror and emotionally love my body…even though I appreciate it on a cerebral level.

    I know I shouldn’t identify with myself based on size, but I do…now more than ever. When I was 30 pounds more curvy, I was much happier with myself and much more accepting. Funny how that works. Anyone who thinks being thin will make them happy is deeply disillusioned. Loving yourself and your life and taking credit for your accomplishments is the sure road to contentment.

    Alyssa, you glow! Your smile is lovely and contagious, you know your self-worth and demand that no one treat you as anything less (especially yourself), and you’re intelligent and funny. Keep being yourself and spreading the good vibes :)

  3. That is a great observation your friend made! This is something I’ve talked to not only you but also other people about, kind of. For many years I identified as a fat person, and while I still do at times, i do not have the same feelings towards my body/weight. For example, when I would go to the doctor and would have to weighed….my stomach would flip flop and as soon as those numbers appeared I’d promise to start a diet asap. I would easily get discouraged when trying on clothes or look at other “skinny” women and wish so badly I could just get to that size i’d truly be happy. Now i’m 27 (heading into 28) and no longer feel like thin is thing to be. I have my bad days, but for the most part, I love my body, It treats me well and I must be better about treating it well. I strive for health, I search for balance and I work towards peace! At this point, i consider myself fat but do not identify as other fat people as “my people”

  4. That is a great observation your friend made! This is something I’ve talked to not only you but also other people about, kind of. For many years I identified as a fat person, and while I still do at times, i do not have the same feelings towards my body/weight. For example, when I would go to the doctor and would have to weighed….my stomach would flip flop and as soon as those numbers appeared I’d promise to start a diet asap. I would easily get discouraged when trying on clothes or look at other “skinny” women and wish so badly I could just get to that size i’d truly be happy. Now i’m 27 (heading into 28) and no longer feel like thin is thing to be. I have my bad days, but for the most part, I love my body, It treats me well and I must be better about treating it well. I strive for health, I search for balance and I work towards peace! At this point, i consider myself fat but do not identify as other fat people as “my people”

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