So, the other day I happened to note that I had a unique journey to being a fat accepting fat man in that I was fat accepting before I was fat. Some commentators were quick to note I'm maybe not as unique as I thought, so I'm curious to here more from others who believed in fat acceptance before becoming a fat person and applying those principles to their own lives.
For me, my first awareness of Fat Acceptance was as another kind of FA, a Fat Admirer. This is something I was aware of and open about at an earlier age. I'm thankful that at the time I didn't settle for just understanding this as a passive sexuality, but rather I wanted to learn about the experience of fat people. This intellectual curiosity led me time and again to Fat Acceptance and I found it all very persuasive. This is really a whole 'nother post I need to make (or several) but I've long be disappointed with how Fat Admirers weren't really political engaged by Fat Acceptance and how easily many FAs were about to disassociate themselves from the political struggles of the people they were sexually attracted to. I very much saw this as my fight and learned early on that I couldn't think I could just tell a fat woman that I thought she was pretty and have that undo the systematic culture stigmatization fat people endure. I wasn't just looking at this as what I found attractive. I was reading magazine articles on the movement, scouring libraries for books like Shadow on a Tightrope to learn more about the ideology and philosophy of Fat Acceptance.
So, I was, shall we say, more than aware of Fat Acceptance. One of the first things I did in college was join NAAFA (again, whole 'nother post). The second thing I did was gain weight. Not intentionally. It just, well, happened. I don't think I even realized it until I had put on almost 20lbs. I ended up gaining about 40lbs my Freshman year. I was not really happy about this. I think I had a misplaced sense of superiority as a thin fat admirer. Really, I just understood that being thin lended me a privilege of credibility with some I'd lose if I was also fat. I was frustrated with my body and disbelieving. I'd always been thin, after all. Maybe it'd be okay for me to lose weight since I wasn't "supposed" to be fat. Of course, I soon recognized that this was a genetic pattern in my family. The men grow up very thin and gain weight as adults for the most part.
For all my frustration, though, I still knew deep down that hating my body wasn't going to be productive. I felt fat acceptance was right. By then I was taking in all this fantastic online writing by people like Marilyn Wann and members of the Fat Underground. I may have hated by fat body, but I knew that hate wasn't going to be productive. I wanted to do something about that.
The summer after my first year in University, I got sick and lost all of the weight I gained only to put it on and then some the following year. While I internally was happy with the initial loss, I also found myself upset when I was complemented for it. I really tried to be introspective about these feelings. I worked to expand my sexual attraction to fat women to a more general aesthetic appreciation for fat in men and women alike and then tried to transfer that to myself. This didn't happen over night and in some real ways, its still happening but I am deeply grateful for the "head start" I got because I already knew of and genuinely believed in Fat Acceptance.
Please share your own stories in the comments. I'm fascinated at how other people might have had a similar journey or how it might have been different. And others, certainly, please feel free to reflect on these themes even if it doesn't quite describe your path to fat acceptance.
Other posts about my Fat Admirer experience:
Eventually not about Britney Spears