FatLand: The Early Days – 44

Angela noted with approval that most people at the PTA meeting seemed to have no problem in scarfing down the canapes and hors d’oeuvres The Restaurant had provided, under her supervision. However, there were actually a few there who seemed ashamed or shy to eat, especially in front of others.

“I don’t want to get any bigger,” she heard one woman say to another as waiters walked up to her with a tray of mushroom and cheese puffs.

Angela figured that they would never get anywhere with promulgating pride in children if their parents were still ashamed.  She said to the woman, “First of all, do you really think that one or even two or  three mushroom cheese puffs will make you get bigger? Secondly, what do you think would happen to you if you did get bigger?  You have a lovely smile and a soft warmth to your body.  No one has ever found any health risks to getting bigger except by association. And remember when BMI and cholesterol were discredited as factors a few years ago?”

The woman regarded Angela in surprise. “Look,” she said, “I’m fat, but no one has the right to tell me that I have to like it.”

“I’m brunette,” Angela said, “but no one has the right to tell me that I have to like it.  It’s not a question of liking; it’s a question of living.  What this meeting is trying to show is that our children shouldn’t have to worry about every or any piece of food they put in their mouths.  We are the weight we are meant to be.  Dieting not only starves people, but it makes them regain and then more.  So why worry so much about your shape? Isn’t it better to be happy in what your body can do for you? Sounds like Kennedy, I know,” Angela said, “but why be so worried about what your body looks like?  Part of the reason we founded FatLand was not only to offer a haven to fat people but also to live our lives without looksism – the belief that people who have certain kinds of looks are better or more worthy than others.  When you judge yourself on looks, you fall into an old trap that tries to keep women from feeling happy and worthy.  When you describe someone without talking or worrying about their looks, you give them the right to be judged and described on the basis of what they do and feel and think, not the way they look.  Don’t you want to grant yourself the right to be judged on the basis of what you do and feel, not the way you look?”

“You should give speeches,” the woman said, staring at Angela.

“Now that you mention it,” Angela said, feeling as if a path had just opened in the middle of a river, “I will be doing exactly that.”

“Will you be speaking in Ernsberger Park?” the woman asked. “People should hear you.”

“I probably will be,” Angela said.  She and the woman sat down.  Charla was calling for people to be seated.

“You made me feel better,” the woman said. “I came here mainly to get away from the weigh-ins, but I didn’t really think that much about why this place was founded, or what people here believe.”

“Welcome,” Angela said.  “I hope you will find out lots more.  I think it will make you feel even gladder.”

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