I think it’s time to share another one of the women who have inspired me in my life. Tonight I’m bringing you a bit of a quiet achiever. Sarah, aka Not Blue At All was another of the early blogs that I discovered when I was first tasting fat activism. Her bubbly manner and honesty drew me in like a magnet, and she has always got plenty of food for thought in her writing. I’ve watched her evolve through her blog, and have seen her go through the ups and downs of life with grace and good humour. I am sure you will find her as refreshing and delightful as I do.
Was there a defining moment for you as a person that made you decide that fat activism was for you? What was it?
I am a hippie at heart, so the activism side of fat liberation/acceptance was a natural attraction for me. I can’t say that there was a specific moment that inspired or motivated me to identify as a fat activist. I think it was gradual. Though I will say that reading Fat Heffalump and The Rotund made me realize that just being in public while fat was so political. I now embrace this and go about my life with my head held higher and with a wider smile than before. I have locked eyes with another fatty in a mall and we were both sleeveless and we sort of just smiled and nodded at each other. That was a magical moment.
What projects or achievements are you most proud of in your fat activism?
So far I have to say that my proudest achievement is participating in Marilyn Wann’s 2011 International No Diet Day “Flesh Mob” when we fat-crashed an anti-obesity conference. I didn’t realize how radical this simple act would appear to outsiders or even to other fats. I just thought it was this very cool thing we could do to make a statement, get heard and be seen without hurting anyone. It wasn’t until later that I heard from others that it was this big scary deal. It is a bit of a blur, but it was all of two minutes. It was the last hour of the conference we crashed and the guy talking had such disgust for us (the obese) that I relished in the moment, more than I had thought I would. We danced, we chanted and we made some of those people wake up a bit. Others will still hate us, but that’s okay. It just felt good to do something as a fat group with so much fat pride. It is one of my fondest memories, for sure.
Is there a song that defines you or that you particularly identify with? Will you share it with us?
I’m such a music lover and my taste is so varied. A song that defines me? Whew! That is a tall order…But why not Della Reese’s “Come on A My House” she’s a fatty and I love the hell out of this song. I called it my theme song for a few years. It is a song of welcome, love, offerings and nourishment. So, “come on a my house!” Ha-ha! I am always trying to get my friends together for fun and good times.
Many fat activists refer to having a “coming out as fat” moment in their lives, where they take their fab fat life to the people in their lives (friends, family, colleagues etc). Did you have one of these? How did it happen for you?
I don’t think I officially came out as fat or anything, but it was a big deal to me personally that for my last birthday I asked my friends to attend a Big Moves Bay Area event instead of giving me gifts. It was a fun night with fatties dancing and chocolate tasting. I wanted there to be a full on fatty dance party after, but sadly that didn’t happen.
If you could have someone make you the ultimate outfit for your body, what would it be? Tell us that dream outfit/garment you’d love to see in plus-sizes.
I would start with gorgeous black knee-high boots. They would have chunky soles and possibly buckles or straps. I’m thinking industrial meets grunge. Then I would have these beautifully printed, quality lycra, tights in some goreous paisley or other lovely print. I’d probably just rock a dress I already have since the tights and boots are my biggest want at the moment, but I would love a more fitted/tailored dress. It’s why I love eshakti, I pay a few extra dollars and they make it to my specific measurements. And I would love a bag that I could wear cross-body style without it being a giant bag or having the strap too short.
Who has been your biggest “real life” support in your activism?
My husband. While he hasn’t participated, he’s always there for me. He listens to my bizarre ideas and rants and whatever else I’m going on and on about. He’s my best friend and my rock. He has attended a couple of fat events with me, but he’s a true introvert, so I never push. I actually love that he makes me feel supported in all that I do and gives me the space to get out and do what he’d never want to.
My BFFs are so very supportive, too. They went with me to a Big Moves event the first time I ever went strapless in public. I was somewhat horrified, but pushed myself to get the hell out of my comfort zone. I never looked back! They have been by my side and have my back no matter what.
Who has inspired you in your activism?
You Kath! And Marianne Kirby, Marilyn Wann, Amanda Levitt, Michaela Null, Lesley Kinzel, Virgie Tovar, Jeanette Miller, Jessica Gagnon and and and and… I could go on and on, believe me! I am so grateful and fortunate to have so many amazing and brilliant fat activists in my life. These women speak a truth that my heart needs to hear all of the time. They embody fat activism even when they haven’t the strength to write about it. They understand what it takes to keep this movement’s momentum going. I love them all.
Do you have any tattoos?
Oh yes. I long for a fat related one, but funds are not available now. I have a small butterfly in my right ear. Chinese Characters on my left shoulder blade. A vine with big purple flowers on my right shoulder blade. A lovely rain foresty piece around my right ankle.
What piece of advice would you like to share with all fatties out there?
Find and honor your authentic self. Let no one or thing ever define you, but you. Care for yourself and your needs. Love with your whole self. Don’t hold back. Scare people off, who needs ‘em? Be honest above all else, but don’t be mean or rude or judgmental. Treat your body like your best friend, because it is and it will always be there for you. Trust your body, listen to it, be mindful of it and learn to nourish and care for it. We are taught from such an early age to distrust our bodies in fear and that makes me sad and angry. Support other fatties. Support other communities. Speak up. Stand up for yourself and others. Be your own advocate. Call out hate when hate is spoken or taught or heard. Above all, just be you.