Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Big Fat Civil Rights Movement

Here's a great way to spend 18 minutes and 56 seconds of your life.  Watch this video:

Caitlyn Becker hosted this HuffPost Live chat with a great panel of activists and experts, including:

Deb Burgard @BodyPositivePhD (Palo Alto, CA) Psychologist; Co-Founder of Health At Every Size®

Golda Poretsky @bodylovewellnes (New York, NY) Health Coach and Activist; Author of Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal

Lawrence D. Frank Ph.D. (Vancouver, Canada) Professor of Public Health and Urban Planning at the University of British Columbia

Marilyn Wann @MarilynWann (San Francisco, CA) Author of the book, FAT!SO?; Fat Activist

Virgie Tovar @virgietovar (San Francisco, CA) Author ; Activist ; Editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion

The video asks this question, Is it time for a civil rights movement for fat people?

I say yes!  Long overdue.  I'm fired up and ready to go!

I no longer worry about the fat in my body hurting me thanks to what I have learned by reading Dr. Linda Bacon's life-changing book Health at Every Size.  It has taught me to love my body and to care for it by enjoying healthy foods and pleasurable movement.  I do worry about one thing, though: all this big fat activism hurting my mental health.

I'm sensitive and prone to depression and anxiety.  I have post-traumatic stress disorder from early childhood sexual abuse.  I entered psychotherapy the first time at age eleven when I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.  At nineteen I was given lithium by one doctor and told I needed to sever ties with my family of origin by a psychotherapist, both extreme advice I rejected.  Over the years I've fine-tuned my health regimen, mostly by taking little medication, although I do keep Clonazepam in my medicine cabinet just in case, enjoying an occasional glass of wine or beer, daily active living including swimming, hiking, walking, dancing, playing kickball with my kid, eating healthy pleasurable foods, and writing every day.  At forty-two years old, I'm probably my most healthy, both physically and mentally.  I love myself.  I have a good family life.  I've come a long way.  But despite our best efforts all of us have our bad days and, so, I worry.

I hope all this new body acceptance activism I've been doing lately--reading and blogging about it endlessly, planning swim-in events to promote a love for all bodies--is going to continue to strengthen my mental health by helping me feel proud to make this world a better place.  My biggest fear is that I'll listen to the trolls, that I won't always have an epic comeback, that I'll succumb to anxiety and self-doubt.  The old mental illnesses I've worked so hard to overcome these past two years since I started my blog, flaring back up like a bad rash.

As much as I admire the great feminist Shulamith Firestone and the work she did to promote the status of women in our society, I don't want to be like her.  I worry some day I too will go crazy trying to make this world a better place.  It's a Sisyphean task I can't seem to break.  I hope it doesn't break me.

You know what helps?  Your support.  I can't thank you enough for reading my blog.  It helps me stay motivated.  And sane.