Since I became involved in the FA movement, I began trial prep. As I contemplated accepting myself as a fat man, most of my thoughts were, sadly, not about how my life would improve by living in a FA space, but how can I defend myself from the opposition to taking on this new point of view.
Opposing council represented many constituencies. My family who were blinded by their fear and belief that I am going to die from eating. The primary school teacher's messages about how bad my weight was for me had an impact on my self concept that reared its ugly head even today. The constant message via the media about the obesity epidemic gave rise to questions of my moral character.. The cultural messages about the unlikely (if not impossible) prospect of me finding a woman who could see past my fat to the Man I am.
I was much more concerned about how everyone except me would react to my decision to accept myself than how accepting myself would feel. All my life I have had to interact with the world outside myself with varying levels of denial, apology, and justification for being the size I am. Looking outside myself for validation of my choice to accept myself was of course the first place my mind went to.
No where in my life was this more crippling than in the arena of dating and socializing. As I entered adolescence I was so convinced of my unattractiveness (translates to unlovability) that I never got to develop a sense of virility, of my own masculinity. I just bought in to the message that no woman wants to be with a fat guy.
Meanwhile, I worked with my strengths to create a life for myself. I didn't finish college due to depression, severe Crohn's disease, and my shame for being utterly unappealing. I made my way in the work world with my brain which is pretty impressive by most standards. I could create rapport with practically anyone very quickly as long as I accepted the reality of not being a romantic prospect for anyone. I could always endear myself to the folks who made decisions about promoting me and did relatively okay for a guy without a degree.
My social life was pretty much centered in the rooms of overeater's anonymous. For those of you in the know, this is not a bastion of mental health and even if I had a great self concept about my virility, most of the dating that goes on in those rooms in centered in dysfunction. So while I never got physically intimate (save one nice 6 week tryst) I did develop a lot of friendships with the women in these rooms. There was the scent of romanticism in some of these friendships, but I was so convinced of my unattractiveness that I never made "the move" even though as I look back there were probably some opportunities to do so.
I was the proverbial incomplete package. Great on paper, Family, Money, Smart, Romantic, Emotionally Intelligent, and then there came sex. I was so ashamed of being Fat. So ashamed of my body and I was so convinced that no one could ever want to be with me that I never tried, I never made that "first move".
So now I am steeped in the FA movement for several months and I can see that there is a chance for a happy life in all areas. I still work on my "legal briefs" to address the concern of my family. I still am worried about the inevitable attacks by the Fat Hatred Movement as I "out" myself as a Fat man. However, I am also coming to see that part of living in FA is learning to navigate through the fat hatred, the fat propaganda, and now with the volatile Health Care debates going on, I need to be able to navigate my way thought the moral and political opposition.
So I am glad that there is a Fat Acceptance Movement. I am glad there is a Fat Studies movement. I am glad to be wired in on the internet. There is a place for me to live a happy life that includes dating, and hopefully a mate.
I wish there were more men willing to "Out" themselves as FA guys.. I wish there was a brotherhood if Fat men in the same way there is a Sisterhood for Fat ladies. I feel the support from the women in the movement. Most of the men in the movement are there because they Admire fat women.
I get that as a man I have had more opportunity than women to advance in the work arena as a very Fat person. If this was the also the case in the social/dating arena, it certainly eluded me.
There are lost of issues in this complex arena. I know that dating is only one of them. I feel like I have a chance at a fulfilling, complete, & happy life (including a love affair/ happily ever after thing)
Accepting myself exactly where I am right now is here is starts.