Wednesday, November 26, 2014

10 Days of Gratitude: Day 3 - There is No Shame in Fat, Only Hurt By Lisa D. Bowie

The truth is sometimes I don't sleep very well, and this night and early morning once again rendered sleeplessness. It started with a pain in one of my relatively “new” titanium knees, as I have recently found my way back to the gym and walking. Just to later find myself in an air cast as result of Achilles tendonitis. This, I’m sure due to my tenacity and overzealous spirit that won’t let me give up my battle against the bulge – a battle I will fight to the end no matter what may come my way. Funny thing is at 51 this fight feels so much more difficult than at 30 or even 40 for that matter. However, the desire to have good health and a visually accepting physical appearance remain the same regardless of my age. But it’s hard to deny I’ve grown weary and tired both literally and figuratively speaking; however I still no longer want to be included in that statistic that states that 80% of African-American women are considered to be obese. I hate that word!

Fortunately for me my strong sense of self and a Mount Everest sized self-esteem I have not been made to feel self-conscious about my weight. I seem to do a good job of that without any help. Although, I have had the occasional remark from family members – “you have such a beautiful face.” When translated means if you weren’t fat you would simply be beautiful by my standards. Or my personal favorite, “how are you ever going to get a husband if you don’t lose some weight?” So, I guess it’s a good thing I’m a lesbian, so I won’t ever have to feel the sting of a man’s rejection because of weight issues. Yet, while I have come through this type of ridicule for the most part unscathed, some of these remarks at times still hurt and have remained with me just as the childhood memories of only being able to fit plus-size tough skin jeans or the “chubette” (is that even a word) size dresses that I hated wearing in the first place.

For a few years now I have been trying my best to counter the damage of our culture with regards to size, and at times age - one of two characteristics I have struggled to embrace the better part of my life, as I have always been a “thick” sistah. The other is a completely new struggle altogether - my own quiet-held fear and at times self-hate that can be suffocating. Everywhere I turn I am constantly reminded of what I’m not – White, blonde and blue-eyed. Coming to terms with this brutal scrutiny of myself I now understand the time to counter these self-destructive thoughts and beliefs must begin immediately with the attempt to love myself as I once did, but now feels like so many years ago. I recognize it is time to claim every roll of fat, mark, scar and far from-perfect inch of my own body – a body that has been called "too fat" by me more than anyone else. Me, a person who understands the importance and purpose of loving oneself, but still finding it difficult to even like the bare naked truth of me in front of a mirror.

Until recently I had been totally oblivious to the viciousness of my own words that have been self-inflicted. Words that hurt most when spoken silently, subconsciously and continuously while internalizing them deep within me. I realize I would NEVER diminish myself in this way for anyone else, so I must stop the diminishing of me by me. While I am long from seeing my body in a beautiful light, I know I must continue to work hard to find, shape and see the beauty in it as it is now, just as I see the beauty of my mind and heart.

“Fat Shaming” can be one of the most humiliating things to ever experience, but “fat shaming” can be the most spirit-crushing and life-threatening at the hands of self. And I want to live a shame-free life. – By Lisa D. Bowie

Lisa is a scholar in training residing in Atlanta, Ga. She has been writing career-related articles since 2009, poetry and editorial opinions since 2010. Her articles have appeared on,, and By trade, she is a human resources professional and possesses more than 20 years of experience, as well as an Assistant Professor. Lisa holds a Master of Arts degree in Humanities and Masters in Education, both from Tiffin University. Last, but not least Lisa loves her wife.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for giving voice to this issue. I really appreciated your prospective and balance with wanting to be healthier but not wanting to hate oneself through the journey.