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Let’s talk about being okay | Manolo for the Big Girl

Let’s talk about being okay

Different and broken are not the same thing.

I’ve had just about enough of people telling other people what’s “okay” to do with their bodies. My body is different than yours. It’s not broken and what I choose to do with it is not a broken decision if it’s not what you’d choose to do with it were you in my position.

And even if it isn’t the healthiest decision I could make, do you know whose problem that is? Not Yours.

Yes, for our own well-being we ought to try to make lifestyle choices that will keep our motors running the way we want. But it’s not your right or responsibility to tell me or any one else what is OKAY to do with a body that doesn’t belong to you. Except if they’re trying to hide it in the trunk of your classic Cadillac (shoulda thought about that before you bought your smartcar, huh, buddy?)

So enough with the “it’s not okay to” blah blah blah.

I’m the judgiest judge in Judgeville and even I can’t psychologically get to a place where I feel I have authority to say what people should and should not do with their bodies, and I once convinced myself that buying a gold lamé toreador outfit was a good idea, so don’t tell me I can’t stretch.

Be fat or thin or in between, unless you have permission to board the Plumcake Express to Panty Drop Junction (and since most of you are women or gay men, I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s not going to happen) I couldn’t give a hot buttered damn about your body.

I just want you to love it.

And if you don’t love it, then please, for the love of all things holy, don’t spread that hate around.

If you’re unhappy being fat and you diet or get surgery or choose the more traditional method of cocaine, tapeworms and inappropriate men to drop unwanted pounds, that’s totally fine. And if by extension your life is so much better after the tapeworms, superfantastic! But please be mindful not to project your feelings onto other people, even if you’re “just trying to help.” Your experience is not everyone’s experience.

And if you’re fat and happy? Great! Remember that not everyone is, and it’s not fair of you to ask someone to be unhappy with their own body because you think dieting is betraying the home team.

Personally I don’t really have a horse in this race. I’m fat, but I’ve kind of always been okay with being fat and since I’ve had bigger fish to fry when it comes to eating (Miss Plumcake has some weird vitamin issues) I just never really bothered to put moral values on food.

Plus I remember one morning my mother told me that orange juice was “very fattening” and from that point on I decided she was on crack and I wasn’t ever going to listen to anything anyone said about food unless they had a white coat and perhaps suitably geeky glasses.

I am the first to admit to being short-sighted on a lot of common big girl issues. Not personally suffering from a surfeit of humility when it comes to my looks and all around charm (ahem) it’s hard for me to know what it feels like to associate body-size with self-confidence, but I DO know what it’s like to be told I was broken when in fact I wasn’t.

I’m different, you’re different. I’m okay, you’re…well you know the rest.

33 Responses to “Let’s talk about being okay”

  1. harri p. February 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    “Mind your own plate” as my sainted father says.

  2. Frances February 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Thank you. THANK YOU.

    Especially about not spreading the hate around. Just SHUSH, will you? I promise you, no one is looking at your funny ears, we’re all too busy either worrying about our bottom in this skirt or, in my case, admiring my eye makeup.

    There needs to be a Lessons in Glamorositude post about dealing with the extremely annoying women who are always moaning about how fat and disgusting they look, while in the company of bigger women. There was this one girl I knew in high school who was always whining about how “fat” she was, and the other nicer-plumper-slightly dim girls would giggle through their teeth and tell her how gorgeous and skinny she was. Not me. She was saying “Ohmigod, I am so ****ing hideous, please!”. I agreed with her. And Lord, you could see the shock on her face. She said “What?” and I was all “Yes, you are. You are hideous, your face looks like it’s on inside out.” and then the bell rang.

    In my defense, I was 14. But hey, it worked, and she never did it again (in my hearing).

  3. Lisa February 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    I’ve read this blog for quite some time and always enjoyed this. This isn’t about spreading hate. It was simply a response to the idea that there is something pathological in worshipping someone for being so tiny. There is. I’m just saying that pathology about food and body size goes the other way too.

  4. wildflower February 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Plumcake, you’re a special kind of awesome. :)

  5. marvel February 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I *heart* Plumcake. In a purely platonic way, natch.

  6. Madame Suggia February 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    @Frances
    “There was this one girl I knew in high school who was always whining about how “fat” she was, and the other nicer-plumper-slightly dim girls would giggle through their teeth and tell her how gorgeous and skinny she was. Not me. She was saying “Ohmigod, I am so ****ing hideous, please!”. I agreed with her. And Lord, you could see the shock on her face. She said “What?” and I was all “Yes, you are. You are hideous, your face looks like it’s on inside out.” “.

    Obviously we’re sisters under the skin because I’ve said similar things to similarly annoying creatures with gratifyingly comparable results. Ha ha, the looks one gets-priceless!

  7. Carol February 8, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    This applies to so much more of life than just body size. Been having this discussion with my work leader. I am not outgoing. I will not be asking everyone how their weekend was over coffee in the morning. I will not be sharing every detail of my life outside the office. I will not join you for baseball games and cocktails after work. My introversion is NOT A CHARACTER FLAW. It is one of the ways I am different from you. Please respect that and do not ask me to change such a basic personality trait. It will not make me happy, therefore it will not make you happy. Please, just let me do my job.

  8. Jamie February 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    The orange juice incident reminded me the same thing my parents told me and with other foods I can and can’t eat, but I ate anyways. It’s hard too look back at pictures when I was younger and realizing how stuck I was in a cloud of negativity family members telling me I was fat and need to do something about it. I love my parents and all, and I know they mean well, but it really hurt for a short time when my father told me “you won’t get a boyfriend if your fat”. Well, I have a boyfriend for almost 7 year, and of those 7 years he’s told me everyday how beautiful I am. I struggled on and off trying to be happy in what I wear. I would see these gorgeous outfits and say “that’s beautiful, but would not look great on me… well it won’t hurt to just try it… nevermind they don’t have my size”. That constant hunt for ones size is a never ending battle. NOW, with inspiration with blogs like these and my poor boyfriend who tells me everyday I look beautiful and me saying “you have to say that because I’m your girlfriend”, HAS opened my heart and eyes to be happy and not have people tell you what I can look or wear. I made a couple of first steps of glamor happiness:
    1. I got bangs. (Screw you all haircutters, for telling me I shouldn’t get bangs!)
    2. Red lipstick. (I bought, now to put it on.)
    3. Striped dress. (So fun to break rules!)

    Now to conquer the world!

  9. Miss Plumcake February 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    @Jamie: Sing it! I remember having forbidden foods too, and one of the few food issues I had to overcome was the rebellious response to such-and-such being “verboten” like, ice cream was verboten as a child (I ate it anyway, with my grandfather) so as an adult it held some mysterious allure. Turns out I don’t actually LIKE ice cream. I’ve got three pints of it in my freezer right now –well, two pints of Hagen Daaz and one pint of double chocolate gelato with vermouth– and I’ve had I don’t know, maybe a scoop of the gelato and a spoon each of the ice cream in the past month or so? Whatever.

    Now put on that lipstick.

  10. Ellen W. February 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Jamie– I call my un-worn red lipstick my Emergency Lipstick. I try to have one at the office and one at home. Because you never know when you need to Glam.

    I’ve written a dozen responses to yesterday’s post and erased them all because I don’t want anyone to be hurt. So that’s my post- I wish you all the best of luck with your personal reach for happiness. (I sound like a damn Hallmark card. Too bad.)

  11. Cat February 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Re. the unworn lipstick: I often buy superfantastic lipsticks and other pretty things and then don’t use them because I don’t want to mess them up or use them up. Which is stupid, because then they just go to waste. Recently I’ve been making a conscious effort to stop letting my pretty things go to waste. I’ve been putting on my most superfantastic lipsticks just to walk the dog in the morning, for example. And it’s been awesome.

  12. Kelly February 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I agree with everything you said. Nobody has the right to tell you what to eat, wear or say. I remember telling my Ex-husband,”I can’t be happy with you, until you figure out how to make yourself happy” – Be it, cake, shoes or another person. I use my good china when I feel like it, I use my crystal on a whim and live life without regrets. I make no apologies for who I am and I don’t need you to do it for me…. Love your site and your wisdom…

  13. Jezebella February 8, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Jamie! I finally found a fabulous red lipstick too! My pasty ginger coloring has never quite matched any red I have tried. Bobbi Brown’s metallic “Jewel Red” is the shizz. It’s so expensive I keep thinking I shouldn’t wear it except on special occasions, but I’m trying to stop thinking that way. In fact: I am sitting in my office all alone and just put some on. Because I can. Woot.

  14. Elizabeth in Yuma February 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Ladies, maybe not so much hate for girls who are thinner and have body issues too? I have stated before in front of other humans that I find myself to be overweight….which is fine except that by no one’s scale except my own messed up one would I be judged as such. I have had friends (?) who are heavier than I am say things like, “Oh, boo hoo, skinny bitch feels fat today. Cry me a river.” Wow. That was helpful. My statement wasn’t a request for affirmation, it was a statement of my world view. I am trying hard to accept who I am, how I am just as much as anybody else. I would like to see us all support each other: thin, fat, skinny, obese, perfect. Telling ANYONE they are hideous is unhelpful, no matter the circumstances.

  15. Rachel of Cyberia February 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    @Carol
    Same here. We could form a club, but I’m not much of a joiner.

  16. Miss Plumcake February 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    @Elizabeth in Yuma: There’s a long-standing policy of no body-hate talk at the blog, which includes no ragging on skinny chicks (I mentioned it in my very first post). That being said, from what Frances was in high school and thus probably not especially mature and it’s tiring when slender girls complain about how fat they are when all they want is confirmation of their perfection and/or superiority over bigger girls. It doesn’t make it okay, but do you want to judge yourself by what you said when YOU were 14?

    Also, I hope you stop saying you think you’re fat. I don’t like to hear people complain about their bodies whether it’s a “legitmate” complaint (“I hate my zits!”) or a size 4 complaining she’s fat. At best, no one wants to hear it and at worst it’s like saying you feel “retarded” in front of a kid who actually has a learning disability. Not cool.

  17. Leah February 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Love this post. Love yourself at any size, wear what you love, and find that red that flatters you. Mine is L’oreal Sunset Red #302. Kisses

  18. Jamie February 8, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Thank you for all your encouragements! I didn’t try the lipstick today, but I am determine to put it on tomorrow going to the grocery store or getting the mail.
    No matter what size we all are we just want to be happy. Even if it means to buy that red lipstick or eating some macaroons! <3

    Revlon #740 "Certainly Red" (still staring at it! LOL) I know a bold choice.

    *will share my experience tomorrow. sooo excited.. and a little nervous.

  19. Frances February 9, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Hey, Elizabeth, I’m sorry if what I wrote came off as being dismissive of thin women with eating issues. I’d like to point out that I WAS a teenager when I said that and it wasn’t one of my finest moments. That said, the girl in question did not have an eating disorder. She was a “popular” girl who maintained her place on top of the food chain by making the other girls feel ugly and useless. She was also extremely racist and classist. I can’t truly feel sorry for what I said to her but I would never, ever knowingly diminish or dismiss the struggles of women with any kind of eating disorder. I have some very dear friends who struggle with them and I try as much as possible to be supportive without being patronizing. It’s a work in progress, though.

  20. Carol February 9, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    @Rachel of Cyberia
    It’ll be an on-line club so there’s no going out in the cold, no small talk with that person hovering around the bar and you can try out every red lipstick in your kit without fear of judgement!

  21. AnthroK8 February 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    My quality of life improved immensely when I declared my house/ dinner table in restaurants NO HATE zones. There is no food shame or body hate in my house, ever. When new friends come over and say “ooh that’s so bad I shouldn’t eat that” or “I am so fat blah blah” everyone who knows me knows what is coming.

    “In this house there is no body hate or food shame. I know it’s hard, but here, no one is judged for their food choices, and all bodies are respected and loved. We can talk about how to improve your self esteem, but only without shame or hate.”

    I have told guests they can finish their “people need plastic surgery or they won’t get laid” conversations on the porch. No one will come to my house and tell anyone what isn’t acceptable to eat or to look like.

    My self esteem is better, and I have to work less hard to follow my own rules because in my house, we don’t body shame, ever.

    Also? People respect that boundary. Could be I am no nonsense. But I think it also is a relief to guests not to have to negotiate the piranha pool of talking about bodies and food in public.

  22. Jezebella February 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Anthrok8, you rock. I do the same thing in my personal life as well. It’s harder to get away from in the workplace. I had to stomp my feet and bust some heads to get the diet talk banned from within hearing distance of my office. It was unbelievable to me how long three long-time yo-yo dieters could converse about the relative merits of fat-free vs. regular coffee creamers, for example. I finally managed to banish the coffee klatsch to another floor of the building, after months of being tortured by never-ending hate speech about diets, the sinfulness of eating, and the fatness of their [whatevers]. And, to add insult to injury, not a one of them was over a size twelve.

    It has taken YEARS of explaining to get my mom to understand that when a person talks about how disgusting and gross their (ass/belly/thigh) is, and that person is smaller than me, I hear them saying that MY personal (whatever) is disgusting and gross. She is getting a little better about the hate speech around me, but it’s been a long hard miserable process.

  23. harri p. February 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Wait, you actually got a bunch of coworkers banned from conversing about certain subjects near your office?

    >It has taken YEARS of explaining to get my mom to understand >that when a person talks about how disgusting and gross their
    >(ass/belly/thigh) is, and that person is smaller than me, I
    >hear them saying that MY personal (whatever) is disgusting and
    >gross.

    Dude, that’s your issue. Don’t blame other people and try to control their conversation topics because of your own issues.

  24. Jezebella February 10, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Nope, I got a bunch of coworkers to go drink their coffee somewhere else so I wouldn’t have to listen to chit-chat all afternoon long. They were loud and rude and I was trying to *work* during their excruciatingly long coffee breaks.

  25. Jezebella February 10, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Also, I am not a “dude”. And if someone I cared about said to me “Every time you say XYZ, it hurts my feelings,” you know what I’d do? I’d bloody well stop saying XYZ.

    The POINT is that body-hate-speech is bad for everybody, not just the person saying it about themselves.

  26. harri p. February 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    If I said something like “I like how this mascara brings out the blue in my eyes” and you said “Every time you say that I feel bad because I don’t have blue eyes,” I wouldn’t stop saying it. Because tough. It’s not all about you.

  27. Frances February 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    @harri p

    That makes no sense because saying you like to bring out the blue in your eyes in no way diminishes the attractiveness of someone else’s eye colour. Jezebella’s situation sounds a bit more like someone saying “I like how this mascara brings out the brown in my hazel eyes because otherwise they look green, and as everyone knows, green eyes are revolting”, in front of a green-eyed person.

  28. harri p. February 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    OK, and if I say “I hate how big my ass is,” it has nothing to do with her ass. It’s not about her. And to label it as “hate speech” is just ludicrous.

  29. Jezebella February 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Harri, I know you don’t like me and you’re just picking a fight because you already think I’m an asshole. And I frankly do not care.

    I have one more thing to say and then I’m done with you: if you say hurtful things to the people you love even though they’ve asked you not to repeatedly, you’re an unkind and insensitive person. End of story.

  30. AnthroK8 February 12, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Harri p, the world is full of places where we are encouraged to focus on the imperfections of our bodies. There are vanishingly few where all bodies- and by extension the people inside those bodies- are deemed fully worthy and endowed with dignity, just as they are.

    Personally, I think Jez’s stance is less about her “issues” and more about the dignity inherent in every human body. If she wants to create such a space in her office, I say, great. That is a great issue.

    Also, discussing fat asses borders on workplace inappropriate, full stop.

  31. HurricaneDeck February 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Awesome post – I had to share on my FB with friends! I NEEDED to hear this. I’ve recently lost 25 pounds due to medications, and honestly, while excited about the prospect of fitting back into some awesome designer suits I have hidden in the back of my closet, I am also put off with the comments of “how much prettier” or “how much hotter” I look now. F.U. I was always pretty. And FYI, I was also always hot too – just in a bigger size of jeans!

  32. Thea February 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    This was from an article in the Guardian yesterday and although it is about pubic hair, not weight – I think the same sentiments apply. Anyway – it made me laugh and nod my head in agreement.

    Men in the non-porn world are not dedicating themselves to full deforestation, writing about it in major publications as though it’s a serious consideration, or putting pressure on other men to do it. Men are not as cowed, self-hating, obedient or biddable as women in this regard. They are not going to make the effort to do anything to please a woman, at the cost of their own comfort. That is something I have always respected about men. They are busy pursuing their own happiness, leaving women to fight through the thicket of their own Stockholm syndrome, perpetually pruning their pubic hair in a desperate bid to gain approval.

  33. Elizabeth in Yuma February 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    @Frances As we all know, it can be hard to convey tone while commenting. I totally understand the things we do when we are 14 are not necessarily how we are later in life (THANK GOD!). I just thought it was important to point out that sometimes people say things, and mean them. I agree that no one really wants to hear anybody rag on themselves: it’s pretty boring. I think the most important thing, as many have pointed out, is to try to love oneself, and to encourage others to do the same. We all have our struggles, and some are more easily seen than others. Excellent post!