Early this year, the news broke. Men’s Health magazine ranked my hometown, Corpus Christi, Texas, the FATTEST city in the USA. This week as I have started making plans to travel West to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, I have begun thinking about what it might feel like to be a FAT girl in a FIT city.
Now I want to stop a minute and pay attention to the emotional shock that might come with the kind of honesty it takes for someone, in this case me, to say, “I am fat.” I don’t often just come out and talk about my weight unless it is to discuss what I am doing to be healthier. But this trip to Health-e-town USA has intrigued me. And perhaps there is a cultural “should” here that says I “should” be ashamed of my weight or that I “should” approach the topic with lowered eyes of apology that seek forgiveness for the midnight Whataburgers I have been raised on. But, I am going to play it a bit different here. This Big Beautiful Woman (BBW) got past the self-judgement a few days ago. Today, I am into the curiosity. That is much more fun anyway.
This evening as I was reading The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, I came to the part where he talks about goals. I have never been much into goals because when it came to setting them, weight loss being the one I have most often set, I have mostly fallen flat on my fat backside.
But Ferriss presents an interesting theory. He suggests we often mistake happiness as the desired outcome for goals. But in examining his own success with goal achievement, he reports that his most effective outcome focus is excitement.
Excitement. That is what has pushed me outside my comfort zone for this trip. You might not consider the hurdles that a Fat Girl might have to jump in order to visit the Fit City across the country. But there are many. Just to mention a few…
There are the smaller seats on her airplane and the extra hundreds she might have to pay for a few more inches of stretching space. There is the question as to how roomy the Amtrak seats are and whether she can stomach the emotional impact of waiting til last minute boarding to find out if her rear fits comfortably ….or not. And what to do if it doesn’t? There are the clothes that have to be bought in the plus-sized store down South that doesn’t equip its Fat Females with Winter-time wonderfulness.
And even when they do, her curves don’t always fit in their corpulent couture. Mostly though, there is the supposed narrative that plays over and over in her head about the wide-eyed looks she might get when her wide-waisted woman-ness meets up with the slender-seated souls of Seattle and Portland.
That is what has kept me in the comfort zone. But this year I got a taste of excitement. Over the last couple of decades, I have been hoarding away my most precious dreams. The one in which I get my masters in counseling. The one where I prove to myself that I can be the honor student I didn’t believe I could be in high school. The bigger-than-me dream that means getting published and doing presentations about creativity in the national arena. And one by one, those dreams have been coming true.
The national presentation is what takes me to Oregon to begin with. It is a dream I am having to fight my own fears to make come true. The decision was big. The conference I am attending has asked me to come because they want to recognize me for the work I have done in my field. It is a huge honor. These are the people whose work I look up to. Yet every day I am faced with re-dedicating myself to the choice I made to step out of this place where weighty people are the rule rather than the exception and step into a place where fit is in fashion.
But I choose excitement. I choose the ambiguity of living 10 days in a thinner culture. In fact, a part of me is looking forward to the adventure. I hope you will stick around as I try on this new lifestyle. I am curious to see what I will make of it. Because even though I am not sure what to expect as I step out of the box, I know that I will face it with the same creativity that I have made essential to my life inside of the box.