I finished reading Hot & Heavy propped up in bed last night, and wanted to give a full fist-pump, but didn't, because I was worried I'd clock my partner in the face.
Here's the blurb on what it's about:
In this fun, fresh, fat-positive anthology, fat activist and sex educator Virgie Tovar brings together voices from an often-marginalized community to talk about and celebrate their lives. Hot & Heavy rejects the idea that being thin is best, instead embracing the many fabulous aspects of being fat—building fat-positive spaces, putting together fat-friendly wardrobes, turning society’s rules into personal politics, and creating supportive, inclusive communities. Writers, activists, performers, and poets—including April Flores, Alysia Angel, Charlotte Cooper, Jessica Judd, Emily Anderson, Genne Murphy, and Tigress Osborn—cover everything from fat go-go dancing to queer dating to urban gardening in their essays, exploring their experiences with the word “fat,” pinpointing particular moments that have impacted the way they think and feel about their bodies, and telling the story of how they each became fat revolutionaries.
Ground-breaking and long overdue, Hot & Heavy is a fierce, sassy, thoughtful, authentic, and joyous collection of stories about unapologetically—and unconditionally—loving the body you’re in.
So that last part is really important, y'all. Loving the body you're in RIGHT NOW, not the body you had 10 years ago, or last month even. Not the body you've dreamed about, mentally projected on yourself, and spent much time, missed calories, and money on to achieve.
This body, right now.
A couple years back, when I was a bigger lady, I read a lot of fat positive stuff. I was coming to grips with being a fat, and owning that moniker for myself, and I think in some ways, I was happier. After I did my stint with Paleo and Whole30 and a whole month with only 4 rest days, I experienced what it was like to be a smaller me. It had its rewards, I'm not going to lie. I liked the pictures I took of myself. I liked fitting into more of my old clothes. I felt a sense of victory watching the scale go down, and the compliments. I fucking loved the compliments.
But it was hard too. Hard because I was constantly worried about maintaining that loss. I'd set the expectation that I was going to be a smaller self, which was easy to do, because that's the myth society has us buy into--that once we lose the weight, we'll never go back. Only 2-3% of the population that loses weight keeps it off permanently. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to keep that weight off. I gained some of it slowly back, over time. And then a big bump for pregnancy. I still have some feelings about it, honestly.
But, this book is allowing me to have a different perspective on things. It's giving me permission to be okay with the body I have now, to accept it, just as it is.
As an aside: it's interesting, claiming fat positivity. One of my friends, a larger woman herself, told me last night that I don't read as fat, which then brought up the question of "Can I claim fat positivity" for myself? Am I fat enough to be part of it?" I basically called it at anyone can claim Health At Every Size and body positivity. We are all a part of body positivity if we want to be. I just don't want to encroach on the fat positivity movement if I have any kind of thin privilege, you know? I don't want to be that guy.
I don't know what's ahead. I don't know what my body journey is going to be. I'm working that out with the help of a coach friend and a talented therapist and a lot of rest and reflection. Because as I said, when I find that I have a lot of resistance or feelings around something, it's a signal to rest. Once I rest, I have space to reflect slowly and quietly on my life, to see it from 5,000 feet, instead of what's right in front of me.
And what I know for now is this: that we can't hate ourselves thin. That loving the shit out of yourself at any size is vital--not just good, or useful, or important, but absolutely crucial to our survival in this world. We must love and accept ourselves, just as we are. That's where the journey starts and ends.