Love Your Fat Self
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When I started to pay attention to the voices in my own head, I was frankly horrified. It wasn’t only fat women on whom I unconsciously commented, it was thin women, too: That skinny girl looks like such a bitch; I bet she’s vacuous and vain. That woman shouldn’t be eating that muffin. I feel sorry for that little girl; she’s going to be lonely if she doesn’t lose some weight.
Seriously humbled by my own judgmental nature, I realized that thinking this way about other people creates an inner climate of suspicion. If I think this way about her, what is she thinking about me? Like a chronic gossip suddenly aware that other people probably talk about her behind her back too, I woke up to the fact that I was sealing my own fate of mercilessly judging and being judged, even if my participation was unspoken.
That understanding is Gareth’s gift to me. It is a daily struggle not to listen to the voices—the furtive whispers, the outdated instincts—that try to slip under the radar. But it makes me feel more generous. It makes me feel less scrutinized myself. Sometimes I sit on a subway car and look at every woman purposefully and lovingly—as if she were my mother or my best friend. It is breathtaking how beautiful they all are when I see like this.
Courtney E. Martin is a writer, teacher, and speaker living in Brooklyn, New York; www.courtneyemartin.com. Excerpted from her book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body. Copyright © 2007 by Courtney E. Martin. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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