Finnian Burnett


Whenever I see pictures of fat women (almost exclusively women) posted online, I inevitably see a bunch of comments about how sickening it is to glorify fat because it is so unhealthy. Bodies come in all degrees of health. There are skinny unhealthy people and fat healthy people and everything in between. If you are using the illogical fallacy of fat being unhealthy to fuel your hatred, you might as well go onto a page of people with heart disease and spout off about how ugly their chest scars are. At any rate, if you’re the kind of person who goes to the comments on posts like that just so you can talk about how unhealthy fat people are, please stop reading this post. You are too stupid to grasp any of what I have to say after this.

I’ve spent a lot of years overcoming the sad effects of a society that punishes people for being fat. There are those who think they mean well such as the “you have such a beautiful face” crowd and the well-meaning mother who struggles with her own self-esteem and pushed new diets on me from the age of twelve. There was the time my sister, also a victim of the bias against fat women, told me that I better lose weight before high school because if I wanted to be in the marching band, I was going to have to get changed in front of everyone else in the band. In fourth grade, we had class weigh ins right in front of the whole class and everyone tried to see what mine said. Throughout middle school and high school, other kids oinked or mooed at me on a regular basis. Once, when jogging, a man actually slowed down his pickup truck to yell, “Don’t break the pavement, fatty” as I ran by. I walked home and didn’t run again for many long years. I absorbed every comment, every snide remark, every well-meaning, but still cutting aside.

As an adult, I set about trying to comes to terms with my fat body, even while putting it through the hell of every diet I could find. I ate nothing but grapefruit. I did the cabbage soup diet. Once, I lost sixty pounds and bought clothes in the “normal” stores and still thought I was ridiculously fat. And ugly. I equated fat with ugly back then. I joined a group of women who purported to be about size acceptance but really consisted of a lot of sad women sitting around talking about how much it sucked to be fat.

I had relationships in my twenties, but I attributed that to people who just fell in love with my personality and put up with the fact that I was fat. In essence, I didn’t love myself, so it didn’t occur to me that someone else could love me just as I was. Of course, because of that, I drew people who didn’t love and embrace me the way that I was. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fast forward to the age of 38 when I, though a positive and loving woman, was not doing well. I was in a long term relationship with someone who did not celebrate me. I was a two pack a day smoker. I was a daydreamer, but not a doer. I had moved to a beautiful Caribbean island and I loved a lot of things about my life there, but I wasn’t treating myself with respect and care.

One day, I decided that had to change. I was tired of hating my body. I was tired of being afraid of what people had to say about me. I was tired about not going to Zumba classes or refusing to go for a swim because of the way certain people looked at me.

It was a slow process. I started by quitting drinking. Then I quit smoking. I started hiking with my soul friend, Aj. We took huge hikes up the sides of gigantic hills that I thought might kill me. I knew it was the best way to keep from going back to smoking. I started meditating. I became a vegetarian. Eventually, I left that dead end relationship and moved back to the states.

And something amazing happened. I grew to love myself. I didn’t just love myself in spite of my fat body. I loved myself AND my fat body. I went to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival where I saw women of every shape and size and age and color and ability laughing and loving and dancing and celebrating themselves and me. I fell in love with my own breasts, the weight of them, the way they felt when I lifted them in my hands. I grew to love touching the soft skin of my stomach. I admired the strong and fat curves of my butt. I expressed gratitude for my big thighs that have carried me this far in my wonderful journey. I made love with womyn with the lights on. I refused to be with someone who didn’t love my body the way it was. I set my boundaries and my boundaries involved only being involved with womyn who celebrated and cherished me. And since I’m not a hypocrite, I applied that same rule to myself. I celebrated and cherished myself.

Then something even more amazing happened. I realized I wasn’t just talking about it. I was living it. I celebrated women of all shapes and sizes. I didn’t feel defensive around women with thin bodies or athletic bodies. I didn’t equate skinny with beautiful and I didn’t equate fat with ugly. I started to see through the patriarchal bullshit that insists women be in competition with each other. I started to call out instances of fat shaming, or any kind of shaming of women for their bodies. I stopped watching anything to do with celebrities and I refused to look at fashion magazines and I realized that I have gotten out of the Matrix. That all of those people who think that they have the right to tell women what they should do with their bodies are poisoned in their minds. They’re sick. They are the unhealthy ones. The people who yell “fatty” at a jogger or sneer at a fat person in an exercise class or peer into someone’s cart at the grocery store to see what kind of food they’re buying or purposely go to a page about fat acceptance to leave idiotic comments about fat being gross and unhealthy or lift their eyebrows when they see a woman with hairy legs or write off older women as useless or refuse to see any woman who falls outside of the standard societal expectation of pretty as just that. They are the sick ones. They’re what’s wrong with this society. Those people who feel they somehow have a right to hate someone based on the way they look.They’re hurting our society and they need help.

My journey continued until I was not only loving myself the way I am, but teaching other women how to do the same. Women who have felt too old, too skinny, too muscled, too fat, too wrinkled, too scarred. Women who, like me, have been told that they are not enough the way they are. Women who wore the negative opinions of this sick society.

I learned that I’m beautiful. More importantly, I learned that I am worthy of love and happiness and respect and desire. I learned that I am a woman in every true sense of the word and anyone who can’t understand that isn’t worth my time.

Finally, today was the culmination of all of my self love work. I’ve been telling women of every size and shape that they are beautiful for years. Today when I opened a link to look at the pictures of Leonard Nimoy’s fat nudes and I realized that I thought every single one of them was incredibly fucking beautiful. I felt it down to my very soul. These women were divine and miraculous and beautiful and worthy.I’m not sick anymore. I’m not warped by this sick society. I’ve won. I’m healed. You can be, too.

15 thoughts on “Why I Love my Fat Body – And Why You Should, Too.

  1. Bridget L says:

    Great post, Beth. Very inspiring! 🙂

    1. bethsnewlife says:

      Thank you, Bridget. 🙂

  2. laycegardner says:

    Beautiful blog. I hope it goes viral. So many women need to read this, ingest it, believe it, live it.

    1. bethsnewlife says:

      Thank you! I hope they do…. My goal in life is to help women to see their own worth. We can do this.

  3. Beth, I love you ! I’ve struggled with my weight for years !! I’m not where you are yet but I’m working on it, and I want to be you when I grow up !!!
    You are beautiful ; )

    1. bethsnewlife says:

      You are a beautiful and amazing woman and I love you!

  4. James Gates says:

    Beautiful post! You really nailed it when you mentioned the patriarchal bullshit that requires women to compete. Competition has caused more suffering in human history than any of us could imagine. Thank you for sharing.

    1. bethsnewlife says:

      James, yes! Thank you for your response and for understanding that calling out the patriarchy doesn’t mean calling out you as a man.. I tell the women in my self love classes that comparison is a form of self harm. When we are comparing ourselves to others, we are either falling short or considering them *less* than us…. either way is not loving or compassionate. Women definitely are required to compete with each other, whether it’s for a man or in the way they look and dress. I’m so glad I’ve broken out of that, but honestly, it is a constant battle.

  5. Fatisick says:

    Well done and well done everyone praising this rubbish.
    You are promoting and glorifying obesity.
    I hope you feel truely wonderful knowing you are now a part of causing more child hood obesity .
    You are disgusting

    1. Moonlight says:

      I think your attitude is disgusting. Good job promoting hatred and bias in the world.

    2. Mika Osipoff says:

      fat is sick?

      you had the chance to start a discussion about a big topic (no pun intented) but instead…you just manage to show everyone that you are a hatemonger.

      advice for next time “if you cant say anything nice…then just shut up”.

  6. dandelion says:

    Good for you! That’s why I first went to fest- to see other wymyn’s bodies. I am 5’9″ and at the time weighed about 130#. I saw only fat.
    I am glad you are happy in your life. That’s the whole of the reason we live.

  7. Thank you for this. I can’t imagine feeling this way. I’ve fought my fat for years and still feel disgusted and ashamed by it. I envy you.

  8. Dear Beth: Thank you so much for this post. We see so rarely the moment that women are able to heal and free their own spirits…and I love the ferocity of your self-love and your freedom. You bring to mind a quote from Toni Morrison: “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

  9. Andrea says:

    I am very happy for you Beth. I think every one has her/his own story. Lucky the ones that find/found their paths. Shape/ look does influence people. And people get stared at for different reasons, though none is justified (English?) in my opinion.

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