Betty Rose Dudley is writing a superb series on LiveJournal, recounting her memories of the early days of fat liberation in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s. The first post can be found here. Keep clicking “next entry” at the top of each page to see the next moving installment.
Just to lure you in, here’s one bit of Betty’s experience after hearing singer Sylvia Kohan sing for the first time:
“I masturbated and I cried, and I started to heal from wounds I’d never let myself feel before. It was as if my whole being was numb and starting to wake up, like when your foot or hand goes to sleep when you lay on it wrong. That night I began to wake up and come alive, to heal, and to stop holding my breath because of the tension created around being fat. I began to stretch and take up my space; space in a world that was beginning to grow and expand and become big enough to accommodate me. I began to make a world that fit; where I fit. I also stopped accepting the idea that this was a world that didn’t fit me, because if that was true, and I had let it become true, well now it was time to make alterations. And so I began my life, and I stopped dreaming about becoming thin. There were so many other dreams hiding behind that one ill-conceived notion that you had to be thin to live. I dreamed them all, and lived many of them, and they are now my stories.”
Just as Silvia Kohan’s work did Betty good, Betty’s work now is already doing good — in a context not of desperation but of delight. Betty’s (and our) friend Serene, responding in part to Betty’s memories, told this story:
So I was walking across Sproul Plaza this morning, feeling pretty, when it suddenly dawned on me that to a lot of people who see me every day, the fact that I’m fat means I’m automatically not pretty. I actually stopped in my tracks for a second.
Then I laughed and kept walking.
I felt pure joy for a minute, because I think my “ugliness” is kind of funny, probably because I think it’s imaginary, artificial, Man-made (as in The Man), and So. Not. About. Me.
Life is good.
If you have stories of your introduction to fat liberation, or size acceptance, or anything that opened you up to the world, we’d love to hear them.