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February 8, 2014

Big Girls Can—& Should—Dance Too. (Video).

Whitney Thore has done something brave.

Despite being obese, she has decided to love herself anyway.

When I first saw this video, I had mixed reactions—and before you judge me for judging, I should say that I am plagued by body dysmorphic disorder myself. I have spent a lifetime trying—and generally failing—to be small, and have only recently, at the tender age of 43, managed to make some inroads into the bizarre country of Accept Yourself.

I was genuinely bothered by the twin emotions that bubbled up inside me as I watched this beautiful girl dance her heart out in a way I could only hope to do in my dreams. The first emotion was good, something along the lines of “You go, girl!! Damn right!”

The second emotion was more suspect.

Seeing Thore, I wondered why the disclaimer of her having gained weight from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome was included in the article if she was so determined to “own” her size. (Not that she even wrote the article, so who knows if she knew it was included or not?) I also caught myself thinking, “If you can move like that, why don’t you just do it every day? You’d lose, like 50 pounds, stat!” And even worse, “How can you take care of your soul when your body is so unhealthy?”

Well—look who just started throwing stones in glass houses.

I have no idea why or how Whitney Thore’s weight is what it is and I don’t need to. The only thing that should matter to me when I see her is that I am seeing a fellow soul embrace herself as she is, despite the potential arrow slinging of jerks like me. The fact that my feelings were compromised has nothing to do with her—it is, obviously, a reflection of my own fears and insecurities.

My 10 year old son came home from school this week asking me what the word “gay” means. While he knew the definition, he was confused because someone in his class had called someone else gay. He didn’t understand how it could be used as an insult, since it simply—in his mind—denoted a natural and normal characteristic. I told him that people who are afraid of being gay have usurped the word and use it to put distance between themselves and the thing they fear.

My judgment of Thore is exactly the same thing. By maintaining my internal criticism– even cloaked in initial positivity—I am saying, “I am not like you. I am better than you.”

Gross.

I am grateful that I have, at least, the wherewithal to understand where my judgment comes from, but bummed that I obviously have so far yet to go on the path of self love.

That said, I watched Thore’s video several times, each time trying to hear the voices in my head for what they were; deeply embedded fears and insecurities of my own. I was unable to release that negative dialogue entirely, but it diminished a little more with each view.

I hope there will be a time when I am wise enough to simply celebrate the spiritual victories of others, without detracting from them with my own weaknesses.

Thank you, Whitney for giving me an opportunity to reflect on my own shortcomings.

 

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

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