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Embracing the word "F-word"

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Okay, maybe not embracing, how about dealing with, tolerating or coping with.

In the U.S., one time my three year old called his great-uncle, "fat." I was mortified. I took him aside and corrected him. "You should never use that word," I said. I was fat. I knew I was fat, but I was in denial. Fat is not allowed in American culture. Maybe I have it wrong, but if telt to me as if we were not even allowed to use the word. We all have to deny the reality if we are fat. I was unable to admit that I was fat, and I knew few people who were willing to admit it. Oh sure, I knew I needed to lose weight, but I refused to use the "F-word."

In Africa, fat is considered healthy and desirable. It is certainly not an insult, and if you are overweight, you had better get used to being called, "fat," because believe me, it will happen. At first I was really embarassed by this. Some people admired me because I was fat. One time a group of junior high kids cheered my husband when he introduced me, because he had such a fat wife. I have been occasionally complimented on my appearance. Despite my own opinion that I really look, hmmmmmm, well anyway, not at my best, shall we say.

Eventually,though, this change in culture helped me to see reality. I am, after all, fat. (Though I am happy to say, not as fat as I was two months ago! Yes!) So even though here, it was a meant as a compliment to be called fat, I never took it that way. But the fact that people were willing to use the word at least helped me get over my denial. I realized, yes, I am fat, and I need to do something about it. It helped give me the motivation to do that something.

Maybe it is not such a bad ideal to use the "F-word." I decided that I would go ahead and use it if it fits reality. It is not an insult but merely a fact. If we have too much fat on our bodies, then we are fat. So let's not get hurt feelings and mope about it (which is maybe what I would have done in the States.) NO! Let's do something about it!
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