Not a Leprechaun, Just a Fat Athlete

The athletic fatty – not a mythical creature. Photo by Richard Sabel who taught me the joys of taking off from and landing on concrete covered with a sheet.

I am a fit fat person.  When people find out about this they will typically do one of three things.

1.  Deny what is right in front of them.  I was being discussed in a fat hate forum and someone posted one of my dance videos.  Another person on the forum said – “She’s definitely a fattass [sic] but I think it’s probably difficult to spin that fast that many times in a row.” Not even able to accept this half and half compliment/insult someone replied “If she’s doing it, it can’t be hard”.  I have to admire their consistency and willingness to stick by a belief that is obviously wrong.  Wait…no I don’t. Bite me.

2.  Acknowledge that they’ve been stereotyping and re-evaluate their world view.  Ding! Ding! Ding! This is the right answer.  Although we would also have accepted minding your own damn business and keeping your judgments and stereotypes to yourself.

3.  Try to find a way to deal with my existence while hanging onto their stereotype.  This is the one I  want to talk about today.

I like to call this Leprechaun Syndrome (there are actual psychological terms for this but I just finished a 13 hour drive so we’re going with Leprechaun Syndrome – just roll with it).  It’s as if they’ve seen a creature that they previously thought was mythical.  They can accept that this one Leprechaun exists and maybe a couple more, but that’s definitely it – they are right about all the rest of them not being real.  It sounds something like this “Maybe you are fit and fat, but you are the exception – most fat people are lazy slobs who don’t exercise…blah blah blah”.

Allow me to translate “I can’t deny your existence, but I don’t want to question my stereotypes because I like them.  So I choose to believe that you are a rare exception to the fatties who I will continue to stereotype, judge and shame because I so enjoy it (or because I just accept other people’s stereotypes without question, or because it makes me feel better about myself…whatever).”

First of all, you have no idea what “most fat people” do, you are making that up in your head.  There are a bunch of active fat people – we are not mythical creatures. we don’t all have pet unicorns that poop rainbows on our lawns.  We’re just active fatties.

If you’re confused about this I understand.  When I first found out that I was “Type 3 – Super Obese” according to the BMI chart, I eagerly checked my mail everyday for a month waiting for my cape and secret identity to arrive.  That never happened – it turns out that I’m just fat.  And it turns out that fat (even “Super Obese” is just a body size and not conformity to a list of negative stereotypes, or a lack of kinesthetic awareness, proprioception, or general athleticism.  My body is big, so by looking at me you can tell that…wait for it… my body is big.  The only other thing that you can ascertain is what your judgments and stereotypes about people my size are – but that’s for you to deal with.   I’m still thinking about making that cape and wondering if I could rock Clark Kent glasses…

If I’m an exception it has much less to do with my body size and much more to do with my ability to persevere in being active despite all of the negative messages that I’m constantly given about my body – that I am obviously  lazy and un-athletic, that the same people who insist that I should exercise to lose weight then claim that they don’t want to see me work out.  Then there’s the guessing – I was visiting my mom last week and so I worked out at a gym in her town and took a “dance fit” class.  The front desk attendant showed me to the workout room and then said “Be sure to tell the teacher that you are new to exercise so that he can help you modify.”  “What would make you think that I’m new to exercise?” I asked?  She gave me a perplexed look and then gestured to my body.  “So,” I said, slightly raising my voice, “We’re just looking at people and making guesses now – you couldn’t have asked me a question?” She just said “Have a good workout” as she speedwalked away.  Now, I got my revenge at the end of class when students came up to compliment me and one of them jokingly asked for my autograph.  But that doesn’t take away from how unbelievably frustrating it is to still have people assume that I’m new to exercise when I’ve been doing it consistently since I was in the 4th grade, or to have people “encourage” that if I stick to it I’ll  “definitely lose that weight”, or to have some idiot in a coffee shop tell me that my size makes it too dangerous to dance. Even from a purely practical standpoint, it’s next to impossible for me to get affordable decent workout clothes in my size.  If I’m an exception it’s because I’m willing to play against a stacked deck, not because I can haul my fat ass around the dance floor – plenty of fatties can do that and plenty more could if given a chance to enjoy it without fear of being shamed or ridiculed.

Most of the thin people I know struggle to fit movement into their busy schedules.  Imagine having to do that while buried under a constant stream of negativity.  It may well be a miracle that fat people are choosing to be active  but it has nothing to do with our fat and everything to do with the social stigma that gets lobbed at us from every side all the time. And we know that weight loss is not the cure for social stigma.  Ending social stigma is the cure for social stigma.

While I invite people to rethink their stereotypes about active fat people, as usual I’m much less concerned about what other people think of fat people being active and much more concerned with what fat people think about fat people being active.  If you want to do more movement or be more active, then find a way – over, under, around, or through the completely whackadoodle criticisms and stereotypes that you SHOULD NOT have to deal with.  If you want to be an active fatty but you let these idiots stop you from enjoying moving your body, you are the only one who is missing out. Dance in your living room, get a group of friends together to dance in your living room or go for a swim or do yoga or take a walk – whatever you want to do. Check out Jeanette DePatie, Abby Lentz, Anna Guest-Jelley, Kelly Bliss, and Tiina Veer.  ( By the way, I’m still looking for music for my online dance classe sso  if you know of a singer/songwriter, band etc. who has the rights to their music and would like them used for my classes pretty please send them my way ragen at dances with fat dot org).

When it comes to moving our bodies,  judgmental morons only have as much power over us as we give them. These people are like evil Tinkerbells – instead of needing applause to live, they need our pain and our shame.  I say we stop giving it to them, taking our happy fat asses out for whatever movement that we enjoy, and see what happens. Bees die without their stingers, maybe judgmental assholes (or at least their judgments) do too.  I’m willing to find out.

EDIT: Sometimes people  read my work and interpret it as somehow suggesting that in order to deserve respect, or to be part of size acceptance, one must choose health or healthy habits or fitness. Of course people are allowed to choose to interpret my work as they wish and I’m not interested in telling anyone how to think.   Though I have now addressed this subject very specifically a number of times,  I did not always  do a good job of expressing it in earlier blogs like this one. If you are wondering about my views on this subject I suggest the following post as a start:

http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/health-and-size-acceptance/

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Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 10:08 am  Comments (48)  

48 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. LOVE your post and LOVE your dance videos even more! You are totally awesome! Thanks for going out there every day and making the world a little easier for the rest of us!

    I used to dance and play sports well into high school, back when I was big … Probably “obese,” but not yet “super obese.” People could usually accept it as I was young, but once I got older and things got more “serious” I started feeling the discrimination. I tried out for a new Indian dance team at my college, only to get a call saying that I had the best energy of the group, BUT … The message was clear: they thought I was too fat to dance. That experience (as well as an inconsiderate belly dance teacher) made me just quit group exercise altogether. I’ll exercise now, but it will be through walking to school or taking a bike ride: the idea of a class just has felt too humiliating.

    But … Your post makes me want to try it again! You are awesome!

    • Thank you so much! I think it’s awesome that you are thinking of trying again – there are really good classes out there. If there is a strong fat community where you life you might ask around. I’m also a fan of calling ahead and saying “I”m fat and I practice Health at Every Size so I don’t take classes where there is any talk of body shaming or weight loss – will your class be appropriate for me?” Most belly-dancing classes are – it sounds like you got a really bad teacher.

      ~Ragen

  2. I want a unicorn that poops rainbows.

    I was just thinking that every time you go for a work out or a dance class, you probably have to allow extra time to deal with either assholes or admirers. The admirers (I’m thinking people like me who know your blog and your work) probably aren’t such a big inconvenience, but knowing you’re going to be confronted and verbally chastised and thus adding extra time into your day for this must be really irritating.

    In fact, you probably have been padding your life without even realising it, even if you’re just going in for a coffee. I bet if you counted up all the little bits of time you’ve spent, from the few seconds some dipshit behind the counter spits out a little gem, to someone like that bint in your exercise class making her “you’re moving too much” comment, you’d find you’re having a shocking amount of your time pulled away from you each day by asshattery. How do you deal with that??

    • When I get issued my rainbow pooping unicorn I’ll timeshare it with you :) First of all, I have infinite tine for meeting people who know and like my work – it is the absolute most awesome experience ever and is never an inconvenience. As for dealing with idiots, I am chronically early, probably owing to the fact that I was an orchestral musician and so had to be everywhere an hour early, so I usually have the time. Also, I’m not always down for the teachable moment discussion – sometimes I’m quite a bit more abrupt. It’s all just part of my particular life experience and so I roll with it to the best of my ability.

      ~Ragen

  3. “I can’t deny your existence, but I don’t want to question my stereotypes because I like them….”

    The latter impinges on the former, so they end up denying fat people’s existence whilst talking right to it, which makes them really silly.

    I love that picture of you and never fail to feel uplifted by it, whilst I’m not interested in being athletic, I certainly see moving with as much ease as I can as flipping the bird at this mindset. Everyone should try it as a “motivator”.

    • Agreed. Those pictures of you from your profile are just stunning, Ragen. It’s great to see them up on the front page.

  4. Every time I see that video I start resembling a leprechaun because hi, I r green with envy! One day, I will be able to fit dance classes into my schedule AND afford them, one day… :P I do dance, but i am more in the schol of punch the hobbit/flail than anything coordinated… and it gets boring! I want to spin like you do! :D

    (It is funny, not, when what are valid reasons for thin or “average” people become excuses if the person is fat. Like my dance classes – “I can’t find any that my shift work doe snot conflict with that I can afford” – “EXCUSES! YOU’RE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH!” is the reply I get, but if one of my less sizeable friends would say the same, they’d get “You poor thing…” Or my valid reasns for notgoing to any of the gym s nearby and still being in the gym shopping stage -. crappy sauna, rude staf, glass walls and shitty equipment, no pool, too expensive, are all excuses. because don’t you know, fat people are not allowed to be picky. *sigh* )

    i kno i had a point here. Somewhere. Maybe.

    • i kno i had a point here. Somewhere. Maybe.

      I think I get what you’re saying.

      Like, I try to exercise every day, and I consistently manage to exercise at least 5-6 days per week. Likewise, I have a thin acquaintance (who heard about c25k from me) who’s now running 3 days per week.

      When we talk about exercise, she — maybe in the spirit of trying to be encouraging? — keeps telling me that if I just “work a little harder” and “make it a priority,” I’ll get in 7 days a week. Whether she intends it this way or not, what I get is the assumption that she doesn’t “need” to make exercise the same type of priority because she is thin.

      To be a little more pointed, the assumption that she’s already “good enough,” but that I, by virtue of fatness, can only hope to approach “good enough” if I’m perfect (where perfect is a set of moving goalposts).

      • This one drives me nuts – I feel like sometimes people think that if we’re not thin we must not be exercising enough. It’s because they don’t understand that the benefits that you get from exercise happen independently of your weight.

        ~Ragen

        • Yup. I’ve also had people make assumptions about the kind or intensity of exercise I do — again, on account of Teh Fatz. From people (who are familiar with different styles of yoga) assuming that my practice must usually be a gentler/more restorative one to folks who assume that when I say “run 5k,” I don’t actually mean that I’m, you know, running that whole distance.

          Or — since my body really likes to add muscle — that I must not be exercising “enough” if I do it and still gain weight.

      • Well, of course! I mean, obesity is a lifestyle choice afterall. One CHOOSES to be obese and the idea that an obese person can possibly be exercising is absolutely preposterous! We all know that exercise prevents obesity so if one is still obese, obviously that person is not exercising! Of course, I’m being VERY sarcastic here.

        I honestly posed the question to someone who mentioned that one should reduce as many risk factors for health issues as possible as to how one can do this when 95 percent of diets fail, dieting INCREASES risk factors, regaining weight increases risk factors, getting gastric bypass (in which many of those who get it STILL do not get out of the obesity range of BMI) both contains AND increases risk factors. Why do people continue to focus on a number that is basically a measure of the pull of gravity on your body and not things that actually DO indicate a person’s health. *sigh* *bang head on brick wall*

      • Both exercise and healthy eating suffer from the ever-shifting “enough”. “Enough” is defined by a lot of people as “enough to make you thin”, which means that people with naturally thin bodies are judged to be doing “enough” after little or no effort and get extra credit for any further work, while fat people who don’t lose weight cannot be doing enough and are always pushed to take things a little further.

  5. I too have been overweight since the 6th grade. I am too conscious of my size wear a bathing suit, etc. Of course, at my age it’s no longer even a consideration. At 70 I’ve decided that I will just do as I please and not worry about my size. I wish I had learned this lesson while in high school.

    • Thanks for your comment! It’s awesome that you are rocking it at 70, you are an inspiration :)

      ~Ragen

  6. Any advice for those of us who do live up to the stereotype, and feel bad every time we arrive on the fourth floor panting from the stairs, because we know we’re feeding the stereotype? One of the reasons I always felt fat as a kid – even though I was stick thin – was because I was so darn clumsy. Can’t run, can’t catch, can’t dance with any semblance of grace, tend to trip over my own feet or run into walls when merely walking…

    • Most people arrive on the fourth floor a bit winded, including people who exercise and thin people.

    • You don’t owe it to anyone to not live up to that stereotype. But I am happy to report that increasing my stamina was not impeded at all by the fact that I was the kind of kid who did walk into walls and I’m the kind of adult who will never be able to dance gracefully. It just doesn’t matter. Getting better at running/climbing stairs without being winded/etc. is for otherwise healthy people pretty much just a matter of regularly doing activities that significantly increase your heart rate. But, again, if you decide not to – that’s between you and you.

  7. It’s interesting, being a Belly dancer, where most of the women IN the community are full figured, fat, different sizes, when someone gets angry they ALWAYS resort to the fat comments. Recently this one woman, who is twice my age, saw an article I wrote featuring an Xtranormal cartoon, thought it was about her and actually used Thanksgiving as a fat joke, and I quote
    “Hope you have a nice thanksgiving, but be sure not to eat too much, oops to late”
    It’s like seriously? You have seen me perform, know that I teach, know that I have performances planned, do you honestly think I care what people think about my size? Have I ever been heckled off stage due to my size, no. Have I ever NOT been allowed to perform due to my size, no. When I perform do people ignore me on stage or take intermission because “it’s the fat portion of the show” nope never. So why on EARTH do you think flinging fat hatred my way would do anything at all?
    The funniest part is that she is SUPER self conscious(shocker) and is an avid fat hater who claims to be a professional without taking a single class, ever. No formal training at all, and she teaches, performs paid gigs, etc. I think perhaps she should take more time looking at “her community” of dancers of ALL sizes, because I know in Belly dance it is almost more acceptable then other dance forms. That is more like she is surrounded by Leprechauns and insists that they still don’t exist.

    I really enjoyed this particular blog, because of how relateable it is to me, and others I know. I thank you for sharing, and I hope that one day, honestly, that reality in your other blog post “the time we lost our damned minds” comes true, and that Health at Every size IS a widely accepted reality.
    I do so hope in my lifetime I can see that. :)

  8. I really wish I was more like you, Ragen. You have such grace and poise and awareness of where each part of your body is, whereas I constantly stub my toes on doorframes and even injured my hand a couple of times while opening a door… *facepalm*

    Also, I love your refusal to give up hope that one day Size Acceptance will be the majority view. You are part of the river that will wear down the boulder of fat hatred and size discrimination, you rock!

    • My family used to call that “swanlike reflexes” a phrase a friend of mine of came up with while I was in that horribly awkward and clumsy stage.

      Ragen, I keep reading your blog and I love it more with every entry you put in. I just wish I could convince people out there that it’s not one’s weight that is a measure of health but that there are other factors involved too. All I get are people who keep saying, “Obese people have more risk factors!” and they keep repeating it and repeating it because that’s all they know. It’s frustrating and I’m struggling with feeling even remotely positive about myself right now.

      • Hi Janeen

        I always joke that I require a stage, spotlight and audience to be graceful. I was just visiting my mom for Thanksgiving and I ran into the corner of the bureau in my hotel room so much that I have a bruise right now. I think I’m going to co-opt the phrase “Swan-like reflexes”.

        As far as having more risk factors, that one drives me nuts. People of different ethnicities have more risk factors for various things, but nobody is telling us to try to be another ethnicity. Exercise is one of the things that can even out the risk factors:
        “Active obese individuals actually have lower morbidity and mortality than normal weight individuals who are sedentary … the health risks of obesity are largely controlled if a person is physically active and physically fit.”
        -The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2000

        People will get it, it will just take time, we just have to keep educating and fighting the good fight!

        ~Ragen

      • LOL Glad someone else can use the swan-like reflexes thing. Seriously, it was so bad my mother actually put me into a modeling class so I could learn how to walk. Picture awkward, pimply-faced, chubby teenager here. It was interesting but yeah I don’t think it quite did what my mom was hoping it would. lol

        And I totally agree. There are SO many things that increase risk factors that we can’t control but the issue is is that everyone feels that weight is something that can be controlled too. Interestingly enough, it’s not difficult for people to believe that one cannot GAIN weight but the idea that one cannot LOSE weight doesn’t sink in. Oh some will throw out the whole “Well, I guess for some there ARE medical reasons but for the rest, it’s really a matter of being lazy and eating crappy food.”

        It drives me nuts too. And I know that I’m nowhere near practicing the healthy habits I need to practice but at the same time, it’s hard not to feel a sense of futility. I KNOW I am NEVER going to get down to a normal BMI. My freshman year of highschool, I weighed 170 lbs at 5’5 and I didn’t look heavy; I looked curvy.

        But this post just totally nails it on the head, people honest to goodness believe that a fit and healthy obese person is as mythological as a leprechaun or a unicorn.

    • You are very kind but I am not always possessed of grace, poise and awareness. I was getting gas last night and almost bit it because there was a slight bump in the pavement. Also my ankles are double jointed so sometimes I just fall down. I’ve decided that running into things and injuring myself is just part of the life experience and I embrace it!

      ~Ragen

  9. Regan You inspire me. I still have a lot of the self-loathing that I’ve been taught since I was about 6 years old and started attending public school. It’s a hard thing to get over…but I’m trying.

    What would you suggest for those of us that do have health issues (unrelated to weight: in my case severe lower extremity lymph edema and the beginning of arthritis my spine) who want to engage in movement but find it quite painful to do so? I’ve always wanted to dance- I’m particularly fascinated with belly dancing-but I’ve never been able to manage it due to pain issues; standing for more than a few minutes at a time can have me in agony for half a day at least. Come to think of it, sitting for that long can have the same effect-it’s really frustrating. How can I enjoy my body despite that?

    I don’t expect you to have all the answers, just curious about your (or anyone else’s) take on the matter as all my doctors just pat me on the head and tell me to lose weight and my world will magically become perfect.

    • Melynn, I hope you don’t mind if I jump in on this one.

      I have had a bad back since my early twenties, arthritis runs in my family and I had a hip replacement at 47. I was supposed to have a knee replacement last week but my thyroid got in the way (long story).

      I have found that yoga therapy (plus acupuncture) are very helpful. I suggest you contact the international association of yoga therapists (iayt.org) to find a qualified teacher. Don’t go to a regular yoga class.

      Best of luck.

    • Melynn, I’ve heard that a lot of people with joint problems do well with swimming, the water takes the strain for you.

    • Hi Melynn,

      I am not an expert on your health condition so please check with someone who is about doing anything that I suggest! I wonder if you might get a beginner bellydance video (not a fitness/weight loss one but an actual dance video – help me out bellydancers…what are some good videos?) and just do what you can,a couple minutes here, a couple minutes there. You might also check out seated fitness workouts and switch between the two? Water exercise might be good as well. To me the key is to honor your body, understand that it’s amazing and absolutely not comparable to other people’s bodies and then, as long as it’s not going to cause permanent injury, try some things and see. When it comes to the doctor, I’ve found it helpful to ask “What do you recommend for thin people who have this issue?” Hope that helps!

      ~Ragen

  10. I think being stereotyped is something that every person deals with at some point in their lives. I know I have been placed in a number of them throughout my life. I think everyone has also unfairly judged someone at some point in their life as well. I have also done this as well. My opinion though is, you can always attempt to inspire those people to change their minds, (or at least tell them off for their nastiness) and if you can do that and and they apologize or change their ways, that’s great. But I think it’s important to realize that will not always happen. No matter how terrible their thoughts are or how wrong you know they are for their views about your fat body, sometimes you just gotta leave them be with their thoughts, and just move on knowing that you are awesome no matter what they think.

    Now I’m not saying I don’t assume Ragen already knows this and that she shouldn’t still try to challenge and inspire people to think before they speak, because I definitely think posts like this are important.

  11. With number 1, I’m thinking back to when there was press on the so called “fattest man to finish a marathon.” People commented saying he must have been going very slowly at such a size. Because clearly finishing a 26 mile race on it’s own is no big deal, of course. To these type of people, it doesn’t matter if you’re exercising, if you aren’t losing weight or at least attempting to do so, they are going to see it with critical eyes.

  12. I always love your blog (and your dancing). Thanks for being you!

  13. I find your blog to be very inspiring. There is nothing like seeing someone do the unexpected (being fat and athletically awesome) to open up your mind….maybe I can do that too.

  14. What a beautiful graceful dancer you are. I agree with the statement another made “I’ve decided that I will just do as I please and not worry about my size. I wish I had learned this lesson while in high school.” I told up dancing a little over three years ago, my weight didn’t change much but my body did in strength and endurance. The greatest change was not that I am no longer considered a diabetic, which in it’s self is wonderful, it’s that I can look in a mirror and love the image that is looking back at me, belly fat and all.

    • “I am no longer considered a diabetic”

      That is fantastic! And there you are showing that you are more *healthy* than you were, regardless of the weight.

      “I can look in a mirror and love the image that is looking back at me, belly fat and all.”

      And this is fantastic too! I want to be you when I grow up!

  15. I teach creative dance and movement to adult women, and I can VERIFY that size has NOTHING to do with ability, stamina, grace, or flexibility. Some of my smallest students have absolutely NONE of the above and some of them have tons, but again, that’s because, as you say, we can’t tell a damn thing by looking at the packaging.

    And…I must add…on of my larger students is the MOST embodied of ALL of my students. She is stunning to watch — one of those people you can’t STOP watching. :)

  16. Thanks for writing this. Awesome post.

  17. Excellent post, Ragen, comme toujours. Um, online dance classes? How do I get more details on this?

    • Thanks, glad that you liked it! As for the classes, they are in process – I’ll announce it on the blog when they are ready :)

      ~Ragen

  18. The unpleasant feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas is called cognitive dissonance, but I don’t know what you call the specific reactions for a counterexample to a prejudice.

    There’s another mental glitch called confirmation bias– only wanting to notice what fits with what you already believe. Ever notice how, if a fat person has a long and healthy life, they’re viewed as an exception. (Or possibly the surprise is papered over with the unprovable belief that the person would have lived longer if they were thinner.) If a thin athletic person dies young, it’s seen as you can do everything right, and still hot have it work, rather than questioning whether the ideas about doing everything right are correct.

    See also availability bias, in which the idea which comes to mind most easily is assumed to be true. Those headless fatty pictures are a way of building availability bias.

    So far as coordination is concerned, I’ve put some work into mine, which tends to be mediocre or a little worse. Part of it has been Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method– I don’t fall over my feet any more, and I’m pretty sure the reason I used to is that my legs were so tense I swung my lower leg around to the outside because my knees weren’t going forward far enough for me to let my lower legs swing straight forward. If I’d swing my lower leg around to the outside, I’d occasionally catch my toe on the ground, and fall down.

    I wasn’t working on not falling down, the improvement happened as I just tried to not have my body as a blank region.

    I find this stuff fascinating– for whatever reason, I seem to have a major project of getting moved into my body. This doesn’t mean everybody else needs or wants it, even though I’m very tempted to think so.

    Something else that’s coming clear is that probably as a result of being pushed to do things more quickly as a child, I came to the conclusion that virtue consisted of doing things more quickly than I gather the sensory information I needed to do them well, and also that I can’t move quickly and accurately.

    Getting some idea of what’s going on with my concepts of speed and movement has had a good effect on my typing– I’d been over-monitoring my fingers, and that slowed me down.

  19. Regen,

    As always, a fantastic post. I especially love this line – “If you want to do more movement or be more active, then find a way – over, under, around, or through the completely whackadoodle criticisms and stereotypes that you SHOULD NOT have to deal with.” I also have to battle my own self-stigma, which is a whole other issue.

    And thank you also for the link to the all-sizes/plus size exercise & yoga resources.

    Thanks again for all your insightful posts,

    — Buffy (Maybe I should train to be a vampire slayer?)

  20. I always find comments on fat hate blogs kind of funny. Something like, “She’s such a fatass while she works out in that video. I hate her because she’s doing something I tell her she can’t because she’s a tub of lard. I hope she dies. Doesn’t she know being fat is bad for her health?”

    Yeah, last time I checked dying isn’t that great for your health.

    Bleh.

  21. i was never a good runner but at one time i could sprint and jump for distance. i gave them up when others told me i looked ridiculous. i still ride the crap out of my bike though… and have gotten the odd comment for that too, but i can’t give it up! i love it too much! its like having a pair of wings… still makes me feel dirty when i get laughed at or yelled at.. one time someone even thew a drink at me! still its not all bad times one time i nearly had an accident when a break cable broke free and wound around the petals. i managed to save her even on ice at high speeds, as i was hooking the chain back on i heard someone behind me that nearly scared me out of my wits! turns out i pulled up right next to his house and he asked if i needed help.. when he saw what had happened he told me to wait and in five seconds he was back with bolt cutters and some plastic clip things.. he reattached the wires to the frame and i was good to go. couldn’t thank him enough.

  22. I always repost your blog on my facebook. I never got as many responses as with this post; it really resonated. I know several fat athletes, including my sister, who is also a chem major at cal poly. :)

  23. Although engaging with haters is a bad idea, I’m really tempted to insist that Mr. or Ms. “If she’s doing it, it can’t be that hard” post pictures of themselves doing the same spins. Right now. We’ll wait the two minutes or so it will take them to learn, since it’s so easy.

  24. Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting to get healthier and more active, but have basically stayed away from it out of shame. The things I love to do are dancing (even if right now I get out of breath really quickly), bike riding, and I would love to be able to run. To really learn to dance, and run, and to bike ride (as in actually outdoors) all of these require being outside and visible. Thank you for serving as an example to all of us that we do not need to be ashamed no matter what our size, weight, or fitness level! PS–You were so graceful in the video of you that I watched, it was just beautiful.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thank you so much! I know that it can be intimidating to start moving, if there is anything that I can do to support you please don’t hesitate to ask, we can always use another fathlete :)

      ~Ragen

  25. I just stumbled upon your blog through a link on pinterest and have been paging through some of your blog. Dancing has been a passion of mine since I was five. I did ballet for fifteen years and five years of pointe. I switched to modern during college because I got super frustrated by the attitudes of adults in intermediate adult ballet classes who were always looking at me as if I didn’t belong there because I wasn’t a size four or smaller. I had to quit dancing because of finances two years ago. It is crazy how I can tell someone I was in ballet for fifteen years and then watch them size me up with a what happened expression as if the fact that I did ballet automatically means I was thin then. Gyms are expensive and the classes usually don’t have people my size in them. I love dancing and I miss group classes but at this point I have resorted to dance themed workout videos. I find your blog inspiring and I am glad I came across it. Thank you for your insights. I look forward to checking out the people you linked to in this entry.

  26. It does have a name already: the dancing dog syndrome. “A woman preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs, It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” Samuel Johnson (18th century). Since applied liberally not only to dancing fat people but female lawyers, black doctors, gay engineers, what have you. Still totally current whatever the shit-upon group of the day happens to be for whatever asshole has to feel superior somehow. Sigh.


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