“Fat Girl Walking” by Brittany Gibbons honestly changed my life, and today I experienced a full circle moment that I just have to share.
Four years ago today, I was at a family getaway. I was sharing a hotel room with my sister, and I remember waking up before her, making coffee and starting to read that book at a table outside our room.
I remember I was nervous to buy the book because it said “fat girl” and “being comfortable in your skin…every inch of it.” I didn’t even know those two concepts could be synonymous; growing up, society always made it seem like it had to be one or the other.
I remember feeling awakened when reading “Fat Girl Walking.” Here was a successful writer and blogger who was proudly proclaiming the fact that she was fat and basically not letting that stop her or hold her back.
I mean, what?! This was honestly so groundbreaking to me that I almost couldn’t compute or understand it.
I’d always been taught that being fat is something you should be ashamed of and that you should try to be as skinny as possible because then you could be happy and then your life would really begin.
But here was a writer around my same age who was saying basically the complete opposite. Reading her book made me cry a few times because it was really the first time I felt seen and heard in a way I’d never experienced before.
I remember feeling ashamed of the fact that I was 25 and just discovering what real self-love and body positivity were. Now I know that anyone can achieve those things at any age, but I do remember feeling ashamed of it. But how could I have felt any different when society drilled it down my throat that the way I looked was wrong and horrible and unhealthy and that I should be ashamed of my very existence?
Brittany Gibbons was the first person to show me in a big, real way what self-love was, and for that I will always be eternally grateful. Her and I are now Facebook friends, and even though we’ve only briefly talked a few times, she will always have a special place in my heart, soul and mind for helping me on my journey by her just being her.
A few months ago I randomly decided to reread “Fat Girl Walking,” and it still made me cry but for different reasons. It took me back to when I read it for the first time and remembering how I felt and how much shame was embedded in me and my life without even realizing it.
I am a fat girl. I always have been, and I probably always will be to some extent. And I’m finally coming to terms with being okay with that and even proud and confident of it and myself. Four years ago, I never would’ve envisioned that this is where my life would lead me, but I’m so damn grateful and proud of who I am today.
Not because of my size or in spite of it. I’m grateful and proud for who I am as a person, and my size doesn’t really have anything to do with that.
No matter what you weigh or where you are in your self-love journey, please read this book. Brittany bared her heart and soul in this book, and I truly appreciate that and know you will, too.
Her book is proof that sharing our own stories matters. Sharing who we are matters. Sharing about our struggles and challenges and obstacles matters. We matter. Every single one of us, regardless of body size or income or gender or anything like that. We all matter right at this very second without any qualifiers.
And that’s why I’m so proud of the work I’ve done on this blog so far and what I know I’ll do in the future. Talking about my life and what I’ve gone through and sharing the highs and lows helps me be able to document my journey in an interesting way. It helps me be able to work through different struggles and see different perspectives and pour my heart and soul out to the world and show that being vulnerable can be scary but also really rewarding and definitely worth it.
Stories are what bring us together. That’s why memoirs are my favorite genre of books because I believe everyone has a story that someone else can relate to even if their lives and circumstances are vastly different.
And I’m learning now more than ever that my stories matter, too. I always knew that deep down but I didn’t always fully, truly believe it. But now I do and it’s because of people like Brittany Gibbons who shared her life and perspective of what it’s like to be a fat girl in a world that wants us to be anything else but that.
Thank you, Brittany Gibbons, for helping me see value in myself and my struggles. Thank you for showing me that sharing our stories matters and makes a difference for people who maybe don’t even know us in real life. Thank you for being you in a society that only wants us to feel shame and fear.