A few months ago, I stopped by the grocery store on my way to volunteer at Soup Saturday. There was a woman driving a car in the parking lot and I couldn’t really tell what she was doing-I waited a little while and then parked. After I parked, I realized I had taken her spot. I felt a bit embarrassed, as I usually try to be nicer to people. Before I could apologize, she lowered her window, looked at me and yelled, “At least I’m not fat!!!” I was stunned into silence. Really? That’s the first thing she thought of when she looked at me? I was hurt. I have done a lot of work on my body-image and self-esteem and still I must say it cut me to the core. Fatness should be just a describing word, but we all know what it really means in this society-calling someone “fat” means calling them lazy, smelly, incompetent, ugly, an underachiever and I am none of those things. I met this woman again when we passed at the doorway-I was leaving with two boxes of cookies and she was entering. Holding the boxes of cookies, I felt embarrassed and like a cliché. I wanted to prove to her that I am not who she thought I was-I desperately wanted to say, “These aren’t for me. These cookies are for a church event where we feed people. I help people, so don’t you see, I am more than a fat mindless-cookie-eating woman!” But I didn’t. I breathed deeply and kept on walking. I prayed that perhaps one day fatness would not be the ultimate insult to this woman and that she could have a better relationship with her body. Anyone that imagines fatness as the enemy and supreme insult must be very afraid of becoming fat themselves. I know from experience that living in body fear instead of body-love is a horrible way to live.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
We don’t need to be loud for our light to shine, we just need to follow in the way of Jesus, remembering the blessed people that we are.
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