I was flipping channels this afternoon and came across “Welcome to Fatland” on TLC. Not a very happy title to my way of thinking and normally I wouldn’t have watched any of it. But at the point I clicked to it, they were talking about the resort in Mexico that caters to fat people with reinforced beds, extra large and reinforced chairs, large walk in showers, etc. etc. I’d read about this place before and to be honest, I’d actually considered going there on vacation. The idea of being not the only fat person at a resort was very appealing. But to be honest, I didn’t really want to be surrounded by other fat people, either. It’s a dilemma.
This show was apparently about 5 fat British people who came to the resort and participated in a series of “fat acceptance” workshops, with varying degrees of success. They were led by a woman named Marilyn who was the most peppy fat person I’ve seen in a long time and I found it hard to really believe that she was all that happy being fat as much as she said she was. I thought the exercises were pretty stupid (synchronized swimming? give me a break) but there were some moments where people felt really human through their fatness and those made me cry, like when the young guy got a massage on the beach and felt touched and normal.
But mostly this show made me really really uncomfortable, enough so that I didn’t watch it all. And I rarely flip away in the middle of something. Maybe I was identifying too much with it, feeling the vulnerability of those people out on a beach in a bathing suit – 5 fat people at a resort that really didn’t have that many after all.
I don’t want to accept being fat but I do want to accept being me in whatever size I am. Accepting myself now, exactly in the size I am right this minute, and wherever I end up. I don’t want my value as a person to be tied to a weight or a clothing size, which is a lot easier said than done. This show didn’t exactly help but it did make me think. Maybe that was the whole point of watching. For another take on it, read Fatty McBlog’s review from June when it first aired.