I had a weird moment the other day. I was walking down the street, and I saw a plump young woman coming towards me wearing a very tight and low-cut t-shirt and leggings, and I thought "wow, she looks very luscious and confident".
And then I thought, "shit, I just looked a fat woman in tight clothing in a positive way."
And then I thought, "I would never have done that a year ago."
And I realised, the reason that I was able to see this young woman's beauty, despite the fact that she clearly didn't meet modern social standards of beauty, and despite the fact that she was dressed in a way that a year or so ago I would've thought was just "unnecessary" for someone with her body type, was that I've finally, finally stopped looking at fat people in a judgemental way.
As people reading this blog will know, I've done an enormous amount of work over the past year or so in getting on top of my eating disorder, and that, I am pleased to say, has been very successful. I'm so in recovery that recently existential and work stress has resulted in me being less interested in food, not more. The only thing that still seems to be an issue is conflict with my mother, and I'm in a place where I feel I'll get on top of that too.
But all that work has been very much inward directed. I've focused very much on trying to see my fatness, if not positively, at least neutrally, and it's working. I don't criticise my looks any more. I've even been out without make up on, which isn't something I've done since I was fifteen. I'm much more relaxed in my body, and unconcerned about what other people may think of it. (Weirdly, because one of the results of stopping binge eating has been that I've lost weight, my skin has lost some of its elasticity, and if I sit the wrong way, I get kind of soft wrinkles on my boobs, and yet I am able to look at them and go "eh", and then touch them and go "ooh, soft".)
This would not have been possible a year ago.
And now, it seems that the internal has turned outwards, and now I can look at other fat people without judging them. I'm ashamed to admit it, really, but I've been absolutely horrible about it in the past. They (whoever they are) do say you hate most in other people what you hate most in yourself, and so when I hated my own fat, I would walk around hating other people's too, especially when they apparently felt no shame in flaunting it.
It was liberating, actually. So fat girl in the tight clothes, I salute you. You were beautiful and should be proud of yourself.