This is supposed to be a book review of “Fat Girl Walking” by Brittany Gibbons which is coming out in stores and online Tuesday, May 19th. I’ve read it four times since Thursday, May 14. (I’m a freakishly fast reader.) But I don’t know how much of a review this is, as it is a soul searching look into myself. You see, Brittany has taken everything I have ever felt about being a fat girl walking down the street and scrubbed it with sandpaper until I am raw and pink. I feel like a newborn who has been shot out into the waiting arms of parents who soon realize they have given birth to an angry squirrel.
This book will lead you down into your own personal rabbit hole and it is a good thing. We either avoid our rabbit hole or we stay in it out of fear. I know where I stay and my rabbit hole is about as funky as the jeans you’ve been wearing for a week that can now stand on their own.
First things first, Brittany Gibbons is as honest and funny as the day is long. I sat on my front porch the first time I read “Fat Girl Walking.” My neighbors who were out for a walk moved to the other side of the street because they thought I was in the midst of a psychotic break, complete with tears streaming down my cheeks, red faced and gasping for air. A teenager with a middle-aged gay best friend who has a white cockatoo that swears in French and drinks lowball glasses of scotch would make Jim Dial crack a smile. (If you don’t know who Jim Dial is, go to YouTube and search for Jim Dial and Murphy Brown. Please don’t tell me if you have to. I’m afraid you’ll send me straight to my first Botox appointment and I’m not sure my accountant would let me deduct it off of my taxes.)
Gibbons relives her chilhood pain — her father’s accident, name calling from her peers, and cheerleader tryouts. She shares her struggles with anxiety and the physical and emotional affects it had on her as a child and as an adult. As she lets you into her head, you realize how much she is in yours. You find parts of you in her book and find yourself noddng along, wanting to curl up next to her so you can cry and heal.
It’s that life-changing book that you want to read. Because I learned something from Brittany Gibbons and I think it is the most important lesson in this book: I want to be the woman they adjust the shots for. While you won’t have full context for that statement until you have read the book, you will soon after. I have cried my eyes out, reading that line over and over, writing it on scraps of paper and sobbed it on my husband’s shoulder. (The mascara stains are going to be hell to get out of his white dress shirt.)
Personal take-aways from “Fat Girl Walking,” complete with inner monologue.
You’re not as thin as you think you are
It doesn’t matter how good you look today, on the internet, someone is going to take the wind out of your sails. That’s a nice way of saying they’re going either stop reading you or start calling you names. Most of the time, it’s both. Which is why I don’t put pictures of myself on the Internet, because believe me, you don’t want to see me looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on my recent farm tours — it’s a sexy that only livestock appreciates, and then only if I am holding feed.
Can I be honest? I’m terrified. Of what you will think. What others will think. And I know that at the end of the day, it only matters what I think and how I feel, but when you’re 42, peri-menopausal, and are crying because there is a large zit in the middle of your giant forehead wrinkle, life gets confusing. Do I jump into a Slayer a mosh pit or sit in my rocking chair and complain about my aching lower back?
Brittany’s second rule of being fat on the Internet is taking charge of your fat on the Internet. You’re in charge of your life and you have to set terms, whether they are for you, or for others.
That really is so much easier said that done and B has done it well. I’m terrified. Which is why I want to curl up under a duvet with her. Maybe I should just give her the password to my blog and let her go click publish on all of the posts I have sitting in draft about this subject.
The Fourth Trimester
Pregnancy does a number your body. I think we’d both like to know the real deal from Gisele and the rest of the Victoria Secret’s models who’ve given birth. They look great on the outside, but is their underwear hiding the multitude of pregnancy/childbirth induced problems our granny panties do?
While I don’t have a daughter, I found that what I do regarding my weight and figure affected my son as well. For all young ladies and gentlemen I encounter, there is no “F” word. That word is “fat.” I feel the other “F” word is much more respectable.
I also avoid self-deprcating humor regarding weight as it really bothers my son and husband.
Last Cake Ever
How many “tomorrow I will eat healthy” and then you get close and personal with your friend Sara Lee? The sugar crash is hell and Krispy Kreme has the “hot doughnuts now” sign on.
It is a real thing — which is why I’m still working up the guts to be a fat woman on the Internet. That being said, skinny shaming is just as bad. We are all real women.
I’ll never look at a scallop the same way again. Want to know why? You’ll find out in Chapter 8. In other news, snorting water forcefully up your nose from a highball glass would be a lot better if the salt from your neti pot was already mixed in.
Fat Girl Walking isn’t a diet book. It isn’t one of those former fat people memoirs about how someone battled, and won, in the fight against fat. Brittany doesn’t lose all the weight and reveal the happy, skinny girl that’s been hiding inside her. Instead, she reminds us that being chubby doesn’t mean you’ll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show. What’s important is learning to love your shape. With her infectious humor and soul-baring honesty, Fat Girl Walking reveals a life full of the same heartbreak, joy, oddity, awkwardness, and wonder as anyone else’s. Just with better snacks.
Brittany Gibbons is the author of the blog “Brittany, Herself,” a body image advocate, model, author, TED speaker, media personality, internet catalyst, curve flaunter, comedian, adult summer camp owner, fashion hoarder and eater of the cold Chinese take-out in the fridge.
Want to hear more from Brittany?
Check out http://brittanyherself.com
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Disclosure: I was sent two copies of “Fat Girl Walking” from Harper Collins and am so very thankful.