Wake up, I’m fat!

Wake up, I’m fat!

Camryn Manheim is my new hero.

I just finished Camryn Manheim’s self-acceptance manifesto, which has the same name as her one-woman show, Wake Up, I’m Fat! Though I’ve admired her from afar for years and loved her in tiny roles like her portrayal of Snow White in The 10th Kingdom, I now want to watch everything she was ever in, from The Practice to Elvis to Ghost Whisperer—most of which I’ve avoided because of other actresses I’m not particularly fond of.

In the text, we get to learn a lot about Manheim as she takes us on a journey through her life, focusing most of it on her own size. Unlike me, she was a thin child and didn’t get fat until later in life, but that didn’t stop her from encountering the same fashion fascism, discrimination, hate and self-hate, and general fatty abuse that many of us know quite well, often on a daily basis. Unlike many of us, however, Manheim has this amazing, take-no-prisoners attitude in which she refuses to be treated like a secondhand citizen.

Though she says it wasn’t always that way, it does sound like she always had the guts to tell people off at least somehow—if not about her weight, then about other injustices or just things that angered her, which is something many of us fat people simply do not have. We know that no matter what comes out of our mouths, our size will come into play somehow after the bullies of the world tore out our hearts long ago.

Manheim reminds us that our self-worth isn’t determined by such people, and that we aren’t hurting anyone—we’re just fat!—and her path toward self-love and acceptance is such an inspiring one. I would recommend this book not just to anyone who is fat and shares Manheim’s pain, but anyone altogether who could use a reminder to love him or herself. It’s a fun and funny romp through her career, her activism, and her actual discussions with her own fat—and it’s also a manifesto for anyone tired of using fat as a shield or an excuse for not living.

Yes, we’re going to continue to be discriminated against and encounter bullies—but since that is a given, and since life is so much better once you love yourself, why not do that instead of practice so much self-hate? A the actress notes, it’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s what we need to do.