So, it's the day before Thanksgiving and yeah, you're panicking.
Maybe you're panicking because someone at Thanksgiving dinner is going to talk mega shit about the weight you've gained or inappropriately praise you for weight you may have lost in the intervening 11 1/2 months since they've seen you. Maybe you're panicking because your brain is remembering the dieting frenzy that Thanksgiving used to usher in for years and years and you're worried that you're going to snap back into self-loathing or self-harming behavior. Maybe you're panicking because the internet has begun to explode with stories about body image and dieting and fat-free marshmallow pie and babies and grown-up life. Maybe you're panicking because you don't have family and you're tired of and hurt by the 24/7 Thanksgiving family talk. Maybe - if you're like me - you're panicking because even though holidays are allegedly supposed to be about love they always end up being about tightened anuses because love is hard and shit is complicated.
Regardless of why you're panicking I want you to know that there's nothing wrong with you for panicking. Your body and mind are reacting to what they know and remember. Your body knows we live in a fatphobic culture. If you're worried about eating and food and your body that's because you've been taught to worry about eating and your food and body. You don't need to breathe your way into self-actualization (unless you want to). You don't have to wish you were above it all. You don't have to have worked your way through all of it. And even though it might seem like you're in some kind of sad moldy tunnel with no end in sight (even if it feels like you've seen this tunnel a hundred times before), you're actually in process right now. You are actually doing and becoming.
So, do what you have to do (that isn't especially ass-holey or illegal) to survive this and care for yourself. Trust the tools you have developed. Trust your body when it tells you what it wants and needs. Give yourself those things.
If nothing else, think of the clearance canned pumpkin.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.