A Fat Holiday Song

Shameless(If you’re here to listen to the recordings of the song, scroll down to the bottom!)  One of the most frequent questions I get during the holidays is about how to deal with family who are behaving badly.  For me the secret is boundaries.  I think it’s best to start by deciding what constitutes appropriate behavior.  If it’s anything other than “anything goes”  then I would consider setting some boundaries with consequences that you can follow through with.   So, for example “It is not ok to talk about my weight or eating.  If anyone says one more thing about my weight or eating I’m going to leave.”  and then, if your they fail to respect your boundaries, it’s time to go.  I’ve heard from a number of people who have done this and the common thread seems to be that they only had to do it one time and then their families started respecting their boundaries.  Of course your mileage may vary.

To serve as a reminder I’ve re-written the lyrics to “Oh Christmas Tree” to be an ode to boundary setting.

Note 1:  In order for this to work, you have to pronounce boundaries as a three syllable word (BOUND-ah-rees) If this is an affront to your sense of poetic license I completely understand, I’ll be back tomorrow with a blog sans song.

Note 2:  You’ll notice that there is no podcast of this blog.  That’s is because I cannot sing.  What I would love is for some of you to record the song (maybe on YouTube?)  and send it to me for me to put up here. Please also feel free to add your own verses in the comments…

Without further ado (and with special thanks to the members of More Cabaret for their input between full-speed run-throughs at rehearsal today)  here is my fat holiday song:

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

Don’t talk about my weight or food.

Why can’t you see it’s hella rude

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

You know I love my family

But I will leave if you fat-shame me.

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

My body’s fine, I don’t need your rants

You’re not the boss of my underpants

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

Don’t say a word to my fat kid

Or I’ll leave so fast, my tires will skid

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

Yes I do “need” that second plate

It’s not your business what I ate

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

Quit saying someday I’ll get sick

Last time I checked you were not psychic

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

The holidays are great family time

If you don’t shame, food-police or whine

Oh Boundaries!  Oh Boundaries!

You help me deal with family.

Two Readers (so far – hint, hint) have taken up the challenge of recording this piece, enjoy!

Jeanette DePatie (aka The Fat Chick) gave us an amazing opera/jazz rendition:

and Nadja killed it a capella in the middle of the night in her PJs:

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25 thoughts on “A Fat Holiday Song

  1. I can understand this perspective. I have been trying to practice setting boundaries as well and I have discussed it several times within the blogosphere about different topics. The phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” came up. In response to that, I mentioned the idea that people should be treated the way *they* want to be treated and not the way you might want to be treated and I was rebuffed with “No one gets to dictate my behavior.” What would you say in response to that?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I would say that we don’t get to dictate other people’s behavior but we do get to dictate our reaction – hence the consequences. I tell people the kind of treatment I require, and then I tell them what I will do if they don’t comply. Hope that helps!



    2. So, the person responding to your suggestion thinks that it’s not ok for them to try to be considerate of another persons’ feeling and try to treat them in a way that they don’t find offensive, but that it is ok for them to impose their chosen way of being on others regardless of how it makes those others feel? – that sounds to me like a classic case of the “I’m entiiiiiitled” whine, rather than using the brain and heart that we all came with to find some middle ground that treats both themselves and others with respect and kindness.

      No, I’m not going to behave in a way that I find morally or otherwise abhorrent just because it would conform with the way another person prefers to be treated – but I will edit and make small adjustments to my behaviors in public situations (and that includes on the internet) based on knowledge I do have of the world around me and the other people in it.

    3. I’m not Ragen, but I’d suggest this — It’s true. I don’t get to dictate anyone else’s behavior, and they don’t get to dictate my behavior. I do however, get to decide which behaviors I’m uncomfortable with, and I do get to decide how I respond to those behaviors.

      To use an example that has happened at family gatherings:

      I can ask that the host not put stuffing (a food I don’t like) on my plate. That is a behavior on my part.

      They can decide whether they’re going to respect my request or
      whether they’re going to put stuffing on my plate anyway. That is a behavior on their part; I’m not actually in control of their action.

      I am, however, in control of how I respond to the stuffing on my plate. I can ignore it and eat around it. I can reiterate my request and ask for a plate with no stuffing. I can scrape the stuffing off my plate into the garbage. I can walk away from the table, or possibly leave the house altogether.

  2. Wow. There’s something Regan can’t do?

    Well, I’m not much of a dancer, but I’m reliably informed that I sound a lot like Grace Slick when I sing. That’s why my party turn is White Rabbit… sometimes followed by Somebody to Love.

    If Yorkie does an operatic version, maybe I can do the rock diva one.

    Lovely filk, BTW.

  3. That’s fabulous, Ragen! I’m going to be singing it under my breath all day. Thank you!!!
    (And why am I unsurprised {though delighted} that Twistie is a rock diva filk singer?)

  4. (I made this as a separate post so that you could delete it after reading. In verse 3, you might want to change “you’re rants” to “your rants”. )

  5. Love it love it love it! Will be printing this to take with me to my in-laws. They get a kick out of making sideways comments at me about keeping fit and losing weight. As far as I’m concerned, their son loves me, tells me I’m beautiful and sexy, so they can just stuff their heads in the turkey and go roast themselves. I’m going to have my Christmas cake and eat it too!

  6. Cool Song! I would love to have a family gathering where nobody makes any comments about what I ate, what they didn’t eat, referring to themselves at fat pigs for eating one cookie, forcing their picky kid to eat and telling their chubby kids to stop eating. I am staying home this year!

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