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The 5 Keys You Need to Follow for a Fat and Sassy Life

According to my 75-year-old grandmother.

Fat and sassy.

Those were the words I’d hear any time I asked my grandmother how she was.

For years I didn’t understand why that was her response when she was barely five-foot and might have weighed eighty pounds soaking wet.

But as I got older I realized Grandma was the definition of fat and sassy.

She proved it in the way she carried herself, the way she spoke, the way she did everything. And whether she knew it or not, she was my first fat and sassy mentor.

These are the five keys Grandma used to live a fat and sassy life.

1. Family

As the family matriarch, Grandma was the reason we all saw each other more often then just Christmas. There were five of us granddaughters, two years apart down the line. My cousins were like extra siblings.

Grandma hosted many parties throughout the years — holidays, bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays. She even let each of her granddaughters bring over a friend on occasion for a sleepover. She’d spoil us all day and night with movies and popcorn, dinner with dessert, and no definitive bedtime.

She was a generous person who always seemed to have time for her entire family. We were always welcome at Grandma’s house.

My grandmother’s decline in health and eventual death caused many broken hearts within her family. We all had realized she was the glue that held every one of us — her three children and their spouses, her five granddaughters, her great-grandkids, and all her friends and extended family — together through good times and not-so-good times.

I’m still very close to my cousins even though we all live in different cities and several different states. We make time for one another over text, phone, or Zoom-call. The five of us are sisters through and through thanks to Grandma.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. — Richard Bach

Lesson learned:

A family is any group of people who love one another. Who respect, care, support, and accept each other. Not all families grow up together in the same house or live in the same town, or state, or country.

Spending time with family and other loved ones is important. It helps us feel connected which contributes to our overall happiness, including our mental, emotional, and physical health.

I understand the importance of a good support system. Whether for days when I appreciate someone cheering me on, or for days when everything feels terrible and I need to hear how it will all be okay, I appreciate my sisters.

Family bonds are important to continue through life. Love your special ones emphatically — help them, support them, cheer them on, spend time together. None of us knows how long we get to have them in our lives.

2. Passions

Grandma had many talents — cooking, baking, painting, crocheting, sewing, playing the piano, even interior design. She taught more than one of her grandkids several of these skills and others. She always cheered us on in whatever we took an interest in.

After marrying and moving a state away, I’d call her for cooking advice from time to time. I once called her up to ask what granulated sugar was. I’d heard of powdered sugar and brown sugar, but what was this mysterious granulated sugar?

Grandma held in her chuckles long enough to explain to me that it was normal sugar. To make it even more clear to me she added, You know, the kind we stick in our coffee.

Whatever my endeavors included I could be sure Grandma would help and encourage me in any way she could. She always had time to look at my artwork, or listen to my sister sing, or admire the sounds coming from her piano courtesy of several of her granddaughters.

With all her creative skills, she was a renaissance woman in her own right. Even when we found something we enjoyed, she encouraged us to lean into our curiosity and find more passions to explore.

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions. — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Lesson learned:

Whether delving into something for a short time or as a lifelong pursuit, creativity and art are important. Life is multi-faceted and it’s good to have multiple passions.

As we grow we find new ways to learn more about ourselves and where we fit into this world. If we stumble across something that piques our interest, we need to embrace our curiosity and take a closer look.

Many of the world’s problems have been solved due to a passionate spark of curiosity someone had. Don’t deny yourself or the world of your passions.

3. Authenticity

My grandmother could be opinionated at times. Some might have said she was stubborn, but I believe it had more to do with her living as her most authentic self. She was honest — sometimes hesitantly, most times abruptly.

Being authentic means every decision you make, word you speak, and action you take is done genuinely.

Everything in my grandmother’s home had her touch — the paint colors on the walls, the family photos framed, the classic-looking furniture, the immaculate yet often-used kitchen. All of this was her.

You only need to listen closely to your heart to begin to know how to live as your most authentic self. Every decision you make is determined by how you believe yourself to be.

Are you an honest person? Do you treat others fairly? Can you live without regret based on your decision? Will you enjoy yourself if you do this next thing?

Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. — Adam Grant

Lesson learned:

Never apologize for being yourself and standing by your values. There is only one you in the entire world. With honesty and genuineness, each of us can live authentically.

4. Kindness and Generosity

I never saw my grandmother be mean to anyone. I’m not naive enough to think she never spoke an insult in her life, but she must have understood enough to know it wouldn’t do any good for the kids around her to hear any of it.

There were far too many times I can remember Grandma being warm and kind to others whether she knew them or not.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. — Lao Tzu

Grandma was a very generous person as well — with her time and her money. She gave generously to the local food banks multiple times a year. I think she carried with her the memory of what it was like growing up without the things so many of us take for granted today.

Whether on Christmas, birthdays, or other special occasions, Grandma was generous with her gifts to family and friends as well. Her smiles and giddy excitement made it obvious she got immense joy from the packages, envelopes, and food she gave so generously.

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share. — Suze Orman

Lesson learned:

Choosing to have a generous heart will create kindness in yourself as well as in others. Being kind is the cornerstone of empathy and understanding.

And if everyone chose empathy and understanding, then discrimination, marginalization, and victimization would no longer exist. People would be accepted and supported regardless of their bank account, what they looked like, who they prayed to, or who they loved.

The urban dictionary defines fat and sassy as “happy, elated, exuberant, in a fine state physically and emotionally, couldn’t feel better, fit as a fiddle.”

My grandmother certainly didn’t always feel happy or fit as a fiddle, but her response never changed when asked how she was. Her insistence proves to me that living fat and sassy is definitely a state of mind that we can all choose to embrace or not.

Living fat and sassy simply means following your passions, loving your family, living purposefully and authentically, and always being kind and generous.

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Fat and sassy.

Those were the words my grandmother would use any time I asked her how she was. At barely five-foot-tall and probably eighty pounds soaking wet, it took me until I was an adult to understand what she meant by that.

She was a teacher of living life to the fullest, holding dear the ones we love, and embracing curiosity in everything. These are some of the things my grandmother taught me in order to live a fat and sassy life.

Follow your passions.

Notice passions has an s on it —meaning it’s plural.

My grandmother encouraged all her granddaughters to try as many things as we found interesting. Most of us ran the gamut with her encouragement — musical instruments, play-acting, drawing and painting, cooking and baking, multiple sports, science, writing, even costume creation.

And of course, if we found something we enjoyed and wanted to pursue, we were expected to do our best at it. There was an emphasis on taking pride in what we could achieve.

Grandma was a great example of this attitude. She had many creative talents that she shared with all of us. And she always emphasized the importance of details and doing a good job in whatever she was working on.

She was an excellent seamstress often creating custom dolls with fashionable clothing representative of our own clothes as kids. She included designer pockets on our dolls’ jeans, lace trim on their colorful blouses, and pearl buttons on their little purses.

Grandma was also a fantastic cook. After I moved hundreds of miles away as a young adult, she was the person I’d call when I had a question about anything that pertained to the kitchen. I still use many of her recipes today.

Not only did Grandma encourage us to try new things, but she also took her own advice. She was the example her granddaughters tried to emulate.

The takeaway:

You’ll find many new things to enjoy if you embrace curiosity. And once you find something that interests you, follow it until you’re satisfied. This might mean you lose interest, you didn’t enjoy it, or you love it and will continue having it as part of your life.

Live authentically.

When I was growing up, to live authentically meant to be honest about your thoughts, feelings, and opinions with others as well as yourself. I think today it encompasses that but also includes gender identity, sexuality, and personal beliefs.

There are broken-hearted people who live their lives without ever sharing their true self with the world because there is a real threat to their well-being. How sad it must be to live as the person you believe others want you to be rather than yourself. How frustrating, overwhelming, and daunting it must feel to know you’re not safe to live as your most authentic self.

No one deserves to live in fear of being themself.

If you’re struggling to live as your most authentic self out of fear of being mistreated, victimized, marginalized, bullied, or discriminated against, please know that there are people in this world who will accept you as you are, that someday you will find your chosen family who you will be able to be yourself with.

The flip side of this involves everyone accepting those who may be different from themselves. Accepting those who don’t look the same, act the same, pray the same, speak the same, or love the same as you. Please, allow everyone to live authentically as you want to.

If you’re not living authentically because of your own fears and hesitation — not because it is unsafe for you to live authentically — now is the time to charge forward, embrace your individual identity, and share the real you with the rest of us.

The takeaway:

The world needs the uniqueness of you as well as the uniqueness of each and every one of us. Live as your most authentic self and allow others to do the same.

Live purposefully.

You’ve heard it a million times already, but it’s worth repeating.

Life is short.

Too short, in fact, to go about miserable, unhappy, sad, or filled with melancholy. The average human lifespan is only seventy-two years.

If you’re under thirty-five and reading this, that might seem like a lot of years. But the older you get, the faster time will fly by. Don’t miss out on any of the happiness, fun, adventure, or love around you. Take note of it all, and live with the purpose to experience what you enjoy as much as you can.

Life is much more fun when in pursuit of your dreams and personal goals.

Grandma’s can-do attitude meant she never feared new projects even if she had no prior experience with them. She designed every detail of her last home’s construction because that was her dream not because she was an architect and knew how. She simply set her mind to figure it out so she could do it.

She didn’t go through life aimlessly. She dove in headfirst into the things she found fascinating. She explored what interested her. She did things because she wanted to do them — she wanted to achieve or accomplish something, she wanted to help someone or show them they were loved.

The actions Grandma took and the decisions she made were done with purpose and for a reason.

The takeaway:

Find what it is you want to accomplish or achieve and make up your mind to do it.

Always be kind.

No one gets out unscathed in life — or alive. This is why kindness, compassion, and generosity are all attributes worth embracing. Not only do they improve the lives of everyone around you, but they also improve your own life as well. They foster inner feelings of joy, self-acceptance, and pride.

Being kind has notable effects on your mood, self-esteem, blood pressure, and connectivity with others. In other words, doing good makes you feel good. And being kind fosters kindness in others — it’s literally contagious. Generosity is another positive contagion that people can catch from one another.

Grandma was a woman generous with her time, money, and love. She donated to local food pantries and other charities. She always had time to talk and visit with her family. She hosted parties so everyone could see each other and spend time together.

And because of her generous and kind attitude, she was loved and cared for. And since her death, she is missed every single day by many family and friends.

The takeaway:

Kindness matters — in person, online, and over the phone.

10 Random Acts of Kindness Anyone Can Do Even During a Pandemic

Laugh as often as possible.

Humor is a state of mind, a mood, a temperament. And it causes you to laugh or feel amused, joyful, and even relaxed. The physical and mental benefits of laughing have been studied and documented numerous times.

So trust the scientists who say laughing — another contagious act — is good for you. They know what they’re talking about.

So laugh the next time one of your kids boobytraps your kitchen sink to spray you the moment you turn it on instead of getting angry. It took some ingenuity on their part to create such a prank.

Watch a comedy next time you’re looking for a movie for date night. Sharing laughs with your partner is healthy for both of you — physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Leave behind the drama queens and chaos-creators and start hanging out with some chill, funny people.

The takeaway:

Laugh as much as possible.

Final Thoughts

Living fat and sassy means choosing the best possible version of yourself.

You only get one chance at living the life of your dreams. If you embrace the fat and sassy lifestyle, you’ll start growing into the amazing human being you’re supposed to be. And you’ll begin attracting the life you desire most.

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