RMNAAFA Member Spotlight: Debbie Brown

Debbie Brown is another gem in our RMNAAFA treasure chest. We have so many "bright" gems amongst us we are truly rich with diversity. Debbie saw that in our chapter and wanted to become a part of it. She joined RMNAAFA last June after sharing with us on our online e-mail list. She had learned about NAAFA in 1994 while living in Tucson but there was no local chapter. After moving to Denver and getting to know us by way of the online list she decided that having a local chapter here was a great opportunity and became a member. Even though she had some form of introduction to us on the online list she was still a bit apprehensive to walk into her first meeting. But that apprehension soon diminished. As she says "I had the warmest welcome I have ever received and knew I was 'home'. The group was so wonderful and made me feel at ease right away. Not to mention, as you know, this is one of the most diverse groups of charming and talented people, not to mention funny, that I have ever had the pleasure to know."

So many of us can relate to that feeling. There is a kinship between us that it readily recognizable. Many of us have said how comfortable we feel in this group. Our fat has brought us together in so many ways. Our stories may not be the same but there is that common thread, our size. Debbie remembers the feeling when she went to a NAAFA function in LA in 1994. "It was absolutely amazing! What a revelation! Having been a 'big' girl all my life (like weighing 150 pounds in the 5th grade and being placed on my first diet by the family MD at the tender age of 8). Suddenly I found myself in a room of 'my own kind' it was wonderful...it was comforting, it was almost freeing in a sense and they were having FUN!". We do have fun! When we get together as a group it is like nothing else. We can enjoy our selves without the pressure of wondering if everyone at the party is counting your fat folds. NAAFA outings are very liberating and "safe" for people of size.

Debbie was raised on Long Island New York. She received her Nursing degree in Brooklyn NY and has worked as a RN ever since. Her career background is extensive. She has worked in both acute and long term care nursing, she has been the Director of Nursing and has also taught and trained people to become Certified nursing Assistants (CNA's). While she appreciated the experience of management she knew her heart was in providing patient care and being bedside. Her nursing work now mostly involves care of the elderly and she feels that is where she belongs. "I really love working with the seniors. They are funny, loving and challenging! And I enjoy forming the long-term relationships with both them and their families. Having no family here they and my new NAAFA friends have become very important to me."

Debbie has lived in New York, Florida, Arizona and now Denver. She is an avid reader and enjoys all kinds of books from sci-fi to true life crime. She loves to dance and feels like she is becoming a BBW "bashaholic"! She went to the Las Vegas BBW bash last year with Dina and JeanMarie and hope to go again this year. She also has plans on attending the NAAFA national convention this August.

Aside from the friendships and social opportunities NAAFA has provided, Debbie feels that what NAAFA stands for and fights for are near and dear to her heart. Like many of us she has had battles to fight in regard to her weight. "Having always been a fat person all my life AND in the medical profession, which has been viewed by some as some kind of an oxymoron! I have had to fight size discrimination firsthand many times in my life. Not so much amazingly from the doctors I have worked with over the years but from my employers! I even remember having to go through some dumb kind of 'agility' test when I went for one employee physical! I had to jump around the office on one foot, I guess to 'prove' my size did not affect my physical abilities!?? But what did that have to do with my nursing skills and knowledge? Needless to say I told them to take a hike and found another position!" Good for you Debbie! It is wonderful when we have been empowered to stand up for our rights and ourselves.

Debbie's story is like so many of us. We have had the hard knocks in life but here we are, standing proud, allowing ourselves to take on life's every opportunity. Fighting the good fight for size acceptance and along the way enjoying the fellowship NAAFA has to offer. Debbie is another shinning gem and NAAFA is the treasure.

The Member Spotlight column is the work of Patti Kelly.

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