on being fat (a small rant)

There’s a debate between the different blogs I follow with discussions about fat-shaming on one side and encouraging healthy lifestyles on the other. Depending on which website I’m on, I can either read about how horrible our fat-phobic and discriminatory our society is now or about how we’re enabling people to continue to be overweight and obese. And I usually can see points on both sides of the debate. But, as fat person myself, I tend to see my personal emotions and thoughts more along the side of how horrible fat people are treated and the difficulties there – and I’m not just talking about “society in general” here – a lot of the pain that I feel being fat comes from the people whom I interact with on a daily basis, whether that’s people at work, students/faculty I engage with, friends, or family.

Warning: I’m totally going to rant for a bit.

For example, I think some of the worst things about being fat during the holidays is listening and reading about how everyone is 1) worried they’ll eat too much during some holiday meals and gain “at least 2 lbs from that meal!” and 2) just hoping/praying/wishing that they won’t gain weight and get fat over the holidays. In other words, holidays=fat and Lord knows that being fat is like the worst thing EVER.

Every time I hear people say something along the lines of how their life will be oh-so-bad if they gain 2 lbs from that meal or their new year goal is to not be fat, what I really hear is how they can’t fathom how horrible it would be to be fat like me. I know and realize that’s not what they’re technically saying – but that’s how I feel. When people talk about how the worst thing ever about the holidays is all the weight they will gain, I kinda wanna puke. When someone says their new year resolution is to lose 50 lbs and they are totally smaller than than me, what I think about is how I must look to them since I am pretty much giantly obese in comparison.

I remember one Christmas when someone got a pair of pants as a kind of gag gift – they were hideously ugly – but the comment around the room was not just that were horribly ugly, but that they were ginormous. Huge even. And everyone laughed. Except me because they would not have fit me – as in, they were too small for me to wear. So, here’s my inner monologue from that moment,  “if those pants are huge to you all (ha ha ha – so funny), then we should totally pass around my clothes from my suitcase because then you could REALLY laugh! Oh, and fuck you.”  I know, that’s not a very nice thing to think and telling your family to fuck off (in my head) probably doesn’t gel with my “no hating” philosophy but trust me, there’s no hate there – just hurt.

Having said all of that, let me say that I get it. I do. People are just trying to be healthy and live their lives (myself included). And I do believe that we all should be able to live as we wish. I can’t control what people do or think. And please know that I am well aware of the many problems in our society that cause such a large amount of our population to be overweight  – that’s actually a huge problem that we need to address on the societal level and I can pull research that shows that (hmmm…that should be another post).

But!! I’m willing to bet that you all have people in your life who are overweight or obese (well, if you know me, I’d be that person for sure) and I think it’d be cool if you maybe just kept us in mind this holiday season. And maybe at other times of the year too? Like maybe you could not share with that person that youtube video or picture from the internet that you think is oh-so-funny that is mocking someone who is overweight? I mean, it’s your prerogative if you think mocking fat people is totally awesome, but it’d be kinda cool if you could be more considerate, you know?

*steps off soapbox*

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4 comments

  1. alibrariangirl · December 14, 2012

    OK – you have started me to ranting! You are right right right. When I see a picture of a very fat person on the Internet, connected to a news item or ad for a new diet product, I totally don’t go there. It is as if this person, one of God’s children, is on display so that I can feel superior. Pictured here not because of any great accomplishment, or the way they helped their child with homework, or helped someone carry groceries to their front door, or the way they smiled at someone earlier in the day that maybe had felt so horrible before that smile. But because they don’t look acceptable our eyes. There is more to everyone on this earth than just their size for goodness sakes!

    Maybe it comes from many years of being obese myself. When my child would come home from elementary school upset because some of the kids had been talking about his fat mom. Or walking into a store one day to buy my husband and Christmas present and the clerk met me at the entrance and said, “Oh, we don’t carry anything in your size.” Or the really good friend who constantly would point out other fat people in the mall or at a restaurant – still having no clue. Even when I would point out the “error of her ways”, she would look at me as if I had two heads!

    I am now no longer officially obese – just about officially 15 lbs overweight. I am still so sensitive about people’s notions about overweight people. Those who have never been there think they have all the answers (“All they have to do is walk 30 minutes a day three days a week and they’ll lose weight. I did.). Oh Pu-LESE. Insensitive and often inaccurate remarks about people struggling to fit in and be happy about themselves makes me very angry. Sometimes brings me to fist clinching and tears.

    Last night I went to a beauty salon – I like to do that occasionally! I went to the bin of magazines and spoke to the other woman waiting and said, “Let me look at all these women in this magazine who are so much more beautiful than I am. Oh my goodness – what am I saying?!? All women are beautiful! I want to look and see what they are wearing.” Good save.

    Work on our health and life in general is a constant journey. Each day is a new day to continue in this quest to treat others and ourselves kindly. Continue on with that journey, Melia. You do it well.

    • Melia Erin · December 14, 2012

      Yes! I, too, have had comments said to me similar to what you have shared here. I think it is the insensitivity that gets me so upset. It just makes me sad. Thank you sharing this – it’s good to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way and there are others fighting the good fight. 🙂

  2. Laura · December 14, 2012

    One of my favorites of your blog entries, Erin! Spot on!

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