All the talk in blog land about the Marie Claire blog, "Should Fatties Get a Room?" has just got me really bothered. I was really upset by the article when I read it. I was upset by the hurt that came through in so many of the comments and upset by the hate that came through in many more. In a world of social conscience and political correctness, how can it still be okay to discriminate against the overweight?
I was not an overweight youngster or teenager, so I can only imagine the pain that being ridiculed for your weight can cause a young child. I gained my weight at 25, as an adult. But as a woman who has been varying degrees of fat for the last 23 years, I have experience prejudice and cruelty, because of my weight. I do know that pain. This is something that I rarely talk about and really don't want people to know about. Hell, I'm guilty as well. I berate myself, I have been crueler to myself about my fat than I would ever tolerate from another.
The woman who wrote that article for Marie Claire, said that she has struggled with body image issues and recovered from anorexia. This woman has the same issues as I do, but they have manifested themselves differently. I remember when my weight first started spiraling out of control, when years of binging and starving finally caught up with me. I remember trying to make myself vomit, I remember trying to get past the sick feeling of hunger and get to the powerful feeling...I wanted another eating disorder than the one I had, because I felt like a failure even in my sickness. I felt like, at least the ones who are starving to death or puking til their teeth fall out get the help they need. Couldn't anyone see that we were all crazy? Couldn't anyone see that we were all dying, just a different type of death? Couldn't anyone just look at me and see that no one would choose to be this? Couldn't anyone besides me realize that the way I chose to kill myself was slow and painful....one bite at a time? Couldn't I just get skinny and well at the same time? Couldn't I just stay at my goal weight for more than an hour, just this once? Couldn't my therapist stop telling me that it's not about the food? Couldn't people just see that I am the same person, regardless of the coating around me? Couldn't this, couldn't that?
So much of my life has been spent obsessing about my issues with food, my weight, my body image. I have wasted so much of my life. It's painful being fat, I have a list of moments etched into my brain, moments were people have been cruel or moments when you realize, that even though you're the biggest thing in the room...you're invisible. I remember one incident particularly well, one of those defining moments. I was in the construction business, and we were doing a big project at a casino. One of my employees had broken a saw and needed me to bring another one to the job site. I got it and wrestled it to my car, this is a big saw, a sliding chop saw. And, I'm in a dress mind you, I pull up to the casino (it's a riverboat) and they won't let me drive over the bridge area to get close, so I call my employee to come with a cart. I can't reach him and I have to be at a sales meeting with a potential customer soon after this. So, I decide to try to carry the saw. I get it out of the car and I start hauling it. As I'm walking across the area, there are about 15 men eating or smoking off to the side and not a single one of them offered to help me. By the time I got half way there, my employee called me back and then came to meet me, he took the saw and looked at me and said, I can't believe no one over there helped you. I couldn't even respond. When I was walking back to my car I saw 2 of the men hop up to open the door for a skinny woman who was walking up carrying a poster board. When I got to my car, I cried and I cried. Never before had it been so clear to me what the world really thought of me. The world, that didn't know me, the world that did not give me the opportunity to talk my way into their hearts, the real world...and it sucked!
The woman who wrote this article said that she thought people of all sizes and shapes should be represented on TV in in magazines, but that the couple on Mike and Molly weren't just overweight, but morbidly obese (more than 100 pounds overweight) and that it was time to address how unhealthy that is. I know it is not healthy to be 100 pounds overweight, been there! But I also know that it is not healthy to be Anorexic or Bulimic. I also know that everyone, regardless of size, deserves to feel loved and respected.
The other thing she said that really pissed me off was; that if someone wanted to know how to lose weight, that she'd be happy to give them some healthy eating and exercise tips! Really? I know how to lose weight, always have, but knowing and doing are quite different. Just as I'm sure she knew how to not starve herself, but couldn't quit doing it. I guess what upsets me the most about the prejudices that accompany being fat is that often times people think if you're fat, you're lazy, stupid and weak. I'm not stupid, I'm not lazy and I'm certainly not weak! I know how to lose weight! You know, my husband uses tobacco, he knows it's bad for him, he knows he should stop, but he can't right now, does that make him lazy, stupid or weak? No, he's a hard worker, he's smart and strong, but he's addicted to tobacco. I know lots of people who have addictions and other issues, who are not stupid, lazy or weak, but troubled and addicted.
All I know for sure is that, my relationship with food for the past 30 years has been less than healthy and I no longer want to live the way I have been living. I don't want to be fat, I'm glad I got a tool to help me in my struggle to level the playing field in my fight against obesity. Do I think that suddenly when I'm thin I'll be smarter, stronger, less lazy? Do I think that I'll be a better person because I can shop in a normal store? I have mixed emotions when I think about what my life will be like as a "normal" sized woman. Sometimes I still get angry when I think about the way people have judged me without even knowing me. I hope I enjoy being there when I get there, but I don't know if I will.
All I do know is that I'm glad it's Friday and I'm glad I've got you guys!