Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Content Warning: fat-shaming, profanity
Today is a Fat Rage day.
Not a Fat Shame day.
Or a Fat Pride day.
I have a book out next week*, about Jesse, who's a big guy, and much more polite about all of this than I'm feeling today.
Here's a few 'come to mind' examples that might go some way towards explaining why.
Actually, forget the examples. I've been sitting on this post for half a day, and the examples included incidents of fat-shaming of friends and their family members. The count DOUBLED in the few hours since I wrote this and then decided I wouldn't post, because my rage simmered down.
Let me tell you, it's ready to blow the lid off now.
Before I go any further, I'm NOT suicidal. I'm actually feeling quite positive today.
But that is today, and that is me. There are people in this world right now who ARE suicidal because of this. Because of fat-shaming. Because of mindless hatred and judgements people have no right to make, but when you're a fatty, you're an easy target. Fat-shaming is 'acceptable' because 'it's for our own good'.
No. It's not. And it has fuck all to do with anyone else. And when you fat-shame, you show yourself up for the shallow, bigoted unthinking creature you are.
As I start writing this, it is 1:50 p.m. Half an hour ago, these were my thoughts:
Am I hungry, or do I just think I'm hungry?
Can I afford to eat?
I rationalised that two slices of seeded wholemeal toast with butter (254 calories in total) for breakfast wasn't so bad. So I ate a cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch.
I don't remember eating it.
I was too bloody angry, but that's quite a common occurrence - not remembering I've eaten. I don't have a belly rumble now, but I don't really feel any more satiated than I did half an hour ago.
Those of you who, right now, are thinking...
Ooh, cheese is full of fat.
Try drinking more water.
Try this meal substitute.
Really, fuck off out of here and take your judgements with you.
Because most mornings I wake up thinking 'damn, I didn't die in my sleep' and the reason I'm disappointed is because I'm fat and there is nothing I can do about it.
No doubt the second wave of judgements have hit about now.
Well, you could exercise.
Or eat less.
Do you monitor what you eat?
Again, fuck off.
I've had to ask for seat-belt extenders on a plane.
I have to squeeze into toilet cubicles.
Chairs in waiting rooms and cafés? Might as well be torture devices.
I've had to walk away from shop after shop because there are no clothes in my size.
I've limped back from walking my dogs wondering if they'll make it home if I have a heart attack.
I'm dreading standing up in front of my colleagues this weekend and being judged for not being dressed appropriately because I have no professional-style clothes that fit.
If it were as easy as 'just doing whatever', don't you think I'd have done it by now?
See, I had a weight-management strategy. It worked really well for a long time - about ten years in total. I ate without thinking all the damn time about what I was eating and whether I'd eaten too much/the wrong stuff/was anyone watching me? And I exercised. Three gym visits a week; five one-hour dog walks a week. I maintained my weight. It was brilliant. Liberating, in fact!
And then my back went into spasm. No more exercise for me, and no control over my eating. I was screwed.
That was four years ago. And the healthcare professionals? Well, they don't really help much. They're too busy punishing you to offer anything in the way of real help, or, better still, acceptance.
But here's another thing. In two months, I turn 48. I've been 'struggling with my weight' since I was a teenager. Thus, I've 'enjoyed' less than half of my life without thinking constantly...
I hate being fat.
I hate myself.
I wish I could wear those clothes.
I wish I could eat.
I wish I could stop eating.
I can't go there.
I can't do that.
Now, add onto all that self-loathing:
- the constant presence of media images of slim people in beautiful clothes;
- the real dangers of being overweight;
- the fact that we live in a culture where it's acceptable to ask someone if they've lost weight while at their father's funeral! (Yes, that really happened.)
There is institutionalised fat-shaming in our schools and workplaces. Employers, teachers and all those other well-meaning never-been-through-this-hell people have NO IDEA what kind of torture it is to be asked 'how much do you weigh?' or 'what size clothes do you wear?' It is not a simple case of 'eat less, exercise more' when your entire life has been categorised as wrong.
Yes, I could eat less, exercise more. I could probably crash diet and lose a shitload of weight really quickly. But if I even think about dropping the ball, I'm done for.
The real problem is this: we've taken the average body size and bastardised the word 'norm' (in statistical terms this is the average). We use this false premise of 'normal' to judge others and ourselves as 'abnormal', because no one actually is 'normal'. No one is exactly average height, weight, leg length, head circumference, shoe size, etc. all in one lovely perfect human package.
People don't have to be that far away from 'normal' to be the victims of fat-shaming. They could even be 'normal' - or appear to be - but live with the destructive fat-shaming messages that bombard us all day, every day.
So, yes, I can make a 'real effort' and pretend to be 'normal' body size for a while, but in the end, I am not normal body size.
I will never be, however much I pretend and try to fit in.
And you, society, need to stop judging me and all of the other people like me.
Accept me. Or fuck off.
*[Find out more about The Making Of Us here: beatentrackpublishing.com/themakingofus]
Thanks for reading,