Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fat Rage!


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:

I'm hungry.
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.

Or

Try drinking more water.

Or

Try this meal substitute.

Or

WHATEVER.

Fuck off.

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?

Do you...

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 caf├ęs? 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.
I hate.
I wish.
I can't.

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,
Deb x

25 comments:

  1. Very well said and I know what you are going through. I love eho I am now though I didn't always but people can be so mean. I think you are amazing and always will.

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    1. Thanks Bec Bec. You are pretty damn amazing too! Mwah! <3

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  2. The part about having a strategy that worked...until something interfered. YES. When I got sick and had no idea for months what was wrong or why I felt like someone had been beating me with a stick constantly, I kept trying. And failing. I couldn't do what I'd been doing. It sucks, having to choose between "take care of my kids, dog, house" and "work out so I'm more fit and not seen as lazy."

    *solidarity*

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    1. This should never happen! As if we aren't under enough pressure already!

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    2. You know, sometime I'm gonna write this: A badass, sexy, fat femme just being awesome at life. And eating whatever they damn well feel like eating. It'll be a short fiction, LOL.

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    3. Haha! :D It'd be a damn fine story!

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  3. I LOVE THIS...EVERY FUCKING WORD!!!!! You absolutely nailed it!!! If it were so damn easy I would be 130 pounds and well hopefully taller (lol) but seriously it so fucking hard, so depressing and it makes you want to never buy clothes, never go out to eat and just enjoy cause ppl can't leave the comments and the looks they give you at the door!! Can I not enjoy my life like they are?? Thank you Debbie for writing this! ❤️❤️❤️����❤️❤️❤️����❤️❤️❤️����

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    1. Hugs! Yes to all of that! And hey, we're in it together, if nothing else. ;) And thank you. <3

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    2. Thank you!! Banding together!! Hugs!!!

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    3. And when you do find clothes they aren't cute....

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    4. No, they're not. :/ I don't mind so much as I prefer unisex styles, but then it's buying men's clothes instead and they're totally the wrong shape!

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    5. Ooh, we can magically pick our height, too? Because I want to be shorter, actually. I'd love to be a pixie like my kid.

      Agreed on the clothes not being cute, too. :( Or those companies that specialize, but you have to sell your firstborn to afford so much as a shirt. I keep getting ads for this one company, so I clicked the link. $70 for a freaking t-shirt???? What is that nonsense?

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    6. That's insane! I'm a total cheapskate with clothes - or as much as I can be when I can't buy run-of-the-mill stuff.

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  4. Yep... most of that sounds like I could have written it. Yes!! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for reading. :) There's got to be a lot of us feeling like this.

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  5. I never understood the need of some people to know other people's business and to want to interfere in it, but I do know people who just have this compulsion to ask: "Are you dieting? Are you exercising?" like they have to know that you're doing something about it or they can't even look at you. You have a cold, they ask: "Have you taken something for it?" as if you were suffering like a martyr until someone suggested this? Or as if your suffering is somehow annoying them. As if you've never done anything for yourself, or used your own initiative? It's shite, but it's their problem, I think, not ours, and our business is definitely not their business. The same people ask things like "Why did you dye your hair bright red? Wouldn't a normal colour suit you better?" "Wouldn't a bit of make up help cover up that spot?" and think they are giving kindly advice. It is quite sad that some do actually think they're being nice. They don't stop because they can't. They have to question, as if they can't be content unless you fit into one of their little boxes made of ticky tacky.
    So, yeah, hugs to you and an aggressive fuck-the-lot-of-them fist pump.

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    1. I almost want to put together a list of personal questions I could ask back! ;)

      Thank you. *fist pumps in solidarity*

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    2. Good heavens, yes. Why do people think it's okay to ask personal questions, ever? And not just us, but if we have children living at home, they're apparently fair game too.

      -Why did you get your hair cut so short? I liked it better before.
      -Why do you let your son take dance classes? Wouldn't he like a real sport better?
      -Your child is good at [XYZ]. Have you considered this [less "girlie" activity] instead?
      -Maybe your son would be interested in the military. That'll teach him some discipline.
      -Have you tried [vitamins, a sun lamp, more exercise, gluten-free, more sleep, etc.] to cure your chronic pain?

      UGH. I'm sure we'll get lots more next week, since Older Child has now asked to dye his hair blue right after the dance recital. Some nosy-nobody is going to tell me it's "bad for him." And some equally nosy-nobody is probably going to tell me what a "cool parent" I am and that I'm "doing it right" for letting him dye it. I'm not aiming for approval any more than criticism.

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    3. I just...
      I can't...
      Grr.

      Blue hair is cool, just sayin'. I'd love to dye mine blue, but it's too dark. :(

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    4. Yeah, mine too. J's is probably too dark for the shade he wants. He did a deep blue at home last summer, and it looked fab. He wants more of a bright blue this time, so he may have it lightened first.

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  6. Thank you. I am in exactly this situation. I can't exercise because of disability. I love food. I try. Every day is a battle of should I or shouldn't I?
    Yes I lost a lot of weight 20 years ago, but it crept back on and now seems stuck.
    I am 60 this week. I doubt it will ever be a case of me being thin, maybe not even thinner, but I am a good mum and doting grandmother so I take heart from that.

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    1. And isn't that what matters? All of those other things we are - parents, grandparents, friends, workers, *people*!

      You're awesome! WE are awesome. :)

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  7. My deatest Debbie

    First, Thank you! I live with all of that you write about every day... every singel damn day and its horrible. That's where second comes in, and I have to say I'm sorry for your pain because I know what pain it is you're feeling I hate knowing that is How you feel.

    I hate myself, the self loathing so severe I never look myself in a mirror, reflecting glass and very seldom agree to being in pictures.

    The shame I feel having to show myself in public is like constanly being humiliated. Just like you I struggle every day and have to live with feeling guilty every time I eat.

    I'm sorry this is how society makes you feel because you're consuderat, fun, intelligent, compasionate and such an amazing friend and I love dearly! ❤❤❤ love me

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    1. I'm sorry you go through this too, Phetra. It sucks. :( We just have to remember - it's them not us. Hugs.

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  8. As the girl who was NEVER skinny, I can so relate. I had times when I was closer to average when I was younger, but even at my skinniest, I was still what qualifies as a "Plus sized model" or about a US size 14-16 "Misses" [never a Junior size... always had too much hip and chest for that]. Now, in my post-pregnancy, late 40s, I am closer to a Venus of Willendorf than a di Milo. I live in terror of needing a belt-extender on the seat-belts because of the stigma involved. I watch my food choices because I can still hear my grandmother's "fatty-fatty-fat" if I wanted a second helping of some food...

    Love you, Debbie. I really wish we'd been able to head over to Liverpool this past spring.

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