I accept that I’m fat, but I typically don’t like the fat acceptance movement. Probably because there is a difference between being fat and healthy, and being fat and in denial.
I was in denial for many years. I KNEW I was fat, but I was trying to “hide” my fatness from others. I became very well accustomed to accomadating my size and limitations as so others didn’t notice. In 3rd grade, age 8, I planned out my 3 flight climb from the playground back to my classroom. Either be first in line or last. First meant I set the pace for the entire line, and last meant I could lag behind if needed. In middle school and high school it meant figuring out which desks I fit in and make sure I got to class in time to move the desk to my assigned spot if needed.
Throughout my life I was trying to prove that I could do anything despite my size. I was in the band, went to prom, went to college. At my jobs I would stay late, take extra shifts, and rarely ask for a break. Breaks are for lazy people. No matter how bad my feet hurt from supporting 400+ lbs, I wouldn’t let them seem me “be lazy”.
And it worked. Well sorta. I’ve heard from someone who saw me working before we became friends years later, and she told me she had never seen someone so fat move so much. Ah, success. Or perhaps not, my denial eventually caught up with me. I was fat, others knew it and others (some not all) judged me on it.
Nothing stung as bad as being fired because of my weight. When asked why my boss was forced to fire me I was told “some people equate fat with being lazy, it’s not right, but they do”. It was a temporary job so there was no fighting the decision. I loved working there, I had given many hours, many ideas, made an impact. And they broke up with me because I was fat.
From this I learned that proving myself wasn’t needed. I had tried so hard for people to like me, and many did, but not everyone and so in the end I wasted many hours that I should have spent on myself. I liked me, but I never made ME a priority. I’m not a mind changer.
Another thing that made me realize I need to stop proving to others that fat people can do normal things is the Fat on Fat hate I’ve experienced. You would think all us fat people should understand the challenges we face and support each other. Yeah, we’re no different than other groups…there are haters among us.
Here’s a couple of my fav hater moments:
I’m at the gym on a weight machine. I have my iPod on jamming to some tunes. This woman and her kids are talking to her husband who’s on another machine. The woman waves at me like she knows me, then starts to walk towards me. I’m thinking she knows me from somewhere, but I don’t recognize her. I take my headphones off and she says “Hi, are you having or did you have surgery”…o.k. “surgery” to fat people automatically means bariatric surgery, just like the “the pill” refers to birth control. Annoyed I reply, “I’ve had it”. She continues and asked me when. Seriously? I’m at the GYM, exercising. Leave me alone. But I’m nice like that I tell her 2003. She then lets me know she works for a doctor who can do a revision. Wow. Then like to make it better she tells me she’s had weight loss surgery. Yeah, no it doesn’t mean we’re WLSisters. You’re rude. Would it be o.k. to walk up to a stranger and say “oh I know a doctor who can fix your nose”. No, it wouldn’t. Now I know some people will say “oh she was just trying to help, because she herself knows how it feels to be obese and wanted to spread the saving word of surgery”. Let me repeat, we can only save ourselves, not others. Now if in the course of conversation surgery comes up and she mentions she had it and I ask her more about, blah blah blah. That’s a bit different. But for the love of pasta people, it’s never ever ok to approach a stranger on such a private matter.
The second incident happened the same week. No lie.
After I left the gym I went to the grocery store. I had used the whirlpool after working out so I wasn’t wearing my compression garments. My legs are discolored, swollen, not pretty but they are much better than they were 7 years ago so I don’t give it a second thought to show them in public. So as I’m picking up some lunchmeat this women in a store scooter passes by with her friend walking next to her, as they pass I hear the woman in the scooter say “Wow, check out them cankles” then she and her friend both laugh. Wow. Really? You’re in a scooter and yet have the nerve to make fun of my “cankles”. You know I could have had several come backs like “at least these cankles can walk this fatass around the store”, etc.
But it wasn’t worth wasting my time. She obviously makes herself feel better by putting others down. And I have the pleasure of making myself feel better by the things I’ve accomplished in my life, and knowing others may try but they will never knock me down.