Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just call me 'Squatch.

So I'm reading about this Australian teen* who has decided to compete as a sumo wrestler, which is awesome. Pictures of her can be found here, and as always, if you treasure your brain, don't read the comments. I discovered the story at another website, and the thing that kept causing synapses in my head to continually misfire were the vehement assertions that there's no WAY in shrieking hell that this girl could be healthy, and that if she's 280 lbs. at 14, her legs are going to crumble and she's yet another ticking time bomb.

Thing is, though, when I was 14? I was 260 lbs., and 'Lantic Ocean, I'm still here. Which is, apparently, a miraculous, borderline fictitious thing.

I topped out at 5'9" when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. I was always taller than most of my classmates, and certainly larger than most of them. Being built like a brawler was a distinct advantage when I went through my "Kissing Monster" phase. No, I wasn't 31 at the time--for whatever reason, when I was five or six, I decided the best game in the world would be to run around the playground and try to kiss as many boys (and girls, I was an equal-opportunity Kissing Monster) as I possibly could. A teacher, Mr. Rossi, would eventually put a stop to my kissing by telling me (not unkindly) "the boys don't like it when you do that!"

Oh, irony.

But I was a bruiser from birth. There isn't a photograph of me in existence where I'm not fat, either as a child, adolescent, or adult. I never had a glorious, storied "skinny" time in my life. And what struck me most about Samantha-Jane Stacey when I looked at photographs of her was Jesus H., she looks like me. She's got more boob than I do and bless her hamstrings and flexibility, she can crouch so beautifully. But yeah, Samantha-Jane's got some Nolan in her for sure. The other thing that I dig is that she isn't sitting back and being the sad fat kid in the corner like society would prefer her to be. She is out and rocking all 280 lbs of herself in a male-dominated sport and she is aiming to win.

I've seen commenters getting tight about her competing in an "adult" sport. If that's so troubling, then I'd like to see some hand-wringing over kids playing ANY sport whatsoever. Sports injuries among kids are an ever-increasing problem as kids are being pushed to compete harder and harder long before they're physically (or mentally) ready to handle it. I can't help but feel a vibe that there's far less hang-wringing about the notion of kids being involved in such sports as baseball, football, gymnastics, or track because those are sports where 98 percent of the participants "look right". Sumo is a sport dominated by men (and perhaps one day, women) who aren't going to be on the cover of GQ wearing an Armani suit while fashion models are draped over them. Sumo wrestlers are seen as walking punchlines, not muscular warriors of sport.

And, since everyone on the internet has a medical degree, over and over again the following is declared as True Facts:

*It is simply IMPOSSIBLE that she's healthy
*It is simply IMPOSSIBLE that she's going to be able to walk by the time she's an adult because there's NO WAY her leg bones could POSSIBLY carry 280 lbs
*It is simply IMPOSSIBLE that she can't lose weight

As I mentioned before, I was probably clocking in at 260 lbs. at 14, and I'm obviously a mythical creature like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster because I can ambulate just fine. I can jump, I can skip, I can dance the hootchie-koo. Even when I was 320 lbs, I could walk, jump, do stairs, all the benchmarks set by the Internet Doctors as being signs of health. It seems like a DUH at this point, but just to remind the planet: you cannot determine what someone's health status is by simply looking at them. Unless you have superpowers that include being able to analyze a person's innards and outnards with a mere glance, when you open your yap and declare in dramatic, operatic tones that so-and-so CANNOT POSSIBLY BE HEALTHY, you sound silly (and not fun silly). The unfortunate thing is that there are so many people thinking they are in possession of those superpowers, opening their yaps and asserting they are able to determine on sight who is healthy and "good", the ones who do it don't realize how silly they sound. It's hard to when you're surrounded by similarly silly people.

So, rock on with your very bad ass self, Samantha-Jane. This Jane is cheering you on (I won't say "rooting" since, in Australia, it definitely does not mean "cheering you on").

*Hey, UPI, thanks for categorizing this story under Odd News, you fucking doucheweasels.


Lisa said...

Ugh, I hate the "odd news" category, too. It's either "Look! Someone's body does not conform to Western standards of physical attractiveness" or "Oh, those silly brown people, what WILL they think of next?"

Fantine said...

I topped out at 5'3" at age 12. I weighed a little over 200 at the time, and that's when I started dieting (generally by skipping breakfast and lunch).

You can guess what happened then... cycle after cycle of weight loss and regain plus some. So here I am twenty years later, 300+ pounds, still 5'3", and guess what? My legs haven't given out on me yet. And what's better, since I've discovered FA and HAES, I'm the healthiest I've ever been.

I can't figure out what motivates people like the commenters on that article. Willful ignorance is so irritating.

Gina said...

Outnards is an awesome word :D

Anonymous said...

Rock on Samantha-Jane, and Jane Jane, for being awesome, and not letting weight, or stupid doctors, or anyone else dictate to you how you should live your life.