Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why do I do this?

Being a fat acceptance activist or supporter is not…the…easiest thing to rock. It’s a two-fronter: you have the obvious battlefield of the mainstream media and entertainment and the weight loss industry and on and on, but you also have the internal battlefield that you’ve carried since…hell, BIRTH, it seems. Internal voices that at times seem way louder than the collective shriekers that get bent at the thought that fat people are, you know, human.

I’ve been having a bit of a time with those bastardly dastardly voices as of late, and even when I’m in one of my wiggier states, I can logic the shit out of my wigs. I’m less active than I’d like to be and I’m feeling it mentally, feeling it physically, and I have to ride the resulting grumps out and figure out some sort of activity that I like doing because I like being active and I love how it feels when I am active on a regular basis. Life has changed a bit on other fronts and I’m wrangling with that. My sister’s on a diet and she’s lost weight and WHY CAN’T I DO THAT SURE I COULD DO THAT I COULD YES I COULD PAY A DOCTOR WHOSE NAME SOUNDS LIKE “GODDAMN” MONEY FOR IT AND TAKE AN APPETITE SUPPRESSANT AND I COULD NITPICK AND OBSESS ABOUT WHAT I’M EATING FOR EVERY SINGLE MEAL *high-pitched unintelligible squeal*

Oh yeah, it’s been one of those…quarters. It’s been one of those quarters where something really, really lovely and wonderful and gorgeous and miraculous happened, but it was soon followed by the inevitable sneak-up of my brain to say, “oh hi, Jane [laughs]”. It’s annoying as hell witnessing the falling-over of people when they see someone who’s lost weight. I went to a family function recently with said dieting sister and of course, all talk went to a) how great she looks and b) what kind of failures everyone has been because they have been “bad” and need to do “something”. It’s just so…weird to stand there next to the Latest Marvel In Dieting Technology and listen to them be gushed at and know – you KNOW – the gusher is looking at you and thinking, “ugh…she’s so fat” (and not “fat” in that “it’s just a neutral descriptor!” kind of way, if you dig). And this quarter, that’s been irking me a fucking bunch. It makes me angry. It makes me very, very angry that my worth as a person is immediately negated, not just by strangers, but also by family because of my fat. I’m fucking angry that I can’t find clothes that I like. I can find clothes, sure, but I fucking don’t want to wear what I’m being told I’m supposed to like because I have a vagina. I’m fucking angry that I have to hear sloppily-researched, half-assed reports on the news just about every night about how I and people who look like me are villains and destroying pretty much anything and everything that’s good in the world. I’m fucking angry and I am tired, so so so very tired of suffering fools.

I’m fucking angry that fat people’s medical concerns are insty-treated with “lose weight”, as if there’s absolutely no other explanation for a malady. I’m fucking angry that people are actually questioning whether the nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, can do the job because she’s fat. I’m fucking angry that little kids are learning earlier and earlier to hate themselves because they don’t look like what they see on TV, in movies, or like other kids. I’m fucking angry that there are parents who are teaching their children that nothing matters more than thinness. I’m fucking angry that billions of dollars are made off the self-hate industry and that people with influence and a voice that others pay attention to buy right into it again and again and again (HI, OPRAH). I’m fucking angry that people cloak their prejudice in “I’m only concerned about your health”. And most of all, I’m fucking angry that there are women and men in the world who walk through their lives believing they’re not worth a sack and a half of shit simply because they’re fat, who wait and wait and torture themselves over and over and over again believing they’re only permitted fun and wonder and love when they’re thin.

I’m not the best blogger in the Fatosphere, not by a long shot. I suck at deeply analyzing studies and articles and reports because I get too (fucking) angry. My ability to coolly parse goes right out the window due to my inclination to go from zero to !!!!!!!!!!! in 2.3 seconds. I’m not the most strident blogger, either. I don’t have tales of getting into online brawls, spewing out facts and figures to counteract the “YOU’RE GONNA DIE BY 30 FATTY (just as an aside, I’m 37 and we’re all going to die sometime)/UGLY FATTY (well, depends on who you ask, I reckon)/NO FAT CHICKS (you got me there, sport)” vitriol. I refuse to return to the mindset I required in order to diet and I will not encourage others in their efforts to diet or have weight-loss surgery, but I’m not the person who will shriek, “NOOOOOO!” at them because ultimately, as I ask you to respect my right to treat my body as I wish and not make judgment or comment upon it, I will do the same for you. But goddammit and tarnation, I will repeat over and over again that there is nothing gained by anyone in accepting that self-hatred and self-loathing is appropriate, welcome, or a rite of passage that we should all endure. It does not make you a better person, a more “real” person, a more right person to live each day telling yourself how awful you are. The people who would gladly tell you yes, you’d be prettier/more handsome/better/more moral/”good” if you were only 10, 20, 50, 100 pounds less are not people who hold your best interests at heart. They are, plainly put, in my way of talking...jerkoffs. Those would love you conditionally – they are jerkoffs.

So why do I do this? Because I remember so, so very well how I used to feel about myself. How I cried over how ugly I thought I was, how worthless I believed myself to be, how I couldn’t possibly be loved as fat as I was/am, how many years I blew refusing to really live because I didn’t think I was allowed to. If I can get just a few people to get off that train and see – really see – that they have and deserve a place in this fucked up, goofy-ass world just as much as the “beautiful people” do, then I’ll have done something good. Maybe not earth-spinning-off-axis huge, but I can be content with tilting things a bit.


Rachel said...

For what its worth, you ain't some flash in the pan! Angry posts and angry blogging are just as important to the movement as the coolly parsed, analytical deconstructions in other blogs.

Only emotional wiriting can make other people walk a mile in our shoes, and that's just as important as making them think.

Also for what its worth, this is probably one of the best posts I've read in weeks.


Bri said...

Tilting is good. Very good.

: )

Anonymous said...

Your blog just made me cry. I read it anonymously and have done for over a year now.

Thanks Jane x

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful piece of writing.

Anonymous said...

I like reading what you have to say. :)