Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So, this is a thing

This isn't exactly breaking news, but y'know...people are really fucked up about fatness.

I've spent a certain amount of time hanging around people losing weight and actually losing weight myself during the past year. Combine that with the amount of time I've spent actually being fat(ter), and you get to see a lot of shitty shit about weight.

Most of it is ugly and unfortunate and unhelpful. Also, stupid. I've developed a few observational theory type myth-y things. This is one of them:

>> Fat people think that thin people don't eat candy bars. <<

Let me explain. It's really kooky.

So, fat people beat themselves up for eating. Anything, really. The universe has told us that we are not allowed to eat anything good without feeling shitty. Like, you know, eating a piece of pie is "bad." Eating celery is "good."

So far, not so bad. It gets stupid fast.

You see, the universe has told us that (only) fat people are addicted to food. Thin people aren't (unless you have bulimia or anorexia, lucky! GEEZUS, JUST KIDDING.). According to every external message, we have some sort of sickness that makes us like macaroni and cheese (I know, right? we are AWFUL!). We "reward" ourselves with food. We have an "unhealthy" relationship with food (in that we, uhh, like it). And because we like food, we are bad. We are damaged. We have something wrong with us that is self destructive. Otherwise we wouldn't keep eating food would we? Etc. Etc. Lifetime movie ensues in which we dig around and find some boring crap from childhood to explain our "addiction to food." Blah blah blah boo hoo blah blah blah.

This is the dumbest pile of shit I ever heard. Dudes. Everyone is addicted to food. You know why? Because it tastes good. And you know why else? Because we need it to survive. AKA, I'm also addicted to AIR. So are you. ETC.

And good gawd, EVERYONE rewards themselves with food. We go out to dinner for our anniversaries. Uhh, hello, birthday cake!! Everyone. Please.

You know what's even crazier? Skinny people sometimes buy a candy bar at walgreens and they eat it without a lot of fuss. IN THEIR CAR. IN SECRET!!! Cookies too. Also, pizza. In fact, I saw with my own eyes some skinny people eating pizza LAST NIGHT. I wonder what deep emotional need they were REALLY feeding with that pizza?

So, yeah. Skinny people aren't "good" and fat people aren't "bad." But somewhere along the line that became the deal. I hate that for a lot of reasons. One is that fat people seem to believe it. They (we) believe that we have some sort of sickness.

The truth is that we walk into this life with a bunch of assets - a good sense of humor, an ability to draw horses, good speller, shiny hair. And we get a bunch of shitty stuff too - a short temper, hairy calves, thin skin, and a slow metabolism. Yay on the good, bummer on the bad. Work with what you got. Improve the shitty as best you can and capitalize on the assets. We all just do our best.

Food making you fat? Eat less of it. Bummer. It's just fat. It's not some moral depravity. Move on.

The other thing I hate about this pathology of fatness thing? It makes you dwell, well, too much. It puts you in the middle of some dramatic movie starring you! And your childhood! Also, maybe, your mother! Some family history! Self-hatred! And so much more. Sometimes -SOMETIMES, PEOPLE, it's real and there is some terrible crap hanging out in your emotional closet and you need to deal with it and not, as they say, eat your feelings. But so much of the time...eh, no. We've just swallowed the plot line whole and keep repeating it over and over.

The sad, really, sad part of this is that when you take in what the world has told you for too long...it sinks in. You believe it. You believe you're bad somehow. You run low on confidence. You think people around you have some secret you lack. They aren't "sick" or "pathetic" like you - if they were, they'd be fat too! You actually believe that you are in fact the loser the world has told you you are.

And when I say "the world" or "the universe" as a deliverer of messages I'm not talking (just) about tv and movies and what have you. I'm also talking about people. Your friends. Your fam. The people you see on the bus. etc. If anyone ever thought that their internal thinking about fat people wasn't showing in their eyes - I'm here to say: Nope. It shows. I heard ya! Loud and clear!

But, me, actually, whatever - I'm fine! I am super duper lucky. I have confidence and pluckiness and happy-ness for an army - always have. My weight was just never anything that mattered much to me, my goals, my life. I heard people's judge-y messages but preferred not to let 'em get me (MOST of the time). But, man, I might be alone on that one. So, so so many of the people I've run in to in this whole weight loss thing...not so lucky. It breaks my heart. Perfectly great people who are running around all fucked up inside because they believe everything the world has worked real hard to tell them. Such a waste of time - of life, sheesh.

Look, obesity - it's a problem. Of course. Especially this crazy childhood obesity stuff. I effing hate crappy fast foods, and all that kind of stuff AND I think most kids ought to have the amazing good fortune to play spud out in the street until it's dark (and don't come home before then, dammit).

But for grownups - somehow we gotta figure out how to separate the 10% real true health message from the 90% judge-y message. Cuz the health message gets buried in the other stuff. And the other stuff? It fucks people up in ways that are maybe worse than the health stuff in terms of contributing to the world and living happy, productive, engaged lives. That stuff matters. Probably as much as the health care stuff.

Okay, shutting up. FOR NOW. I have other Very Important things to think about. Like thrift store outfits.


  1. Mad...today is my therapy day. I always approach it with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Because I am one of the sad, fat people you write about. I was fat, got thinner, got majorly screwed up about my own sense of worth, got fat again. And I partly think it's internal wiring. I think partly there are just people who manage to get the idea early on that they are every bit as special as anyone else (that's you). There's something in your spirit that refuses to let you kill yourself with disappointment about what's different in you. I am printing out your blog today and taking it to my therapist. If she can sit and read it, I don't have to say a word. You've already said it all. Thank you.

  2. JC - thanks for your comment, as always. and you know what? you are awesome. you are one of the funniest people i know. you write like a dream. plus, you're exceptionally kind. what's not to love, my friend? fuck everyone else. take that to the therapist too, kay?