Sunday, October 26, 2014

I know how this feels...


I used to feel like this a lot... still do sometimes.

I grew up with three much older sisters.  I remember seeing them obsess over their figures when they were teenagers.  They used to go jogging all the time and always talked about dieting.  I can remember being in second grade and being lectured about my body by one of my older sisters, telling me that I needed to get into the habit of exercising and dieting so I wouldn't be fat.  I remember her telling me that I'd never been the optimal skinny size...


Me at twelve...


Me at five...
  
I can remember being obsessed with my body and weight from the time I was about eleven.  I was not obsessive enough to develop a full blown eating disorder, though I sure tried for a long time.  It took many years to stop trying so hard to be someone I wasn't.  But I would be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about simply cutting away the fat.  I know it wouldn't work with a pair of scissors... but I often wish it were that easy.  I used to starve myself all the time, sometimes to the point of passing out.  I can't do that anymore.

Last night, I was looking at the comments from a video posted by Upworthy.com.  It was a video about a beautiful woman who doesn't have the body size preferred by most people.

She's pretty and healthy, but people still feel free to comment on her size...

There's always some jerk who assumes that because someone is a certain size, they are "unhealthy".  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  There is no way one person can know anything about another person's health status unless they happen to be their doctor.  And even if they are a doctor and have examined the patient, it would still be hard to know.

I think what's really going on is that people are offended by someone who is overweight.  They see it as slovenly and lazy and they feel justified in criticizing that person for not "working hard" to fit a certain aesthetic appeal.  The issue is not concern for a person's health.  The issue is that they just want fat people to go away and stop offending them.  But they can't just tell someone that they look disgusting, so they couch it in "concern" for the person's health.  The reality is, they have no way of knowing what that person's health status is.  

I have been overweight for many years.  Yet I have never been hospitalized.  I've never had surgery.  I have not taken any prescription drugs of any kind since February 2004... and those were antidepressants, which I took in part because I was depressed over who I was.  I can walk for miles.  I rarely get sick and when I do, I usually bounce back quickly.  Sure, I avoid doctors and if I went to one, he or she would probably lecture me and maybe even give me some pills to take so I might present numbers that are more within their definition of a "healthy" realm.  You can't tell me that I cost someone money due to my body size.  At this point, I almost never use the health care system.  

Yes, it's true that I may soon end up with a chronic disease of some sort that could be related to being heavier than I should be.  However, I am already entering the second half of my life, when many people develop chronic diseases or health issues.  I'm no different than any other person in their 40s.  I may live to be 100.  My granny did and she was a size 14.  Or I may die at 81 like my alcoholic father did.  Or I may die sooner than that for any number of reasons.  The point is, some yahoo on the street doesn't know if I am healthy or not.  They only know if they find me appealing to look at.

I think it's sad that people feel that way and think they have the right to be cruel to others.  I think it's sad that the girl in the picture above wants to use scissors to cut away the extra flesh.  I know how it feels.

2 comments:

  1. My God, you were an obese child! i say that with no seriousness whatsoever, as i hope you know . Your little body was perfect in every way. Society does horrible things to womens' (and perhaps even to men's) heads about the need for 0.01% body fat, among other things.

    I don't want to blame your sisters unduly, but older sisters do a whole lot of damage in this department. i have a friend who has been fighting a full-fledged eating disorder that started when she was a skinny eleven-year-old because he 22-year-old sister, who did have a bit of a weight problem,wanted to share her misery, thought it was funny to play games with the girl's mind and point out areas where she thought her little sister's nody was fatter than it should be. This was done in the presence of parents with no one ever telling the older sister to shut the hell up. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical and therapy bills later, maybe the parents are rethinking their passive non-responsiveness. I'm not sure my friend will ever beat the eating disorder thing.

    i didn't have older sisters, but my mom was still totally on top of the body obsession thing. If I had a friend or friends over and the conversation turned to weight, my mom would tell us to talk about something else. I don't know if my brother would have teased me about being skinny, but I suspect the reason he didn't is because my mom would have bitten his head off.

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    1. I was big as a baby... almost ten pounds! But I didn't have a weight "issue" until I was in high school. I wish I could go back to those days and tell the teenage me not to worry so much about it.

      But yeah, I remember all the dieting in my family and pressure from my family to be thin. It didn't work out for me that well, though I managed to find love anyway. I think that was their main concern, besides being embarrassed for me. My family is/was very image conscious about some things.

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