I scheduled this post and then completely forgot about it … and it published with just my notes. Yikes! How embarrassing. Let me go ahead and write the post I meant to originally write. And let me apologize to those of you who saw the original “post” and wondered what the heck I was thinking!
* * * * *
I’m a fat woman. Some women my size and larger do not like the word fat, but I feel it is (or should be, anyway), a neutral adjective like green, or square, or fuzzy. But I suppose words aren’t that easy. That being said, I am comfortable with the word fat, and if you say to me, ‘Ebi, you’re a fat woman’, I will say, ‘Yes, I am.’
In my youth I was an average weight kid — had we had the world of BMI, I would have been in the ‘normal’ range. (Funny thing about this chart: it doesn’t go below ‘normal’, but we all know that actresses and models weigh much less than their minimum normal weight … so what are they considered, BMI-wise?)
But thanks to comments from certain people, I was led to believe I was fat, and that fat was ugly, and so I was never going to get married and have children (my ultimate dream), because fat women basically didn’t deserve to live. And that brings me to the first piece of work that extra large people must do, that smaller people do not. We have to struggle with the extra burden of other people’s hateful assumptions about us. Whether we struggle and eventually shake them off, or struggle because we can’t free ourselves from them, it’s extra work that we do.
Fast forward many years, to when I actually became fat. I found that something basic and ordinary had become virtually impossible. The ladies know what I’m talking about: clothes shopping! Forget finding something I liked and could afford — stores didn’t even carry my size! So if I wanted to merely be covered, I had to put in more effort to find the few options available to me, then I had to somehow find a way to make those hideous options look halfway decent on me. Work #2.
I could go on forever, but I’d like to keep this short. So I’m going to wrap up with a third area where the extra large have to work extra hard: at the doctor’s office. I cannot tell you how many times I had to browbeat a doctor into looking at me, into actually giving me medical care! It is both blatant disregard of their job duties and total disrespect of the patient, but there are doctors who will see that big number in the ‘weight’ slot on your chart, and not even look you in the face. They’ll tell you all your concerns stem from your weight, and that you should lose weight. Then they leave. I actually had a doctor once tell me that my I sprained my ankle because it gave way under the sheer bulk of my body — before I set her foolish self straight: I sprained it ice skating. She really wanted to send me home without even an ace bandage! Smh.
You’ll say (if you are not fat/large): why stay fat, then? And I’ll say to you, losing weight is hard for everybody. And when you have as much to lose as some of us do, it becomes a lifestyle. So you have to ask yourself: ‘Am I ready for this lifestyle? Do I want this lifestyle?’ I can tell you, I personally do not. I’ve got so much to figure out and work out in my life right now, shedding beacoup de pounds so I can sit pretty on a chart is just a distraction. I know it’s strange to think of a fat person having an actual life independent of our weight, but it’s true: many of us do.
* * * * *
As for looking at a fat person and knowing what kind of person they are; I don’t really know. I think external appearance does give us clues to hidden values and characteristics, but most of us aren’t Sherlock Holmes. It’s hard to look at two very slim people and know which one is naturally that way and which one is on a strict diet and exercise plan to look that way. Add in a third slender person; does one of them have an eating disorder? Add in a fourth, and is one of them a former fat person who had bariatric surgery and kept their pre-op weight off? It’s so hard to tell.
Or we can go in another direction, and look at a mix of average weight and fat people, and get so busy judging their bodies that we miss the fact they’re a family, and they’re hanging out together because they love each other, and family means a lot to them.
Or we can look at just a bunch of fat people, but which of these people are emotional eaters? Which thought they could eat the farm while pregnant, only for the baby weight to have the last laugh? Which was raised on fried foods and large portions, and cooks that way for themselves? Which is addicted to Popeye’s and Whataburger because they never learned to cook? Who knows.
I don’t have any conclusion here, because some things don’t have an end. I just want to get your thought juices a little bit stimulated, and perhaps give you something to talk about with your peers and family — of all sizes.