So I had this weird dream a while back. I dreamed of this lady I know who has recently lost a lot of weight using this fad diet product. We were at some fair or something sitting on bleachers made of feather mattresses. And she was laughing at me–smugly–because she wasn’t making the feather mattress bleachers squish down the way I was. It pissed me off in the dream. And it pisses me off in real life.
In the dream she was “pitying” me. And I didn’t like it. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me or thinking “oh she’d have such and such going for her if only she wasn’t so fat.” I know that’s what some people think. Some “normal” people either feel disgust for fat people, feel sorry for us, or feel relieved that they themselves aren’t fat. Sometimes all of the above applies. There are exceptions of course–obviously not every “normal” person is like this– but I think that’s how a lot of people in our society feel about fat people. Or maybe that’s just what I’ve “learned” from personal experience.
I remember friends I had growing up. Man, if I could go back and do it all again the very first thing I’d do is ditch those friends. I think those early relationships really screwed up how I think in so many negative ways.
Anyway, these friends were always complaining about how “fat” they were, which was totally ridiculous because they were anything BUT fat. They were those chicks that would whine because you could see where their bras hugged their bodies if they wore tight shirts. Apparently that was “fat” to them. Considering that every single girl who has ever lived and who isn’t either a body builder or someone with an eating disorder has that “bra hugging effect” going on, I look back on it and see it as the ploy for attention and vanity that it was.
But as a 14 year old it was confusing. These girls were always “skinnier” than I was, and yet they were always going on and on about how “fat” they were. I always thought to myself, well if they’re fat, then what does that make me?
These girls were always talking about people who were obese. They particularly loved to “pity” any obese girl who had “such a pretty face” if “only she wasn’t fat.” They would talk about how it was no wonder these girls couldn’t find boyfriends, and if they did, those boyfriends must be total losers, because obviously–to them–no one who was fat could have any value. These girls even talked this way about some of their own relatives.
I remember riding in a car sometimes with these girls and a guy, and the guy pointing out girls in our school who were maybe a little overweight–NOT obese–and making fun of them as we’d be driving. He’d call them “fat pigs” and comment about how disgusting they were. For a 12-14 year old girl who still had baby fat on her, this always made me cringe. I wondered what name he had for me when I wasn’t around.
It’s still painful to think about, even after all these years. A few years ago I saw the guy and he was telling me how I just “had” to go to my high school reunion so I could see all the “losers who got bald.”
Obviously for some people appearance is everything. EVERYTHING.
While I don’t see anything wrong with taking some pride in your own appearance, it pisses me off when I hear people making mean comments about other peoples’ appearances.
Because of these experiences, and because I know what it feels like to be fat, I try extremely hard to not look at someone and judge them just based on their outward appearance alone. I don’t care how fit I get–I can’t imagine looking at someone who is overweight with anything other than empathy. Not pity,but empathy.
The problem with obesity isn’t simple like a lot of people think. It’s not as easy as “put down the doughnut” or “stop being a lazy pig” like cruel people often say. The biggest obstacle to losing fat, in my opinion, is our own brains. It’s a mental issue, first and foremost, and until that is resolved, fat loss is extremely difficult to achieve and/or sustain.
People who struggle with obesity or other weight-related issues need to be encouraged, not shamed. They are people who have value and contributions to make to this world regardless of what size they are or where they are at on their journey. Recognizing that value and validating them as human beings is going to go one thousand times farther in motivating them to get healthy than all the cruel comments in the world ever will.
So here’s my point today: the biggest thing I think people can do for themselves is surround themselves with people who are going to be positive 90% of the time. Don’t surround yourself with people who judge you. You can’t avoid those kind of people all the time, but you can limit their exposure in your life.