Today was a tough day emotionally. Several instances of insensitivity really got me into an introspective mood. There are a lot of things that have been on my mind today, and I’ve been pondering thoughts regarding the perception of others. Specifically, how obese people are perceived by those who look at them.
I’m writing this while I’m completely emotionally charged. I might curse and say things that I later regret, but I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t get it out there (at least for a short time). In fact, this post may suddenly disappear in the future.
I’ve always believed that every joke or tease has an element of truth to it. So even when somebody says “just kidding!” after a mean comment, there had to be something they believed about the remark as a reference point. Teasing never just comes totally out of the blue. I also believe that some topics should never be teased about.
Honestly, I can take a joke about 97% of the rude remarks people make about me. Like about my big boobs. Yes, they’re always in the way. Come up with anything dumb to say about it because I’m comfortable with my mammary largesse. I’ll usually laugh at anything you have to say. But I don’t know ANYONE who is 100% comfortable with joking criticism about weight and health.
While I’m aware that my body is disgusting to many people, I know that I’ve done my very best over the last two decades to get to a healthy weight. I try to dress well for my body shape, I bathe and I’m properly groomed, I know how to accessorize and make myself look pretty amazing. So when I hear people say “you’ve let yourself go” or they tell me I’m lazy, it honestly pisses me off. If I’d let myself go, I’d probably weigh double what I do now. If I was a lazy person, I would have zero muscle tone nor tolerance for exercise.
Not only do many people assume obese people are lazy, they also assume that they are dirty and smelly, dumb and uneducated, have no common decency, or that you have some kind of invisible disability. But as the old saying goes… if you ASSUME, it makes an ASS of U and ME.
I am aware that some people are just mean to others because it makes them feel better. Case in point: there is an annoying fake Twitter account that was set up to mock me. It’s basically a guy version of me, but much more crass. I know who is behind it, and it’s a person who will always be nice to my face, but watches my blog and social media feeds like a hawk to find fodder for his tweets. He’s a flat out bully. I joke that he’s either totally in love with me (and embarrassed about it) or feels so awful about himself that he found an easy target. His latest tweet was likening my surgery blog and pictures to him getting a penis enlargement, and how he’s so vain he’ll be tweeting pictures of it. Really classy.
I know some are scared of being seen with a fat person or of fat people in general. Cacomorphobia is a fear of fat or obese people, who are literally being terrified of being around a fat person without a rational reason. I’m certain I’ve been avoided just for that reason – some people are scared of me. I often feel shunned in social situations because people try to act like I don’t exist. Or people think I will be dangerous or “a liability” to them.
As you can see, I’m very sensitive to the way others perceive and treat me. Much of my time in the therapist’s chair is dealing with painful experiences from insensitive people, and trying to not care about others opinions. My life is already a flux between despair and euphoria, and I’m trying to not add in the hurt that others try to cause me.
But the scars are deep. I’ll never forget when a bunch of 5th grade boys in my class started chanting “Fat bitch! Fat bitch!” in the lunchroom. Fifth grade! I’ll never forget the time when my weight exceeded the point that my husband found me sexually unattractive, and the conversation that I had with him. It breaks my heart every time I smile and make eye contact with someone, and they veer off in another direction. I try to deal, and I try to forgive, but I’ll never forget.
My plea to you? BE NICE. Treat others with kindness and give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to imagine yourself in others circumstances, and act respectfully. And remember to keep your words sweet and tender, because tomorrow you may have to eat them.