I wrote in a conversation with someone.
My anger is tied to being part of an oppressed class of people who have been smeared in one of the largest disinformation campaigns I've witnessed. My anger is tied to the suffering I and others have bared under this disinformation and how it has stunted both medical research's efforts and the efforts of this class of individuals in finding solutions to their real medical problems. My anger is tied to the years of worrying if I was self-delusional because I didn't seem to be eating differently than most of the people I knew who weren't overweight and the years of asking friends and lovers and housemates to watch me because I was so worried somehow I was delusional and what it meant to have question my own perception and mental capacities so deeply and the long coming into realization that I was not delusional that I wasn't eating more or worse than most people. That I was eating about average amounts and about average types of food. Only for me it affected my body very differently. I am angry for the discrimination I and others face in the workplace, romantic relationship setting, and social settings that is well-documented. Why am I not being protected by the ACLU when it comes to equal pay? I am angry at the public perception that obese people are lazy overeaters when really most people I've witnessed (and I've been watching keenly a long time) do the same things and live the same lifestyles (and often worse) as those that are obese and don't have this problem. I'm angry that I had to slough off yeas of societal shame, doubt, and bullshit to reach the peace, understanding, and empowerment of knowing the truth about my condition and that despite the fact that people are wrong and society is fucked that almost every day I have to deal with shit about it from others. Though no one is going to kill me for it like being gay..on a day to day basis..I think the obese people face more adverse affects by the virtue of having been born with certain predispositions in a society whose diet exacerbates those conditions. We can't hide our condition and we're constantly discriminated due to it. I am angry at the knowing looks of friends who eat worse than me and exercise less and yet have the audacity to treat my efforts at health as if somehow I am 'coming clean' on some sort of dark secret nonexistent eating disorder.. I am angry about a lot of things and a lot of them are valid.
My anger is arising through strength and a strong sense of empowerment. My anger is linked to freedom and clarity. It's righteous and I wish all obese people would get angry and start talking more because it isn't fair.
Sometimes you need to be militant and over the top because sometimes what you are suffering is so great and so pervasive in society.. that the only way to be heard against the cacophony of societal misunderstanding is to start shouting.
I was ranting all the way home tonight in my car out loud.. and its a fire that is very motivating.
I am really tired of dealing with people who think they are educated about an issue but are clearly not. I'm tired in ways I can't even begin to express and I'm angry there are people living in shame when they haven't done anything wrong. I am angry there are people who develop eating disorders when they had none before because of the discrimination and bad treatment by others. I am angry that people of immense willpower who manage to bring their weight down significantly but can not bring it down to normal size are perceived by strangers as lacking in willpower and discipline despite the fact that they have more in their toes than most people do period. In the meantime people that are naturally skinny get lauded for their efforts when they do very little. I am angry that because of this rampant misinformation and inaccurate judgment people affected by this condition that could be in better health give up because they are judged, criticized, and discriminated against whether they are size 16 or 26 so why bother keeping with the intense amount of superhuman sacrifice and discipline to still be considered a gluttonous fattie. I am angry that skinny people scarf down fried food and don't exercise and no one considers them gluttonous because their body can handle it...because the truth of the matter is that people are more concerned with size than health. I am angry that strangers on the street feel my weight gives them permission to come up to me and make any number of comments or give any type of guidance regarding what i should eat/wear/etc. I am angry for the many years I was convinced that somehow society was right and I had an eating disorder that somehow I was screwed in this way and couldn't see it. I am angry for the intense degree of distress this caused. I feel the societal discourse around this issue is so fucked that it makes addressing it really hard. I am angry at my friends who really don't get it and think they do.
What the world be like if it was recognized as the medical condition it was? What would it be like if you could go to the doctor and there was a battery of tests to figure out the issue: folate methylation? adrenal fatigue? food allergies? estrogen dominance? thirfty gene? adenovirus? thyroid malfunction? And you could be given either medication or dietary guidelines as to how to best treat that underlying condition. What would people's experience be getting diagnosed and told they're bodies don't process food like other bodies and they need to alter their eating patterns in order to adjust to this malfunction as opposed to be told they have psychological problems and something is wrong with them? What would it be like if it as a recognized medical problem that is primarily not caused the person affected but needs to be addressed by that person for them to have an optimal life despite their condition and that the decisions each person makes like the decision to have chemo or not surgery or not or life life as a healthy size 20 that eats well and exercises 3-4 times a week are all considered their decisions to be made because people recognize what a horrible medical problem it is and how difficult to treat long-term. What if affected impoverished families were given access to extra help via better foods, gyms, etc...if work was done to make it workable for working people with this issue to do the intense amount of extra work required just to live and be normal..there are lots of ways to skin this apple..what kinds of changes would this bring to the restaurant business if it was all of a sudden known 30% of population suffered from this condition and needs X , Y, and Z.
Yes I am angry and I am perfectly fine with being angry. Society's fucked up views on obesity kept me from handling this condition for years by covering me with their shame, their judgments, their beliefs, and their discriminatory practices. It took me years of researching obesity, of interviewing obese and non-obese people, of having friends/lovers/housemates watch me and keep tabs on me, of counting calories (and even adding a few extra hundred just in case i miscounted), of exercising, of testing suplements, etc to begin to realize that my condition wasn't my fault. That I had done NOTHING WRONG. NOTHING WRONG. That I did not have a FUCKING eating disorder. I want every obese person in the world to know that feeling, to know what its like to have no need for shame or discomfort, to be armed with truth and clarity so that can take the steps they need to address the issues they have as best as they can. And I want to live in a world where those people are supported and lauded as the heroes they are for overcoming obesity the same way people that overcome cancer are lauded or for fighting it back just a bit..where that is perceived as a victory and feat of Will. I want to live in a world where making the decision to undergo surgery is seen as someone having the incredible courage, will, and willingness to radically alter their lives for the chance of living a life that most people live without a second thought as opposed to being seen as someone without willpower.
And I'm sorry that I don't have time at this point to write the mother of all articles with all the citations (spider88 you should really do this you know for all of us since you're the one going to grad school on this subject) because I'm busy trying to live my life and accomplish my Will despite this incredibility debilitating condition that I didn't anything to cause and must struggle with daily to keep under control. But I have faith that like any righteous person the truth will WIN and all y'all prejudiced mother fuckers will in this lifetime eat the words you speak. It's not my responsibility to educate you. it's your responsibility to educate yourself. I have to take a hard line these days. If you're a sizest , you're in the same lot at the KKK.I hate to have to be so hard ass but I've been oppressed for about fifteen years and it kind of wears on you after awhile..you realize that you have to shout to be heard. So I'm shouting.
Many of you propogate inaccurate perception without realizing it. You think you're being supportive when you tell your obese friend who is struggling with a diet that you're happy they are addressing their problems. You think your being enlightened when you point out that its not poor brown people's fault they are ignorant and stuff their children with bad food but actually your perpetuating both sizism and racism. Access to nutrition definitively affects health and quality of life and should be addressed. Subsidized cheap foods are often those foods that susceptible groups react badly to for sure.. but ignoring the other half of the equation still ends up placing a sizable portion of the blame on the affected parties and paints an inaccurate picture of the complex landscape around obesity, ethnicity, and poverty. By painting an inaccurate picture, you are perpetuating beliefs that are harmful to the affected parties because incomplete pictures are much easier to misinterpret. Yes, issues around food access are important. Yes, I think its interesting the government subsidizes wheat and cheese on WIC.. when I'm feeling conspiracy driven I think its a way they continue to oppress people the same way an impoverished population sensitive to alcohol is shown a means of making money that puts it in their faces all the time. Interesting things this dem der government does.
In order for this cycle to stop - people need to stop being blamed and we all just need together and go 30% of the population in American can't handle what the other 70% can. Let's call them the canaries that are the first responders to a toxic world. The canaries who respond intensely to the endocrine disruptors, pcbs, etc in our environments and the lack of adequate nutrition in our processed food. The sensitive ones that are suffering so that that other 70% might not have to. Canaries should be treated well because they give the call that something major is wrong in our system and if we keep it up it will be more than the canaries (who are sitting in the same environment, eating the same types and quantities of food as everyone else who just hasn't felt it yet) that are falling to the deleterious health effects of life in the modern west.
So yes, this is how I became a militant fat activist.
I am Veleda and I am not greedy, gluttonous, weak-willed, lazy, hedonistic, ignorant, or irresponsible. Despite sleeping 8 hour nights, eating the recommended daily average for food intake, taking my vitamins, and working out 3-4 times a week.. I am still obese.
Ok. That felt very very good to write. I think i can finally sleep.