Weighty Matters

“Just stop eating” “it’s not that hard!” “…[we can] figure out how to eradicate [fat]” “it’s not normal to be ..[fat]”

These are just a few of the comments left on a article in The Globe and Mail, a paper that I generally really respect, and I suppose it’s not the papers fault the readers have these responses. But I can’t help but wonder if this had been an article on Bulimia or anorexia and someone was leaving comments about how easy it is to gain weight if they would be left up, for all to see, the way these ones were.

Maybe I’m sensitive to the subject, being Fat and all.

This is a current photo of me.
This is a current photo of me.

Probably the world has one big damn chip on its shoulder and it simply isn’t ready to take it off.

Weight, in case you aren’t closely familiar with the process of gaining or losing it, is not a simple matter. Unlike drugs the user can’t just stop eating. I have to eat to live. Some people develop complex relationships with food, the same way some people turn to drugs or alcohol. Some people eat their emotions away, or out of comfort. Occasionally I don’t even know why I’m eating.

I wasn’t always fat. In high school I was actually pretty average weight. I could list here all the reasons I started eating, the daddy issues and the fear of survival. I’m not going to because that is not what this is about. This is about perception.

This is about equality. Fairness. love.

When I tell people I’m fat they tell me I shouldn’t call myself that, like it’s some dirty word and instead I should say curvy, or big boned, or plus size. Like being fat is the worst thing this world could have done to me and I’d better start working out immediately. I know for a fact I eat better than some of the women I know who weight half what I do. In the last year and a half at my skinniest I weighted 220lbs, yeah, you read that right. I put it right there on the damn page.  That never stopped men from hitting on me, or people from loving me.

I remember when I told one of my friends that I was fat, we were talking about something unrelated and I remarked about how I was fat, and that it was ok. She gave me this look, I’m sure a lot of you have seen it, maybe not even about weight, but something, that pitting look. She said, “aw, honey don’t say that, your beautiful.”  And I remember thinking, what does beauty have to do with weight?

Maybe because I am fat I can see other fat women as beautiful, but it never occurred to me that being fat and being beautiful were mutually exclusive. One of my ex’s once told me, when asked if he thought I looked good in what I was wearing, that I “had a pretty face”.  I remember feeling taken aback by that, a clear declaration that he was not ok with my body, that he was not ok with my fat. Worse still is what I did to myself to try and change for him.

At some point I realized that if I was ever going to lose any weight it wasn’t going to be through hating the body I have now. And I have tough days; days when a stranger gives me that disapproving look when I drink a Starbucks coffee, or eat a slice of pizza. Like by me eating in front of them I am offending them. Guess what? If you’re stupid enough to look at something you don’t like then you deserve every single moment of me drinking my coffee, and no amount of angry stares is going to make me stop.

Often I get told how pretty I am, but then they look down, they see the belly and the hips. It’s not made any better by the Canadian fashion industry that pretty much exists to make people feel like crap about their size. Even places like Old Navy, who sell plus size clothing online, don’t do so in store. Also, I haven’t even addressed the issue I have with calling it plus sized.  I don’t call a size 2 mini-sized so why should I be plus anything? I’m just a size, like everyone else.

This world is full of image hate.  Maybe it’s time we stop.

Stop hating others based on how they look.

Body-shaming is never right. And if you’ve ever told someone they could “easily lose the weight” if they just tried harder, or had a better schedule or ate the right foods then you’ve been a part of body-shaming. Of making someone feel like crap because clearly they have no idea how to take care of themselves. Its time to stop. It’s time to let people of all sizes be loved for being who they are not who they could be if they fit your body ideal.

It took me a very long time to be ok with who I am, and even now when I go clothes shopping, when I try to find a sports bra to fit my body or a pair of jogging pants that won’t bunch or shine in all the wrong places, I’m reminded that this world is still very body centric, that companies may say they believe in people of all shapes and sizes, but good luck if you fall outside of their body ideal.

It’s not easy dealing with body issues of any calibre and I think it’s high time that we support each other instead of tear each other down. After all, we all have to live on this earth together. (at least until we invent space colonies, or are discovered by aliens.)

-Leah

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13 thoughts on “Weighty Matters

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