Just home from the UQ Women’s Collective Diversity Week event “Embracing our Bodies” and I wanted to share with you all the piece I did tonight. I had an amazing evening, some robust discussion and overall the event had a really positive and inclusive vibe to it. To those of you who attended and came up to speak to me, thank you all, it means a lot to me to be received positively in a world that generally tells me I am less than human because of the shape and size of my body.
I know it was of high emotion for some attendees, a couple of you came to speak to me and I’m really honoured, thank you so much for sharing yourselves with me so openly. Honestly, I was deeply moved by what I saw was courage for some of you.
Anyway, without any further ado, here is the piece I gave tonight. I hope it connects with you all and that you don’t feel so alone.
You are not alone.
Wait until you lose weight. That’s what they say. When you lose weight, then you will get a great job, live in a nice house, wear cute clothes, travel the world, boys will like you, you’ll be happy.
I’d settle to be treated with respect. You know.
To be able to walk down the street without being called disgusting by a guy with his finger buried to the second knuckle up his nose.
To be able to eat in public without people sneering and calling me a fat pig while my thin date eats three times as much as me and still picks off my plate.
To sit on a bus without people clucking their tongues and clutching their pearls at the fatty who takes up too much space, while the dudebro on the seat opposite spreads his legs akimbo to showcase his enormous imaginary testicles.
To go to the doctor and be treated for whatever it is that made me go there in the first place, a sore throat, a sports injury, crippling menstrual pain, a lump in my breast… without being handed a diet and being told to wait.
Oh I’ve waited. I waited for 35 years.
I waited through diets and meal replacements.
I waited through grapefruit and cabbage soup and two days on/one day off fasting.
I waited through “appetite suppressants” that were legal amphetamines that made me not sleep or eat or even drink water for four days solid.
I waited through over 20 years of sticking my fingers down my throat and purging what little I allowed myself to eat.
I waited through stealing laxatives from chemists and supermarkets because they had all worked out my little scam of buying a few at a time in many locations so that they didn’t know what I was doing with them.
I waited through calorie counting and carb counting and fat counting and doing it lite and easy.
I waited through Weight Watchers.
I waited through months spent in gyms and public pools, pushing myself until I passed out or vomited or preferably both.
I waited through the walking. Walking for hours every day, in the morning, during lunch, of an evening. Walking until my feet bled and my knees gave out underneath me. Walking until I broke a pedometer that couldn’t count enough steps.
I waited through nutritionists and doctors and psychiatrists who read my food and exercise diaries and said “You must be lying, you need to tell the truth in these diaries.” I had lied. I put more food and less exercise on there than I had actually done, because I knew they wouldn’t believe me anyway.
I waited through decades of being told that I couldn’t possibly have an eating disorder because I was “obese”. Through countless blind eyes turned towards my restricting and purging and exercise mania, because what is considered disordered in thin people is considered a “lifestyle change” in fat people.
I’ve waited through losing my friends and almost losing my job because all I thought about or talked about night or day was “I must lose weight.”
I waited through chalky teeth and shitty metabolism and permanent damage to my intestines.
I waited through crippling depression and rock bottom self esteem and suicidal thoughts because I was never good enough unless I could lose the weight.
I’ve waited long enough. I waited so long I forgot to live.
So I stopped waiting. I forgot about waiting and I embraced my weight. I stopped waiting for others to give me the respect I that is my human right and I gave it to myself. I wrapped my arms around my full, fat body, I embraced my prodigious belly, my thick thighs, my mountainous bosom, my chunky arms and all my glorious chins.
I got tattooed, I got a lover, I got a promotion, I got a passport, I found my voice, I got a life.
How long will you wait?