If You’re Happy And You Know It…

Published December 8, 2013 by Fat Heffalump


Every single time I’m in the media.  Every single bloody time.  And I’m sure that other fat activists get it whenever they’re in the media…

“There’s no way she’s happy with herself.”

“Nobody could be happy like that.”

“I bet any money she’s really unhappy.”

“I’m not as fat as her and I’m in pain and miserable, there’s no way she can be happy.”

“She won’t be able to walk at that size, and her knees will be really painful.  Nobody could be happy like that.”


I want to say something to all of those people – there are enough of them commenting on my blog (who are not being published because I want to spare the rest of you their misery and hate.)

Look, I get it.  You aren’t happy with yourself.  Or you think that if you got any fatter than you currently are, you wouldn’t be happy.  Your body might hurt and you might feel sluggish at whatever size you are, so you’re assuming if you were my size, then it would be worse.   You hate  how I look, so you think I must hate it too.  Maybe you hate how YOU look, and you reason that because you’re not as fat as me, then there’s no way I could be happy with myself.

But here’s the thing.  We’re all different.  What my body can do and how it feels at my size isn’t the same as what your body feels and can do at whatever size you are, or whatever size you have been in the past.  You’re not in my body.  You don’t know what it feels like for me.  I’m not in your body, I don’t know what it feels like for you.

I get that you’re really miserable and you hate yourself.  But that doesn’t mean I hate myself and am miserable by default, simply because I’m fatter than you.  Perhaps, instead of being SO determined to convince yourself and everyone else that I must be as miserable and self-loathing as you, you could focus on learning to find the happiness and self esteem you so desperately need.  It would make your life a WHOLE lot better, and people around you would be so much happier to be in your company.  Constantly trying to prove to yourself that I must be unhappy, in pain or somehow broken harms nobody but yourself.

Now, to the rest of you, my fellow fab fatties, who I am sure have been on the receiving end of this in some form or another, I want to send support.  This kind of gaslighting is so common and is designed to make you “prove” yourself.  But the truth is, no amount of “proof” will ever appease these people.  After all, I’ve been doing this shit for 5 years, a quick Google image search brings a plethora of photographs of me laughing, smiling, having a great time, riding my bike (for some reason the media LOVE those photos) etc.  There’s a whole website devoted to photos of myself and my local fat activist colleagues living our lives to the full.  But still people want to convince themselves that I must be unhappy, in pain and not able to move my body.

Besides, we owe nobody “proof” or justification of our existence.  I’ve said it a million times before, health/fitness is not a moral obligation.  Lots of people suffer illness or disability, fat or thin.  Myself included.  There is no need for anyone to be ashamed of illness or disability, EVEN if they are fat.  Proving that “fat can be fit” or any variation of such only feeds the stigma that fat people get.  We have to be in this fat liberation for ALL of us, not just those who fit in a narrow definition of “acceptable”.

Every one of us are valid, worthy human beings.  We owe nobody proof that we are “acceptable”.  The only person you owe proof of your happiness to is yourself.  The rest of the world should be considering your visible joy a gift, not something they can demand from you.


49 comments on “If You’re Happy And You Know It…

  • Hmmm? Oh. Someone thinks I’m miserable and bedridden? Really? I was too busy running around my kitchen lugging my Le Creuset pots around and doing little jigs as I rolled my perfect pastry to notice.

    Okay, actually I don’t feel very good today. I’ve got a cold. But I should be over it tomorrow and then candy-making experiments commence!

    I find overall the single most infuriating thing I can do to these Eyeore types is just merrily ignore them and go on being happy on my own terms.

    • That’s the thing Twistie, they expect us to “prove” we’re happy all the time, 24 x 7, we’re not ever allowed to get sick, have a shit day, be stressed at work, suffer depression or anxiety, or injure ourselves. “Happy” to them means bouncing off the walls screaming joy at every minute of every day or you’re a “failure”.

      But even if we WERE bouncing off the walls screaming joy at every minute of every day, they then say we’re “faking it” or we “can’t possibly be happy”.

      To them, if we get a cold and say we’re sick, or have a bout of depression or anxiety (or any other illness), or are tired and stressed from work, or are sad about something that has happened… etc… it’s “THERE! I knew you weren’t happy!”

      Fuck justifying our lives to these dicks. If we feel happy, enjoy it. When times are difficult, then we are allowed to feel sadness, or sorrow, or stress, or whatever. That doesn’t diminish the value of our lives and our achievements.

  • How could you possibly know what you think, feel and want. Clearly total strangers know more about you than you do. *rolls eyes*

    You are absolutely right, people would be much happier if they just dealt with their own problems and did their best to improve their own lives.

    Unfortunately, that also means accepting what is actually happening in their own lives which is difficult and sometimes painful. I think this is why people prefer to focus on other people. Like those dreadful Walmart photos designed to look down on whoever is unfortunate to be caught in them. No information about what might be going on in any given person’s life, no sense of what someone else chooses to do is none of my beeswax provided that person isn’t engaging in a crime.

    I routinely wear no makeup and hang out in t-shirts and jeans and one of my friends interpreted as me dressing as though I don’t think much of myself. It never occurred to me to think that way since I purposely wear no makeup as it makes my skin itch and my eyes sting when the makeup creeps in. Jeans and t-shirts are super comfy and I can engage in whatever activity I want without worrying about my clothes. Granted, it’s hard to find jeans that fit well, but I do try.

    Hmm, I seem to be rambling. So glad you are on guard against gaslighting and I hope everyone else who read this is too. And for those of you guilty of gaslighting others, knock it off. You do NOT know what another person things, feels or wants unless you ask them and they tell you. Stop pretending you do.


    • lsstrout I think you’re bang on with the idea that the reason people spend so much time trying to prove to us that we must be unhappy because they can’t accept their own lives. After all, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to keep up with the fun stuff in my life, let alone waste time on trying to tear other people down.

      And don’t get me started on that awful Walmart site. Disgusting!

      (You can ramble anytime!)

  • YES, happiness is for everybody – and I take my fair share. But – you do not only get that “you cannot be happy” for being fat – you also get it, when you have decided to be a single, to stay childless … People are so narrowminded thinking there is only ONE way to happiness – their way – even when THEY might not even have found it themselves.

  • Great post, Kath, & so true. We owe nothing to anyone, we do not need to prove anything to anyone in order to deserve access, rights, respect. We deserve rights because we are human beings…period. I am tired of being asked to constantly prove that I am in perfect health, that my ‘numbers’ are ideal, that I will live to be at least 100 (I am currently 64 & come from a family of mostly fat people who have lived to be between 80 & 95, so I like my chances), that I practice ‘healthy’ habits, etc. And we also do not have to be perfectly healthy or totally free from pain in order to be happy. Very few, if any, people live an entire lifetime in perfect health or without pain. We are imperfect mortal beings & anything can happen to anyone. Also, aging is NOT a disease, any more than wrinkles are, or small breasts a deformity, or anything else our culture tries to sell us in order to profit from our insecurities. We can be healthy at any age or size, but we may not be, & that is okay. We can be happy at any age, size, shape, state of health, & many of us are. We do not live in each other’s bodies, we live in our own, & people need to take our word for our reality.

  • To anyone who wants to tell me that I can’t possibly be identifying my own feelings correctly due to my weight: Fuck you.

    I have chronic depression. Trust me, if I say I’m happy, I’m happy, because my brain provides more than its fair share of miserable for me to have a valid point of comparison. In fact, if I’m happy, it’s a miracle, and I’d rather you didn’t sit there harshing my squee by telling me I couldn’t possibly be happy (despite my brain and its constant attendant miseries) because I just so happen to be fat as well.

    Contrariwise, if I say I’m miserable, I’m miserable. But it’s probably not because I’m fat, but rather because my brain hates me and wants me to be miserable. That’s the reality of chronic, medication-resistant depression, and it’s the same no matter what my weight is. In fact, trust me on this, it’s worse when I’m thin, because I have all these social messages saying I ought to be happy because I’m thin, and meanwhile my brain is still hating me and wanting me to be miserable.

    • For many, many years I experienced twice-yearly episodes of severe depression. And then, somewhere around age 40, they went away. It was about a year after they stopped that I realized they had vanished. It’s been about 20 years since the last such episode. I was fat both before and after that change, but my peak weight was after (not that there’s necessarily any meaning in that).

      I wish for you the same sort of resolution. I do think that the experience of depression has some value, in that it engenders a sort of understanding of and identification with others who grapple with the problem.

      A hug to you!

    • Megpie71 – that seems to be a common one, conflating depression with dissatisfaction with ones life. It only really comes from ignorant people who don’t understand that depression is an illness, not a mood.

      And there is no shame in having negative emotions – we don’t have to justify our lives to anyone!

  • Hi Kath I’m so happy when I go to your blog and there’s a new post! Keep up the good work you are an inspiration

  • Look, I am not trying to be mean or disrespectful but instead I’m being a complete douchebag and sticking my nose into your business and judging your body and health, despite the fact that I have no right to do so. I’m demanding to know whether you are fit and healthy, even though I’m probably sitting in my basement chain smoking right now. I’m demanding to know how much you exercise, even though it’s none of my business. I’m asking if you could run a mile or do push ups, even though I probably can’t myself, and I’m totally ignoring the fact that many thin people can’t either. I’m lecturing you like a naughty school child, even though your health is none of my business. I’m also making a whole pile of false equivalencies, and demonstrating how little I understand science. And despite a WHOLE POST about how people try to claim you’re miserable and in pain, I’m doing EXACTLY the same thing, but I’m a coward so I’m doing it anonymously.

    In fact, I’m demanding to know your entire medical history, even though it’s none of my damn business, and I would complain if you demanded the same thing of me. Because I’m a cowardly hypocrite who spends my time trolling people on the internet instead of actually having a life. Pathetic, aren’t I?

    Stupidly, I used an email address and IP that can be traced on the internet, and displayed that I’m an idiot, because the owner of this blog now has all my details including my full date of birth. Which she is now passing on to every journalist she knows.

    • I can’t understand how I’m pathetic for trolling you, so I’m going to come back here and troll you again, also anonymously (because I’m a coward). You should be grateful for my “advice” on what to do with your body, and how you should hate yourself. I’m going to call you a bitch because you won’t shut up and take my abuse. I’m claiming that I’m “giving up on people like you” but here I am being a giant pain in the arse again. I am not bright enough to understand that my “threats” of “giving up on you” are empty threats – because I’m so full of myself that I think you actually want me to come here and harass you. I’m telling you that you’re self absorbed, yet I’m the one who has turned up here to YOUR blog and tried to tell you that you’re “doing life wrong” because you don’t choose to do it the way I tell you to do it.

      But then, I’m going to call you a bitch, because HOW DARE you stand up for yourself on your own blog. You should just shut up and do as I tell you like a good fatty.

  • You must be really happy having to deal with trolls like me all the time. Just because I think I know your body and how you feel, I think it’s OK to troll you online. Clearly I haven’t got a life, so I need to spend my time harassing fat people and desperately trying to prove that I’m better than them.

    I lost some weight but I haven’t yet gained it back. I am in denial about the inevitability of gaining it back. Mostly because I don’t understand science, and I desperately cling to the idea that having lost weight makes me superior to other people. I’m a bit pathetic like that.

    I like to brag that I can run and I’m assuming that a) you can’t and b) that you even want to. This is because I place my self worth on what other people think of me, so I’m really invested in making you feel shit about yourself.

    I have convinced myself that fat people are jealous of me, also because I need to do this to have any self esteem. I lord it over my former friends and relatives with my superiority complex, and then I wonder why they don’t like me. I am not bright enough to realise it’s not jealousy they are showing, just disgust at my attitude.

    I’m ending this troll comment with a passive-aggressive statement in the desperate hope that you feel bad about yourself.

    • We got another one folks. I had fun tweaking his comment to reflect what he was saying between the trolling.

      Stefan… I’m sure I’m not the only one who pities you right now.

      • These edited troll comments are priceless. Have a wonderful holiday season. In northern California, we had an unusual 5 inches of snowfall last weekend. I was out of town (wouldn’t you know it) but got to see it on Sunday when I returned. Though it has melted off, it really seems like the Christmas Season is here. Two Christmas’ ago, I spent in Canberra with my daughter and her hubby. Christmas when it is hot and vegetation is blooming was really a kick. The palm trees with lights were beautiful. Hope the cool breezes blow off the southern Pacific for all of you downunder.

        • Thanks A Brady. I figure if I’ve got to put up with these dicks, I may as well amuse myself and hopefully some of you!

          And Merry Christmas to you too – it has snuck up on me this year!

  • I don’t understand why people feel the need to make others feel that they aren’t as worthy, happy or productive because of their body type. I am a larger girl and I have always had pretty good health, actually better than my sister and she is stick thin! I hate people looking at me like I should a certain weight because that is what society expects, I will never be the perfect BMI and I don’t want to be. I am happy with me and that is all that matters, not what everyone else wants.

    As for the trolls, love the correction of their comments. They are much more fitting of their personalities and undermining attitudes.

  • I’m don’t understand that depression is an illness that some people get, it’s not a reflection on the state of their life. So I’m going to make myself look VERY foolish by claiming that someone with depression can’t possibly be happy with their life.

  • So those comments were actually troll comments that were edited? That’s one way of dealing with them – make them look as stupid as they really are.

    • Yes, I have to find my own way to amuse myself with these trolls, because they fill my blog with the most appallingly pathetic bullshit you could ever imagine. From now on I’ll put edited ones between asterisks so that it’s clear.

      • Incidentally, just a note to anyone else who is a blogger (particularly WordPress) and is reading here – don’t hesitate to do a search on trolls via their IP number (and/or email address) and then contact their internet service provider’s abuse line. I’ve had great success with ISP’s here in Australia (Optus are particularly fantastic, they are only too happy to follow up on people using their internet service to troll.) Harassment and trolling can be grounds for cancellation of their internet contract. Use the law to your advantage where you can.

  • *Again, I don’t understand science or medicine, but I’m going to come here AGAIN and make foolish statements to desperately try to prove to myself that I’m a better person than you. I don’t understand the basic principals of mental illness, so I make up some shit about the subconscious mind, to convince myself that so long as I’m “better” than someone, I can pretend I don’t hate myself.

    My grasp of basic science is so embarrassingly bad that I have invented a WHOLE new fake version of depression to try to justify my “I’m better than you” argument. I spout so much rubbish about the “deep seated keys to happiness”, yet I spend my time hating on complete strangers on the internet. Does that sound like emotionally healthy, happy behaviour to you?

    Sadly, I am not a happy person, so I am DESPERATE to prove to the world that you are unhappy, just to make myself feel better. If I was an emotionally stable person, I wouldn’t spend my time re-inventing medical science on the internet in the vain attempt to convince myself that I’m better than someone, anyone in the world.*

    • Poor little sad Berova. Perhaps if you stopped spending your time making up your own versions of medical science, and stopped being a douchebag on other people’s blogs, you might not be so filled with self loathing. Try finding some friends, getting a hobby or just perhaps educating yourself… all of which are far better for you than spending your time trying to convince yourself that you’re better than a complete stranger on the internet.

  • *Deletes comment because a) it makes no sense b) this person clearly has too much time on their hands if they spend their days hanging around my blog like a bad smell and c) because I have better things to do with my life.

    All the rest of you really need to know is that we have someone who is so desperately lonely that the only way they can get human interaction is to troll my blog relentlessly.*

    • What a sad, sad, sad little person you are Berova. I’ve contacted your internet service provider to report you for trolling. All future comments will be forwarded to their abuse line.

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