All posts in the disability category

Fat Stigma, Healthism and Eating Disorders

Published May 23, 2013 by Fat Heffalump

A little housekeeping first – the zine is still trucking along nicely, thank you to those of you who have already submitted contributions, (I’ll be in touch soon if I haven’t already) and to those of you thinking of submitting something, please do!  I particularly need artwork, even just small pieces to fill in around articles and break up the text.

Trigger warning on what follows: discussion of eating disorders, prejudice against fat eating disorder sufferers and rampant healthism.

Photo by Isaac Brown for Stocky Bodies.

Photo by Isaac Brown for Stocky Bodies.

Now, on to the actual topic of this post!  As you know, on Tuesday night I was proud to present at the UQ Women’s Collective Diversity Week event.  One of my fellow speakers was a representative from the Eating Disorders Association Inc (EDA) and she spoke on what eating disorders are, who is most likely to be affected by them, and what methods of treatments there are.  We had some robust discussion during the Q&A portion of the event in response to audience questions.  I only wish we could have answered more audience questions, but alas, we ran out of time.

Since then, I have had a LOT of thoughts swirling around my head around eating disorders and how they relate to fat people.  As you would have seen in my last post, I have been an eating disorder sufferer for most of my life, however I was in my 30’s before I was finally officially diagnosed with EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), which technically means an eating disorder that for some reason does not fit under Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder (which has only this week been classified officially as an eating disorder).  In personal terms, for me it means that I have an eating disorder… but I’m fat, so I am excluded from being diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia, despite meeting almost all of the other criteria.  Yes, just being fat disqualifies you from having anorexia or bulimia regardless of your meeting all or most of the other criteria.

So it’s probably no surprise to any of you that I have issues with how the health care industry, most eating disorder support organisations and the general community of eating disorder sufferers treat fat people.  Particularly as it is mostly assumed that fat = binge eating disorder, which is nothing short of bullshit.  Can I put that in any plainer terms for anyone?  BULLSHIT.  Fat people are assumed to just be overeaters or binge eaters by way of being fat.  It is often believed that it is impossible for a fat person to have a restrictive or purging eating disorder, or to be involved in disordered exercise behaviours.  Even as much research (and anecdotal evidence/lived experience) there is out there showing how many fat people have engaged in these forms of disordered eating/activity, the medical profession and most eating disorder organisations still do not recognise it in fat people, and instead suggest that “denial” is one of our symptoms of what must be binge eating disorder.

What regularly happens to fat people who present with all of the markers of restrictive/purging/exercise mania is that we are told to “keep up the good work” instead of having our illnesses recognised.  Behaviours which are widely recognised as destructive, disordered behaviour in thin people, are considered a “positive lifestyle change” in fat people and actively encouraged.  It certainly was for many, many years through my suffering.

And it seems that hasn’t changed much.

So fat people are being failed by most eating disorder support organisations, the medical/health care industry and the general eating disorder community still.

The first question to the panel on Tuesday night was asking how we respond to the “But what about your health?!” demands.  As the fattest person in the room, it meant a lot to me to make it clear that my health, and in fact anyone’s individual health, is nobody’s business but their own.  That it’s not a subject up for discussion unless the person themselves wish it to be so.  You know, the “If it’s not your body, it’s not your business.” mantra.

The representative from EDA then added that she saw the situation differently, and while she started positively with stating that the same health messages should be given to all people, regardless of their body shape or size (which I agree with), it soon devolved into a lot of deeply healthist and fat stigmatising rhetoric about bell curves of mortality rates in body sizes, BMI, “obesity epidemic” and “weight risk factors”.  I was at pains to point out that as someone at one end of that “bell curve”, most of this rhetoric is deeply problematic as it has a risk of demonising and othering those of us who fall at either end of that bell curve.  It also implies that we require intervention into our health, and ignores the fact that “risk” in no way equals “certainty”.  It perpetuates an assumption that people at the ends of the bell curve are by default defective, rather than just the natural extremes of a diverse spectrum of body types.  It also perpetuates the assumption that very fat people or very thin people by default are inevitably going to suffer health issues and/or shorter lifespans that they are only statistically “at risk” for.  This is not an accurate assumption nor is it a helpful one.

I was grateful that it was also raised by someone in the audience (kudos to Amy if you’re reading this) that BMI is both an inaccurate and ineffectual measure of anything (other than ratio of weight to height) and that it is deeply triggering to not just fat people but also to eating disorder sufferers in general (which was many of the audience – since it was an eating disorders event).  BMI is often the stick that people with poor self esteem and body image, and eating disorders beat themselves over the head with.

Unfortunately, I have found healthist rhetoric like this is alarmingly common from eating disorder support organisations, and while they may be well intentioned, are causing the exclusion of many people based on body shape and size, as well as level of health.  The reality is, many eating disorder sufferers have other health issues or may be people with disabilities as well as those caused by or part of their eating disorders, and these already vulnerable people are often made to feel that they do not deserve compassionate treatment and support because they’re hearing the message that health is the most important factor in treatment and support.

We need to keep repeating the message that not only is health completely and utterly arbitrary, but it is not a moral obligation either.  Moralising health is a deeply ableist attitude.  We need to keep fighting for our personal agency in health care as well.  Yes, occasionally there are people who are genuinely unable to advocate for themselves, these are in the vast minority and most importantly, that cannot be determined by either their weight or their actual physical health.  I believe the ONLY way to assess the inability to self advocate is through thorough and compassionate psychological assessment.

As long as we as a culture continue to define wellbeing and human worth by weight and/or arbitrary health measures, we are engaging in both ableism and fat stigma, neither of which actually help people build better wellbeing.  And it’s not just fat people/people with disabilities who are affected by this.   The fear of fat and stigmatising, ableist messages about health trigger damaging behaviours in people of all sizes and levels of physical health/ability.  As long as people are afraid of being fat or place moral obligation on health, they will be engaging in damaging and indeed unhealthy behaviours to avoid being fat or unhealthy.  It is a vicious cycle of direct cause and effect that we have to break for any progress to be made, and that needs to start with the very organisations who are in place to help break disordered behaviours.

What we need an entire cultural change around health and weight and I believe that eating disorder support organisations and groups need to be at the front of this cultural change, not being dragged along by those of us on the margins.  They have a responsibility to make effort to include and support those of us who are most vulnerable to stigma and bigotry, not marginalise us further.

Genuine Concern vs Concern Trolling

Published January 4, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Quick housekeeping – I’ve started a Tumblr for all of the troll comments I get here on Fat Heffalump.  Behold – Trollapalooza.  Be warned though, you may find it triggering, as there is an awful lot of fat hatred, threats of violence, healthist bullshit and general nastiness that comes my way.

Now, on to today’s post!

I think it’s time to talk about concern.  I’ve noticed a phenomenon, one where people don’t seem to recognise what is legitimate concern for someone’s wellbeing, and what is concern trolling for the sake of sticking your nose up in someone’s business, or using it as an excuse to shame them or make oneself feel superior.

So let’s talk about it, and learn to recognise what is genuine concern, and what is concern trolling.

Genuine concern is ok.  In fact, it’s part of what bonds us as social beings.  When someone we care about, a family member or friend, or even a colleague, is not their usual selves, when something just doesn’t seem right, or when we actually know they are unwell, and we are worried about them, we are genuinely concerned about them.  That friend who seems to have lost their energy, the colleague who has gone from calm and productive to stressed and struggling, the family member who just isn’t their usual self.  Or someone you know who is actually suffering illness (because they’ve told you they are).  It’s perfectly acceptable to ask after their wellbeing.  Things like:

  • Are you ok?
  • You don’t seem like your usual self, is everything alright?
  • Can I help with anything?
  • If you want to talk, you know I’m available for you ok?
  • How are you coping with [insert illness or injury they have told you about here]?

Do know, that you shouldn’t do it because you’re curious, but because you genuinely want to help.  And also know, that if someone says they’re fine, the answer is not to nag them about it, but to say “Please know that I’m here to listen/help if you need it ok?”  Sure, sometimes “I’m fine.” is a way to fob you off when someone doesn’t want to bother you, or because they’re ashamed/embarrassed about needing help, but sometimes it’s also just “I’m fine.”

However, it is not ok to suggest someone has an illness, or that they might get an illness due to their behaviour or body.  It’s not ok to say to that friend eating a donut “Be careful, you’ll get diabetes.” or any other illness or injury.  Even if you know someone has an illness or injury, unless they have spoken directly about it in your presence, it’s not ok to question them on it.  For example, I can’t tell you the number of people who have actually asked me what my blood sugar readings are like since they found out I am diabetic.  NONE OF YOUR FUCKIN’ BUSINESS PAL!

Now, on to what constitutes concern trolling – a little 101 on how to prove yourself nothing but a trolling douchebag who doesn’t give a shit about anyone’s health but wants to shame people for their weight:

  • Stating that someone being fat is unhealthy – and then suggesting they kill themselves to save us all money.
  • Stating that someone being fat is unhealthy – and then bitching about how much it costs the taxpayer money.
  • Stating that someone being fat is unhealthy – and then diagnosing by looking at them (or a photograph of them) that they are going to explode from hernias, high blood pressure, heart attacks, arthritis and any other number of illnesses often correlated (but never causally linked to) fat.
  • Shaming someone for suffering any injury or illness by pointing out that they “caused” it because they are fat.
  • Stating “I’m concerned about your health!” without knowing ANYTHING about that person other than they have a fat body.
  • Attributing laziness or gluttony to someone just because they have a fat body.
  • Accusing someone of being irresponsible about their health because they have a fat body.
  • Demanding people prove their health, or give you information about their health and wellbeing.
  • Claiming people are “in denial” about their health, or their future health.
  • Insisting that you know about their health better than they do.

If you do any of the things that I’ve just listed above, you are nothing more than a bully and a troll.  There, I’m saying it out loud and clear.  I’ll say it again:

If you engage in any of the behaviours in the list above, you are a bully and a troll and you need to stop that shit right now.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I have to keep saying it over and over and over again – If it’s not your body, it’s not your business.

It’s not a difficult concept.

Next time you feel like commenting on or judging someone’s health or wellbeing, ask yourself “Is it my body?”  If the answer is no, then shut the fuck up and mind your own business.

Fatties – the next time someone tries to concern troll you, just ask them – “Is it your body?” Again, if the answer is no, tell them to shut the fuck up and mind their own business.

You don’t have to be nice, be polite, be pleasing, to anyone who concern trolls you.  You don’t have to tolerate their behaviour.  You don’t have to “respect their opinion”.  You don’t have to “not rock the boat”, or “don’t take it seriously”.  If someone is up in your business telling you what to do with your body and your health, rock the damn boat all you like, and take it as seriously as you feel you need to.  It’s YOUR body, YOUR health and YOUR life.  You get to choose what you do with it, and who you allow to have any interaction with it.

Take no fucking prisoners!

Weight Loss Surgery: Jan’s Story

Published September 4, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I’m very happy with how the last guest post on the topic of Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) by Becky was received here on Fat Heffalump, and how respectfully people responded to it.  It goes to show that even though we might have had different pathways in life, and we might have some differences of opinion on fatness, that the crux of what we need to work on is the simple fact that fat people are marginalised and neglected when it comes to health care and support for our quality of life.

I am honoured to share with you all another guest post from a WLS recipient, this time from Jan of Outside the Lines, who is incredibly brave to share her story here.  I’m amazed at the strength Jan has had to show, as evidenced by her story below.

Again, please remember that this is a safe, respectful forum to discuss the topic of WLS, and while we may have differences of opinion on the matter of fatness, it’s important that we talk openly about the issues around WLS, especially the experiences and perspectives of those who have had the surgery and been dissatisfied with the result.  And in Jan’s case, she has some questions she would like to invite people to answer.

Without any further ado, here is Jan’s story:

As far back as I can remember I have had size issues. As a young girl, whilst not fat, I was always the biggest and tallest girl in my class. I didn’t like this at all, as like most kids I wanted to blend into the crowd. I had black curly hair which I didn’t like either. Actually there wasn’t anything I did like. I grew up in a family of 8 siblings all similar size. My mother was short and cuddly, my dad very tall and well fat.

Two of my older brothers used to tease me a fair bit telling me I had tree trunk legs, or piano legs. Funny thing is that looking back at my pictures I was not that big at all, so I am not sure what they were seeing. It probably started there. As I grew up it became quite obvious that I was always much bigger than the other girls and in some cases the boys too. The teasing was not that bad really. It was more that I felt so different. I was never picked for sports teams at school, that shame I remember well. Team captains would take it in turns to choose who they wanted on their team. I was never chosen, a team would get me as a default, as I was the only one left so someone had to take me. I sucked at sports, hated it with a passion. I was very conscious of the shorts or short skirts and felt awkward.
I was the tallest girl throughout school and so when we had to do dancing at school I was not chosen by a boy and had to either sit out or be made to partner up with a boy who didn’t want me as a partner cos I was too big. But really looking back I wasn’t fat, just larger than all the other girls. But I internalised all of this. Of course I did. My family did not support me, but then I don’t think they even thought there was an issue they just treated us all the same.

Of course being more developed than other girls I matured earlier having to wear a bra at age 10 or 11, then periods etc.

High school years were some of my worst. I think this is where the depression started really. I had always been anxious and shy as a small child and this continued throughout my life.

I really did not like myself but this stage. I wanted to be small and cute and pretty like the other girls. They were all getting boyfriends and going on dates, but not me. I was part of a strict family never allowed to go out.

As I approached my first working years I continued on feeling that I did not fit in. I entered the nursing profession but after only 9 months was forced to resign after failing exams. This set in place a huge amount of self hatred. My long held dream job and I had fucked up. Devastation was an understatement. Then at a young 20 I married and was pregnant and a mother before I was 21. At this age I weighed in at 101kg. The Dr’s told me to lose the excess weight. Then the next year another child and more weight loaded on. I went on to have 5 children and each time grew bigger and bigger. By the time the last one was born in 1992 I weighed approx 180kg.

Life for me was getting tough. Too big to run and play with the kids. I felt shit and a failure. Then in 1994 I had a friend who went and had WLS. She was much smaller than me, but anyway I went along to my doctor who thought it was a great idea. So I went through the process-endocrinologist, 3 sessions with a psychologist then proceed to surgeon, who I met the day before the surgery. I was so scared.

But dreamed of how beautiful I would look when I got slim. I was so scared that we bought a video camera and filmed me talking to the girls sharing memories just in case I didn’t survive the surgery!

Anyway I survived came home and was terrified. I could not eat normally. The first weeks its small bits of soup, jellies etc. I was 100% unhappy. Even though I thought I was prepared for this change I wasn’t. The medical and support staff had not focused on this part. I went into a fog, crying and raging that I was starving but could not eat. I panicked big time. My husband would shout at me to do the right thing and that I was fucking hopeless. Many other people who knew I had surgery were continually asking of my progress. It was the main topic of conversation. I was like a circus freak. I suffered mentally. I initially lost a few kilos, but it was slow going. However after about 6 months I had shed 30 kg’s and did start to feel good. People were noticing my weight loss and for the first time in my life I was receiving compliments. I actually though this is how life is meant to be. It slowly dawned on me that now I just might be acceptable to the public and more importantly myself.

However due to the nature of my WLS (stomach stapling) nutrients are prevented from being absorbed. You are meant to take multivitamins for the rest of your life. Well I didn’t.

It hadn’t been over emphasised so me being me didn’t do it.

After 12 months things slowed down and I wasn’t losing weight. I had managed to increase my eating amounts but eating little more often. I also found out that I could eat the so called empty calorie foods like chips, lollies and others such things with not too much discomfort. Then I added soft drinks like diet coke. By this stage I had a huge hanging amount of hanging belly fat reaching to my knees. So off I go to another surgeon to see if I could have it removed. He agreed to do it and in two weeks I was under the knife. Big mistake! I won’t go into the whole sorry saga but suffice to say I developed a huge wound infection and spent time in and out of hospital contracting a serious infection from the hospital. It eventually turned into gangrene and I needed blood transfusions and god knows what. After having the community nurse come to attend my wound daily for about a month or so it was decided to send me to a major city hospital. I spent a month undergoing repeated surgeries to remove dead flesh and rid me of the toxins in my body. I believe that I came very close to death. Luckily I survived and came home, but never returned to a healthy person. So time moves on and I gradually keep piling weight on and can eat just as much if not more than before. My body hungers for the food. For the comfort it gives me.

When I had that WLS I weighed 200kg and when I was weighed in May this year I clocked 301kg. I estimate that it is more now though. I am what they call a death fatty.

So there my shame is out there. I have been reading the FA blogs for some time. I started after contacting Dr Samantha Thomas, after seeing her on the telly one night. She is gorgeous and introduced me to some people like Kath. Finally I felt I was amongst people who could understand.

But here is my dilemma. I want to love myself 100%. I have progressed but how can I in all honesty do so when I am dealing with so many health issues due to it. I can’t kid myself. I currently have high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, high cholesterol, swollen limbs, depression, and anxiety +++, I am housebound, can’t wear shoes due to swollen right foot. Can hardly find clothes to fit.

I read many blogs from FA members and I don’t see anyone who is as big as me, so I still feel outside the lines

I think this is sounding a bit woe is me now, and I admit that I do deign the cloak of victimhood. I am interested in receiving feedback on my particular situation. What do I do when it is clear that my excess weight it causing me poor health and may ultimately result in a shortened life span?

You Just Can’t Know

Published June 26, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

A couple of weeks ago, the Daily What on Tumblr posted this photograph:

Seated Woman

With the caption: “Lazy Lady Is Lazy of the Day: I’d say give this lady a laziness award but she’d probably be too lazy to accept it.”

Now I’m quite sure I’m not the only one pissed off by the assumptions made by that caption.  I found I was so pissed off that I had to just set the picture aside and give it some thought before I shared it here with all of you.

It still really, really pisses me off.

This is another example of someone looking at a person, and making an assumption about them, simply by what they see.  Ok so in this picture, we see a fat woman in a line for Burger King, sitting on a chair.  That must totally mean she’s a big fat lazy cow right?

Would they be offering the laziness awards if it were a thin woman sitting on that chair?

But what about what we don’t know?  Let’s ask a few questions.

Do we know whether or not this woman has any illnesses?  Might she be a sufferer of chronic fatigue syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia or any other illness that causes fatigue and body pain?  What about recovering from an injury or surgery?  Perhaps she’s going through chemotherapy treatment?  What about a spinal injury?  Maybe she had a baby recently and has complications from birth?  Maybe she’s actually pregnant?  Perhaps she has balance issues due to damaged inner ears?  Who knows, I could go on.

Maybe the woman has just worked a 16 hour shift somewhere and just wants something quick and cheap and easy to eat so she can go home to bed.  I mean she’s between a soldier/marine (sorry my American friends, I’m not sure of the uniform) and a woman in scrubs – it could be the wee small hours of the morning for all anyone knows.

That’s the thing with bodies.  Most of the time, the casual observer has not a damn idea what is going on with someone’s body.  A person cannot make a snap judgement of someone as lazy just because they see a fat woman sitting on a chair in the queue at Burger King.  The same thing for people who take the elevator one floor rather than the stairs, or use the disabled toilets when they can walk, or use the handrail on stairs.  Whether they are fat or thin, there are reasons that they do this, and those reasons are nobody’s fucking business.

Bodies with Needs

Published June 11, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Interesting discussion had today at a library conference I attended.  The theme was teen and young adult services for public libraries.  One of the excellent papers was presented by Denise Barker of the Disability Services Commission in Western Australia, about libraries working with young people with disabilities.  I got some fabulous snaps while listening to Denise’s paper.

Firstly, when you make your library (and for that matter any other public space) accessible and useable for people with disabilities, it benefits everybody in the community.  Ramps are also good for people with walkers or prams, or small children who are yet unable to negotiate stairs.  Taps and door handles etc with levers instead of knobs, or automatic sensors are easier on people with arthritis or Parkinson’s, or people who have temporary injuries or repetitive strain injuries.  They’re also more hygienic in bathrooms because there is less contact with the fittings.

Creating an inviting space for people with disabilities encourages socialising with a wider group of people, not just for the folks with disabilities, but also for the able-bodied, which promotes compassion, understanding and empathy, and frankly enriches everybody’s experiences.

You don’t always know if someone has a disability, and they may not tell you, even if they are having difficulties using your library.  Hooray!  It’s so good to hear someone acknowledging “invisible” disabilities.  You cannot tell just by looking at someone what their body is able to do, or not able to do, or requires assistance to do.

People with intellectual disabilities need to be welcome in our libraries too.  They need to feel comfortable and included.

Young people with disabilities don’t want to be special cases, they want to be included.  They want access to the same things as everyone else, not “special” things.  Sometimes they just need tools to be able to do so.  Treat those items as tools for those people, not “special”.

And not to forget mental health issues either.  As for everyone else, libraries need to be safe and welcoming for sufferers of mental health issues.

Mostly I guess the core message was about a) being inclusive and b) the benefits to all of the community.

All in all it was great to hear some thoughtful talk about the needs of young people (12 – 24) with disabilities in libraries.  I know so often it gets overlooked.

Not Beaten by the Blunt Instrument

Published February 16, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Well!  What an afternoon.  Normally I don’t blog about other blogs, cos it’s kinda redundant usually, I think it’s better to just  not read them any more if they piss me off or I disagree.  But this one has mentioned me personally, and is about a conversation I have been having with it’s author, so I think I’m going to break tradition.

Now, let’s get one thing straight.  Author John Birmingham, who’s original tweet I challenged, and who is the author of the blog post I’m talking about here, has apologised for his original tweet, which I admire anyone who can apologise for something said hastily.  It takes a person with grace and dignity to do that.  I also admire JB as an writer (his books make me pee laughing) and quite often he hits the nail right on the head with a blog topic on his rather cool blog Blunt Instrument.  He has also been respectful and polite to me personally during this whole discussion/debate.

So I would like anyone reading this to take a moment before getting stuck into JB, remember, we’re all adults and can have a discussion without getting disrespectful or nasty.

Ok, so, what I’m going to talk about here is JB’s attitude (and many others with him) towards fat people.  In particular, a few quotes from his blog and response comments to me.  (Note: I haven’t read the blog comments on his post except those between him and myself, too high a risk of douchebaggery and I don’t need that shit.)

And I’m not discussing here that JB doesn’t believe in fat acceptance or Health at Every Size (HAES) – that’s for another blog post – and he’s entitled to disagree.  It’s a little deeper than that.

Let’s start with these comments in response to my asking him to keep the “fat hate” to himself regarding his comment on this tweet.

I have been morbidly obese. It nearly killed me.

my morbid obesity was entirely my own fault

Ok, so JB believes his obesity was his own fault, and he’s been able to lose weight so he is no longer morbidly obese.  That’s fair enough, and I believe he has been very fortunate to be able to do that.  When I challenged him that he would be in the vast minority of morbidly obese people (actually overweight and obese people too) who could actually achieve that, he responded with:

I’d dispute that 5% my understanding – & I did lots research b4 embarking on weight loss- is that 30% simply can’t lose weight…

So this is where I wasn’t happy.  Because he’s instantly assumed that because I haven’t been able to stop being morbidly obese, that I haven’t done lots of research.  Which kinda tells me that he assumes NO Fatty McFattersons have ever done lots of research either.

On the simple assumption, that because I am a fat person who is staying fat, and doesn’t believe that I can stop being fat, I must by default be lazy/unintelligent/uninspired and have never done any research of my own.  Let alone “lots”.

It really is falling into the whole Wooo!  I lost weight and you can too!!* malarkey.

*If you just stop being lazy and gluttonous.

Now to be honest, I don’t think JB is being blatantly discriminatory and prejudiced.  But it shows to me the deep seated belief in our culture that fat = bad, and that fat people are somehow less than non-fat people.  Subconsciously at least, JB believes this.  Because in his comments on his blog, he actually says:

You are not differently-abled when carrying around excess weight. You are disabled. I’ve carried enough to know.

Now I’m really getting offended.  You know MY body do you JB?  You  know how I live my life, how able I am in my life, and what my body can and can’t do?  You know what I could do with my body before I was fat, and what I can do with it now that I’m a very fat person do you?

See this is what drives me nuts and gets up my arse.  The assumption, on looking at a fat person, that you can sum them up and know what’s best for them, how they live and what is right and wrong for them.  The equation of not being fat to being morally superior.

He concludes his response to my comment with:

Kath, I am living a completely different life. A better life.

That’s bloody fabulous JB!  Good on you!  But you’re assuming that your life is somehow better than mine (and any other fatty boombahs) because you are not fat and I am fat.  You’re assuming that as a fat person, I’m living this horrible disabled, lazy, idle life of misery.

Well, contrary to what we’re sold in shitty TV reality series hauling out the crying fatties to compete, nay, perform like monkeys for money prizes, pap magazines full of celebrities announcing how miserable they were while they were fat (while accepting nice fat endorsement cheques from Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and the like), and newspapers whoring themselves over “BOOGA-BOOGA-OBESITY-CRISIS!” and so on, fat people aren’t pathetic or miserable because of our fat.

Fat people suffer because of non-fat people.  Fat people suffer because of self-hating fat people.  Fat people suffer because our culture judges us on sight alone, without ever knowing anything about us.  And when we stop accepting the world treating us like that, when we stand up and say “I will not accept anything less than respect and dignity, and fair treatment.” then the suffering goes away.  The shit doesn’t stop from the outside world, but it does stop hurting.

When we stop hating ourselves, and start realising that perhaps the rest of the world is not the best authority on OUR bodies, but WE are, then the suffering eases.

I’d love to have a coffee with JB.  Skim latte please, full cream milk makes me fart.  I’d love him to meet me “in the flesh” (I’ve got lots of it!) and to just ask himself after meeting and talking to me if he still thinks of me as disabled or morbid or broken or in any way less than any other human being.

I’ll leave you with my final comment to JB in his blog comments:

My life completely changed too. A far better life, a far happier life, a far healthier life, a far, far more productive life. It changed when I stopped accepting the bullshit that my body is “disabled” or less worthy than someone who is not fat.

*Please note: I am deleting any comments from those who clearly didn’t read what I have said in this post and are pulling the old “But you Fatty McFattersons are in DENIAL!” and “But I’m fat and I’m going to get thin because I might die!”   Please go back and read this post and what I have said again carefully, and then you’re welcome to comment on that.