Well what an exciting day or so I’ve had. What with my piece being published in The Hoopla, I’ve had a whole lot more attention here, on Twitter and of course in the comments on The Hoopla. Mostly people are pretty cool, they get just how damaging fat stigma is. Sadly, many of them experience it themselves, which is always heartbreaking. Of course, there are always a few who are willfully ignorant who go down the route of “BUT THERE’S AN OBESITY EPIDEMIC AND YOU’RE GONNA DIE FATTY!!” and just will not be swayed otherwise. I even got my regular hater cropping up there too, how special do I feel to have someone who hates me so much that they go through all of my online accounts and search for clues of my health/eating/lifestyle?
Anyway, the message I keep seeing repeated by those who just don’t get it is that fat people all overeat, we’re lazy and we clearly have no idea to take care of our bodies. These comments have a definite purpose – they’re designed to make us justify our bodies, our lives, our health and our choices. The purpose of those comments is to make fat people say “But I eat healthy!!” or “But I’m on a diet!” or something along those lines. It’s another control mechanism to make us jump when they say so, so that they can feel superior.
But of course – we unconsciously do it. We don’t talk about the food we eat, or if we do, we justify our eating, making it clear that it has been ages, or we’re eating “good” foods, or whatever. We’re careful about talking about needing to rest or sleep, always sure to be clear how hard we’ve worked so that it’s clear we’ve “earned” that rest.
Well, I’ve had enough of that shit. Eating is not unhealthy. Not even for fat people. Nor is sleeping. Every human being must do both. Nobody, not even fat people, owe anyone an explanation or declaration of their health. It’s irrelevant to almost everything. Fat people do not have to prove that they are “worthy” of basic human respect and dignity to be allowed to live. All of us except a very small few are not “addicted to food”, no more than we’re “addicted to breathing”. We need food, rest and sleep to survive. Every single one of us.
It’s time to set ourselves free of the need to justify the things we need to do as human beings, particularly eating. It’s time to set ourselves free of the urge to prove that every morsel we eat is “healthy”. We have to stop letting other people determine what we should and shouldn’t be eating or doing with our own bodies and lives.
So I started tweeting with the hashtag #freefatty earlier today, and urged other people to do the same.
Some of the responses I got back were:
I even decided to tweet a picture of myself eating something that would be labelled “unhealthy”, check it out:
I know, I know, how dare I put anything in my mouth that is not, as Kate Harding would say, Splenda flavoured air! How dare a fat, Type 2 diabetic eat a lolly! I tweeted a picture of the piece of birthday cake that I ended up having too, after my boss went and got one for my colleague. Look:
It is my colleague Kellie’s birthday, and we wanted to celebrate that. I think this was raspberry coconut cake, I forgot to ask. It was made with real butter, eggs and sugar. I didn’t talk about how “sinful” it was for me to have a piece of birthday cake, I didn’t apologise for joining in the celebration and I didn’t make a comment about how it would go straight to my hips/thighs/waist. I just accepted a piece like everyone else, wished Kellie a happy birthday and enjoyed a little down time with my team.
And you know what? Here’s my dinner tonight:
Yup, that’s a real bagel, with real cream cheese (not light), ham and roasted capsicum. It doesn’t come in a box marked “Lite”, there are no points on it, it’s not powdered and intended to “stave off hunger pangs”. The bagel is the authentic deal, not low carb or gluten free. I don’t have to make sure everyone knows I “earned it” because I exercised or had a busy day. I don’t have to make sure people know it is “diet” or “healthy”. I don’t have to promise I’ll “be good” tomorrow to justify it for my dinner. It’s dinner time, I have beautiful fresh, real-deal bagels and fresh fillings, I’m hungry and it tastes good.
None of us have to play those games around food, sleep, rest and health any more. We don’t. If someone passes comment, reply “Well lucky I’m eating it and not you then.” or “It’s food, not the anti-Christ, you won’t go to hell.” Or simply “Please don’t place judgement/comment on my food or my body.”
I am free to eat my dinner, relax and live my life. And so are you.