Tech Support for Sis & Bullying of the Obese
Posted October 4, 2012on:
Over the last few weeks, I have been spending large chunks of time at my sister’s house, trying to get her computers to work together, and — in the case of the 23-year-old desktop, to work at all.
One of the challenges I have had, therefore, is eating at my sister’s. She is an excellent cook, and has been trying to support me in losing weight. She has made huge salads for me, measured out pasta so I have the correct portion, bought apples and cut them up or me to munch on while I worked, and generally been very thoughtful about what she offered me.
It’s been something of a major change in our relationship. Prior to this time, her attitude has been that she was making what she was making and if it didn’t support my program that was my worry.
Now, I’m not faulting her. Most people really don’t want to go out o their way to build a menu they are making for many people around one person’s food foibles, be they allergies, likes & dislikes, or food programs.
I am, in fact, praising her for being willing to change her habits to support my program. It is one of the greatest feelings to know just how solidly she has my back this time around. It is one of the most incredibly empowering feelings I have ever known around this issue.
And make no mistake about it, family support is a very powerful tool for success.
I was watching the news this morning, and heard about the case of Jennifer Livingston, a TV news anchor who some man — who admits to not even watching the show she anchors — took to task for being obese in public. In part, the complainer said:
“Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Instead of letting this jerk shame her, she took it public, responding to his note on TV:
“The truth is I am overweight. You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside — and I am much more than a number on a scale.”
As an obese person myself, I wanted to stand up and cheer! For too damned long people assume that — under the guise of being helpful and concerned — they have the right to tell us how we should look, and how we should feel if we don’t look the way they think is appropriate.
Another aspect is that I know thin people who are totally sickly, and heavy people who can run marathons, or climb mountains.
What the thin fanatics do not seem to get is that people come in all shapes and sizes, as well as in all colors, and that is just fine. Further, unless their opinion is sought (and there are people who we might ask opinions of), it is neither their business nor their place to offer them.
I do not know a single heavy person who is not acutely aware of their weight and of the stigma that this society places on them for no better reason than their size. I have heard young women swear that they would not get pregnant because the don’t want to be fat. And I wonder how twisted we have become, as a society, that if one carries extra poundage one is seen as lazy, stupid, oafish, undesirable, etc.
It was not so very long ago, if you remember, that extra pounds meant that you could afford to eat well, and therefore considered a good thing. One should also remember that some of the most memorable women in history had lush curves, instead of protruding bones.
Most importantly, all of us need to remember that weight does not equate to self-worth. It is just one of a number of variables that make people what they are, and people who are intent on forcing others to conform to some set body image of their own are nothing more than bullies, no matter how politely they couch their prejudice.
So, today’s questions to look at are: Have you ever been made to feel bad or worthless because of your weight? Has someone tried to shame you into losing weight? How did that feel? Did you buy into being ashamed of yourself for being obese? Did you ever speak back to those attempting to enforce their body stereotypes on you? If so, how did that feel? Even if you are trying to lose weight, would you stand up for the right of others to be who and what they are?