An open letter to the Fat-o-Sphere

Dear bloggers, readers, commenters and other people involved in the loose network of the fat-o-sphere,

 I discovered the fat-o-sphere in my late teens by way of Big Fat Blog. I’m not sure how I landed on the page, but a Google search of “fat people are stupid and lazy” is a distinct possibility. This was not long after BFB’s launch. Posts were erratic, arguments were not particularly well thought-out, and commenters seemed incredibly defensive. I created an account primarily to make comments of the “lol your fat” variety. My account was soon deleted, (surprise, surprise) but still I kept reading the blog. I was staying unnatually thin by nothing but my own iron-willed determination, at the time, I really just needed someone to hate.

Then things started making sense.

People would start relaying stories about how their weight kept coming back. Blog posts started questioning research that I could then verify as faulty. I began to read brilliant and thoughtful points made by people I believed to be stupid and lazy.

 Then I found some more blogs.

I found Well Rounded, Good With Cheese, Nudemuse, The F-Word, Shapely Prose, many more that are either now defunct or have escaped my mind at the moment. I still hated these people, but I began to find where their stories and my story intersected. Still, I believed the death statistics. I thought that people would lie about not having certain diseases because to me they must not even go to the doctor. It pissed me off to no end when bloggers would claim to have no hypertension or diabetes, because clearly they must be lying or in denial.

I went to college, and took a “controversial issues in psychology” class that challenged me to disprove an opponent’s point of view in order to strengthen my own argument. I attempted to apply this concept to the FA movement, attempting to pick apart the research, and I couldn’t.

The FA point of view was solid.

Still, I decided to go into dietetics and learn all about how to save teh fatz from themselves. Ultimately, I realized that I wasn’t doing anybody any favors by proseletyzing what I had eaten (or not eaten) for breakfast. Fat wasn’t going to kill me, my dieting lifestyle was.

Stress over hating my body was going to kill me.

One day I found the FOTB (the fantasy of being thin) via Shapely Prose.

I had this whole itentity wrapped around what I was going to be like when I was thinner. I’ve been following my own FOTB for years and there is really nothing keeping me from living that life.

Now, I practice yoga and am preparing to run my first marathon this fall despite not meeting some of my arbitrary goals.

Once on a plane ride I helped a large woman by holding her drink and book so she could put on her seatbelt extension. That felt good, kind of like the way someone from a racist family would feel being reeeeeally nice to a Black person, kind of a “see, I’m not a bad person” kind of feeling.

Given the nudging of other bloggers, I picked up “Life doesn’t begin 5 pounds from now” and “Health at Every Size(HAES)”, plus Harding/Kirby’s “Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere.” These books spoke to me like nothing else. In the  HAES and “5 Pounds” books there are passages dealing with “participating in my own oppression” by way of trying to conform to an impossible ideal. I had so many AHA moments after reading these books that I am now coming to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, the size of my ass doesn’t need to keep me from doing things that I enjoy. My self-image has taken a drastic 180.

How much time, effort andmoney have I spent? While I’ve never bought a diet book, I have plenty on how the USA is going to be teh death fatz in 20 years due to all the crap we keep putting into our bodies. I have so many books that have helped me fuel my own hate. I have hundreds of exercise dvds that promise results in 30 days. While I am not yet ready to part with my books, I am starting to feel like a person who has made a bunch of Jewish friends while still holing onto my grandfather’s Nazi paraphenalia.

My journey is not yet complete. In fact, I used a weight watchers points counter book as a bookmark while I was reading HAES. It’s going to be a long journey, but at least its a journey that is finally under way.

Thank you.

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~ by jamiesnydertv on June 8, 2009.

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