Can of wiggly ol' worms
Monday, October 04, 2010
I was interested in seeing whether the question 'what do you think when you see overweight people' would inspire others to think about the way they see others and themselves in the way it did me, so I started a thread in spark café - though I misspelled overweight, how embarrassing! The i before e thing gets me every time...
A person left a message on my board asking why I didn't ask about underweight people (see I can spell it hahaha oooh dear I'm so ashamed) too..I guess I could have said 'people who don't fall into a healthy weight range' to have been fairer.... the principle remains the same, though I do think that weight related prejudice against underweight people is even more overt than for overs. People seem to feel they can comment negatively to a thin person as much as they want! I also only see someone noticeably underweight once in a very blue moon, whereas us fatties are everywhere so it's more 'front of mind'.
You see, I am an overweight person. At 87 kgs (now) and 168cms (5'7") I am in the obese range of BMI. I found the question I posed in the thread and in the blog I wrote the same day was one, when posed in my good friend's blog initially, that made me look more closely at my attitudes myself and my own relationship with my weight. I was really thinking of people about my level of obesity rather than people with eating disorders, whether those disorders cause over- or under-weight.
The thing is, for the VAST MAJORITY OF US (AND I DO MEAN VAST HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) who are within the middle BMI grades, being overweight or underweight is a choice. It's not in the same ballpark as having a facial piercing or wearing a team shirt, but it's also not in the same league as race, age or sex. We are defined by the choices we make and if we don't like the definition, surely we're free to make another choice? For instance, I hate the fact that according to society because of my size I am only allowed to be 'quirky' instead of sexy , but I chose to eat more than I burnt off for 10 years and my size is my payment for that choice. And this is why people who are in genuine need, who have genuine emotional and/or physical reasons for their weight, get tarred with the same 'you're a slacker' brush as the rest of us.
I believe really strongly that it's a rare person who gets to be obese (BMI rating) without having some sort of dysfunctional relationship with food and the further outside the normal range the person is, the more dysfunctional the relationship most likely is. At some point, the relationship would stop being a choice and begin being about addiction. Where that point is would be different for every person and sadly, sometimes what's broke won't ever be fixed...
SO! As ever, compassion is the answer. You know, I really don't think there are many problems that couldn't be solved by the liberal application of compassion.
Essentially, I believe that we should be compassionate towards all living things, fat, skinny, emo, gay, black, green, llama, whale, redneck, whatever. We are all trying our best to live the best way we know how to do, all reaching for the light in our own way. Along with that goes this: The most important person in your life is yourself. If we can find peace with ourselves and be compassionate to ourselves, we should be able to find some compassion for others.
We are all equally flawed and equally beautiful. And all equally confused.
Edit later: Since I wrote the above, I've found a lot of responses in the blogosphere and in particular one sparker has got really upset with me and says that I was inciting hatred essentially. As you might imagine, this has really upset me and I feel a bit like crying ATM. I was going to leave her comment on my page because she has a right to be heard but it's too upsetting so I am going to delete it when I've finished here. Anyway she felt really hurt about what people were saying because she felt attacked and even though I apologised and tried to explain she said it wasn't good enough. I don't think she has read either of the blogs I've written on the topic, because I think she prolly woulda written something nasty in the comments? Or maybe she did but still believes I'm a hater. Oh dear. I've tried to take down the thread but can't work out how to do so so I guess I just have to live with it.
later again - thread is down now, yay!