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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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm so sorry this turned into online drama. You handled this with grace and class, and that says a lot about you!

    3875 days ago
    I'm so sorry! You don't deserve to be beaten up, I read your previous blog, I didn't read your thread I'm sorry but if it was worded anything like your original blog there was nothing offensive in it, you were asking a legitimate question, and I thought promoting tolerance and self confidence not hatred. I'm sorry this situation has turned out so badly for you!

    3875 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6096849
    Sorry to hear about all the drama an innocent thread ignited. Yikes! I wish I could've read it. Just reading a lot of your other posts, responses, etc. I know you're a very lighthearted person. It's a shame this person took personal offense to what you were saying. Even though spark is a positive force of encouragement and inspiration, I've learned a long time ago when reading blogs, etc. you have to have thick skin and not take things so personally. I hope you can put it behind you and move forward. xoxo
    3876 days ago
    Hey guys,

    I emailed about 15 poeople begging to have the thread taken down so it's gone now, yay. Thanks for your support, I slept badly last night cos I couldn't BELIEVE I had caused someone so much pain and suffering!

    I'm glad you guys get that I wasn't trying to be a 'hater'.

    Big love to all and lets put it behind us x
    3876 days ago
    Wow. It goes to show there's more than one side to the story. I believe that you had good intentions, but I could see how it could be taken in the wrong way, too. I saw the post and decided not to participate. However, refusing to accept your explanation and apology definitely is not ok.
    3876 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/4/2010 3:38:11 PM

    I would have like to have PM'd you directly, but you don't allow PMs.

    I replied to that person's blog regarding your thread. Yes, your thread has been removed because several other members complained to the moderators that it was insensitive. She PM'd me to let me know that she found my original response to her thread was just as insensitive as the thread you posted. I have a feeling she wrote me the same things she wrote to you. So, I went back and edited my comment. I don't feel that I wrote anything insensitive. However, the OP felt that I was insensitive to her feelings.

    This was not your fault. You asked a legitimate question and it was taken the wrong way. Please don't take this personally.

    3876 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/4/2010 1:34:45 PM
    You get that! emoticon Some people just misconstrue what they read!

    I think you brought up a valid point for dicussion. emoticon
    3876 days ago
    I have reason to believe that Health at Every Size, including Healthy BMIs, is an alternative that has not seen enough light of day, at SparkPeople. I am fully aware that fat-phobia has historically been greater Down Under than it has even in the United States.

    Particularly, we are less of a world cultural force, since we became a debtor nation. So, it could even be where you're from ...

    3876 days ago
    you said it girl!! i LOVE this blog. i would marry it. you made me LOL multiple time... "us fatties are everywhere" hhahahaaha. it's too bad that people get offended so easily on a legitimate question that is an important one.
    3876 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6721736
    aww girlie! I am so sorry that people went way overboard with this and did not understand at all the intent behind it. It was meant as just a innocent introspective question, something to ask ourselves about how we think and react about ourselves. I can't believe how this could be taking so out of context. We are all overweight on this site. Shouldn't we be able to be honest with ourselves?
    Keep your chin up girlie.... I feel bad cause I kinnda started all this.... :(
    3876 days ago
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