When will it stop hurting?
I’m doing the work, taking fatty back, owning the name and feeling confident in my body, in the space I take up, my largess, my rippling waves of undulating life… owning that, flaunting it, embracing the power that emanates. So in these empowered spaces I read a book, watch a TV show, open a magazine and sometimes fat hatred comes out of nowhere, a violence dealt with a careless blow and it leaves you with a chestful of air that won’t expel… If I have some inkling of what it’s going to be, or said or done my defense system is moderating on all channels and purging the malcontented viruses as they appear in my midst. But sometimes that system is shut down for repairs, or for regeneration, sometimes I am my naked face and its then that the insidious fat hate, the hatred of all that I am can come in again and leave me so breathless with eyes prickling, shoulders hunching and once again I can be that girl on the field, in class, on the bus, who was that object of ridicule.
The other day I was watching the new premiere of “How I Met Your Mother”, I am not a big fan, in fact I don’t even have cable, it’s just something on and sometimes it’s funny. This happened to be the premiere and within the space of 5 minutes “Barney” laid the track down for not one but two fat bombs. The first one was, “ What if this tie gets fat and old and I don’t want this tie anymore?” meaning the woman he was about to marry. Then within a few minutes he loudly proclaims in the bar, “except for fatties!”… The first joke I was just shocked but snorted like whatever , the second time I it was just like someone dumped water on me. Overwhelmed with new feelings of sadness, shame and shame for all the FAT girls sitting in their own living rooms hearing these fucking stupid jokes, while their thin families, friends, boyfriends, wives, all roar in the standard appreciative laughter…” ha ha ha ha… yeah Barney, you tell EM! NO FATTIES!!” The shame of that; of having to laugh along with your company to the jokes that demean who you are, that makes you the last stop, the utter desperate resort… beyond redemption, humanity or hope. Then you might feel more shame about feeling shame at all, like it’s just a joke, right? What’s the big deal? But you and I know a little more of your beautiful darling glistening soul shrunk more into her conch shell, fell back deeper into the coral, being told that you. Are. Not. Worthy of love. And if you are thin you better not fuck up and get fat because if you do that will be your husbands’ worst nightmare and he will leave you. The message? Fat people are not worthy of love. How could this possibly be just a harmless little joke?!?!?!
Maybe I am putting too much leverage on a stupid comedy sitcom, I mean I invited it into my house, but that’s a microcosm of the whole thing. We, as fatties try to surround ourselves with messages that are not the dominant paradigm (if we have survived enough to get to the point where we find them…. So many others are still stuck in the old culture, killing themselves on an impossible dream), we surround ourselves with blogs and friends and websites which tell us a very different story. But sometimes, one sneaks in like this show for a shitty uppercut. When will I no longer be affected by things like this? It’s like having a glass jaw, a constant inherent weakness in the OK of me… but then again, if it got to the point where I no longer cared… is that really the goal? To be totally inured to the taunts and jingles of others? Shouldn’t I be doing something more? To stay fragile and awake and alive and to fight the very things that are inherent prejudice in our world?
So I guess I am working on that, to remain effective but without the anxiety. To be clear without the internalization and to stand up when we see these things and consistently denounce them.