These are the messages I get every day: you are a fat, lazy, person who has no self discipline, disobeys God and the Bible, and you should just stay in your house and not exist. And if you go outside, you should dress in a bland baggy outfit because your body is offensive. (If I was a person of color, you can multiply this by a million.)
I have been concern trolled, sneered at, stared at, and told that the existence of my body is bad. Even by people who don’t know me from a hole in the wall.
Most of the time I don’t really give a shit if people talk about my body, especially if it’s strangers. It’s easier with strangers because it’s easier to tell someone you don’t know to f**k off. Sometimes it’s people who should know better, like clergy or even friends. That’s the hardest part of all because when it happens my brain is like, “Oh. They posted that? Huh, they must think I’m ugly. Shit, I must be ugly. I suck. I’m a horrible person. They must not really like hanging out with me then. Maybe I shouldn’t bother eating today.”
Yup. It goes there. Not all the time, these days, but it goes there. It’s hard to admit publicly that I have (what used to be called) an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder). I don’t fit the stereotype of someone who has an eating disorder.
But I’ve heard all this crap so often, it’s in my brain. It does the abuse for me. It suggests to me that maybe I shouldn’t bother with food because it would be more comfortable for the people around me. That if I don’t eat much (or at all) when I’m at church, then I’ll be seen as a good fatty and under control. Or that if I’m at a party, I shouldn’t stand by the food table because then people will assume that I’ll eat the whole thing. Or if I’m in a restaurant I’ve thought about what I order so that I don’t look like I’m stereotypically bad.
Don’t get me started about traveling publicly while fat. In fact, I just won’t go there.
But the bullying and messages that everyone gets every day isn’t abuse or bullying. Oh no. The institutions, including our government, consider body shaming and bullying quite ok. It’s ok to call someone a fat bitch or a skinny bitch because our bodies are a matter of discipline and willpower. Obviously it has nothing to do with genetics, medications, disabilities, or any other reason.
Today I’m just really tired of all the body shame. Today I’m tired of hearing and seeing friends and colleagues do harm to themselves in order to feel worthy of existing. I’m tired of seeing and hearing people say horrible things about themselves because society deems that they should do so. I’m tired of feeling like people think it’s ok to abuse people of any size because they feel that my and other people’s bodies are a matter of public comment.
Personally, I’m tired of me, my wife, and my friends being considered other people’s worst nightmare.
It seems that compassion for others is in short supply these days. Gods, I wish we’d all grow the f**k up.