I want to talk about the “F” word for a minute.
No, not that one. “FAT”.
My weight has fluctuated wildly all throughout my life. Strangely, though, my thinnest times have been my most unhealthy times. About 10 – 12 years ago, I fell within (or even below, at one point!) the “normal” range for my height. I was also smoking heavily, severely depressed, sleep deprived, drinking heavily and not eating.
And you know what?
A coworker looked at me, with my cheekbones and elbows sticking out, shaking, hair falling out, dark circles under my eyes, stinking like cigarettes and told me “wow, you look fantastic, you’ve lost so much weight”. Because that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
I was told by a love interest, when heavier, that he “wished I’d look after myself”. So, I quit smoking. I lost 15 pounds. I got my cholesterol and blood pressure down. Apparently, that’s not really what he meant. He meant, I wish you weren’t so fat, but he disguised it as concern for my health. I’ve been reading some fat activist blogs, and apparently this false concern is quite common. People find fat objectionable; they take it very seriously. Little girls would, apparently, according to a survey, rather lose a parent than be FAT. Recently, I read an article which stated at something like 60% of men felt it was okay to end a relationship with a woman if she gained weight. Apparently, though, it’s okay to be bald and have a pot belly and hair growing out of your ears if you’re a dude.
I have made up my mind, after nearly 50 years of kicking around, fat and thin, that the ONLY reason I will change my weight is for my health. Fat is a feminist issue. Thin, frail women look like they need looking after; they appeal to that macho, chest-thumping thang… I don’t look fragile in the least. I don’t need looking after. I look after myself, plus several other people. Plus, I’m healthier as a slightly heavy non-smoker than I ever was as a smoker at ANY weight. Ultimately, my goals are to be: a non-smoker, with a repaired hernia, and carrying less weight so my arthritis in my legs and hips isn’t as troublesome. It will be a bonus to be able to purchase more clothing at cheaper prices, although at my height, my options are still limited.
But I’m not going to lose height, either.
I’m a hell of a woman. I’m gregarious, beautiful, engaging, creative, and intelligent. I’m a kick-ass mom, and an outspoken advocate. I have fantastic hair. I’m a great conversationalist, I’m curious, I’m fierce, I’m loving and funny. I’m tall and I’m strong. I can make a pie that would make you weep. I can draw, sing and I play several instruments. I’m a writer, a reader and a questioner.
And right now, I’m fat. And I’m still all those things, too. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not fat because I’m lazy or stupid. One day, I might be thinner.
But I have no interest in anyone who reserves judgment about their feelings for me until I am.
PS – just adding a link to a blogger I like on this subject – she has some great insights and sparked a vibrant conversation on this topic – http://www.alreadypretty.com/2010/08/youve-lost-weight-you-look-great.html