Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fat (part 1)

I am fat. 5'5, and 220-225 pounds. To paraphrase Kate Harding, I'm not ugly, lazy, stupid, unmotivated, or uninformed. In fact, I'm kind of nice looking, and reasonably smart. And fat. . . so please don't tell me I'm not; I prefer to be reality based. My desire to be thin--FoBt?--falls in three categories:

1) I want to be graceful and strong, and do things I love without excessive pain. Like hiking, backpacking, jujitsu, salsa, hip hop, marksmanship, West African dance, rock climbing, and ballet. Unlike, say, Ragen's*, my skeleton seems to have trouble holding itself together under pressure. This isn't caused by fat--everyone in my family has problems of this kind, including the skinnies. In theory, the pain and incapacitation are 100% solvable with lifestyle changes, under the bountiful supervision of a physical therapist or osteopath. My PT, God bless him, hasn't once mentioned my weight, but it doesn't take rocket science to guess it's exacerbating the problem. Also, chronic pain and chronic depression mutually re-enforce like a mofo. Those two problems take up a lot of my life.

2) I want to be considered attractive. It feels silly to complain about this, because I did ok in the genetic lottery. I don't face the penalties that people who have far-below-average looks get slapped with. Still, I'm looking for a partner--or at least I plan to be this decade--and it bothers me a lot that so many guys who would otherwise be attracted (and/or attractive) to me seem to find me entirely invisible as a woman, or to equate "attractive" with "not fat." I don't think anyone should be sexually invisible unless they choose it. It just so happens that being thin would solve it, in this case, for me. Likely, being thin would dramatically improve my social desirability in this culture generally. . . not that I'd know what to do with that, but still.

3) I want to live free of discrimination based on fat. The link between wage and BMI is very, very well documented--and, incidentally, much stronger for women than for men. If that weren't plenty, things like denial of medical care, even when the patient is clearly not at fault for their condition, happen all the time. 24% of nurses said they were "repulsed" by obese people; that's not how quality care happens. Even if they had any right to know, I don't have time to explain to everyone I meet that I've carefully made choices I felt were best for my health.

It might seem the choice is obvious--I should just try to loose weight. I'm a lot more stable than I used to be, and it could be a psychologically healthy option now . . but the choice isn't clear. That's all I'm going to say about it tonight. Yeah, I know, I'm all full of cliff hangers.


1 comment:

misssrobin said...

What a great examination of this aspect of reality. I am significantly over weight. Would I like to be thinner? Yes. Am I ready to completely upend my life to make it happen? No.

I would like to feel better. I would like to not huff and puff when I do fun things. I'd like to live longer. But I can only handle so many things at once and there just isn't room on my plate for this right now.

Thanks for the honest and direct look at this topic. Can't wait to read more.