Shame Shame

3 Oct

I am sure most of you have seen this video that is making the rounds on the internet.

I think this is an extremely brave and important message that Jennifer Livingston decided to share with her area.  Little did she know that she would be sharing it with the world.

I saw this video just a day after reading this article about fat people being an epidemic.  It all really got me to thinking about my own feelings and identity as I am still a FatChick and have been for most of my life.

I was the chubby awkward kid in elementary and middle school.  I managed to somehow make friends who were popular enough that growing up was much easier for me than a lot of other chubby kids.  I can remember from about 2nd grade on, getting called names and laughed at for merely walking by or when trying to participate in sports.  I had names called to my face and heard about things said behind my back.  I was always the friend and never the girlfriend.  I used to fantasize at length about getting skinny and shocking the lot of fools who had been mean to me over the years.

I survived, I think, because I was funny…even if the joke was on me.  I had no shame in going for the laugh.  I felt accepted and that was all  I wanted.  I was lucky.  I really was.  Despite all of the bad, I had popular friends and was picked on minimally compared to others.

For all my humor hubris, I was terrified of not being liked.  I had horrible self-esteem issues.  This led me to occasional binge eating sessions.  I worked at a grocery store that also had a pizza place in high school.  It was so easy to buy food under the ruse that I was picking up stuff for my mom, then binge on the way home, or sneak it into my bedroom in my backpack and gorge myself there.  I wasn’t starving.  I really don’t know the true reason why I used to do that.  I just know that I did it in private and felt shame for it afterward.

The point of rambling on about myself is all tied into that video and that article I shared.  Shaming fat people is not a solution to a problem.  Fat exists for a myriad of reasons.  As mentioned in the article, not all of us are Cheeto fanatics without a care in the world about our size.

I have been honest about my past eating habits.  That was a big part of why I am in the situation I am in now.  However, it is not as simple as I should have just ate less.  I have emotional issues/ties with food.  That is complicated.  I did not eat without a care about what it was doing to my body.  I often ate out of disgust, depression, anger and frustration for what I had done to my body.

None of us “fat people” need thin people to shame us.  We feel it.  We feel shame every time we look in a mirror, catch our reflection in a window, see a picture of ourselves, have to buy a size larger in clothing, eat crap that we know is part of the problem, or when we are lazy.

That shame leads us to binge eating in private, avoiding social events, avoiding workouts, and in some cases hurting ourselves.  That public shame only intensifies the shame we feel on our own.

My husband can attest to how many times, I have been anxious in situations where I am meeting new people.  I think they will instantly judge me based on my weight.  It is just a reflex to think the worst of people because of how little value I place on myself due to my physical appearance.

I think the message to be healthy, and therefore weigh less, is an important one.  However, trying to get the obese to lose weight by making us feel like we are worthless is actually part of the “obesity epidemic”.

We need to feel valued and respected despite our size.  Only once we learn to love ourselves enough to take care of our bodies, will we have the courage to change our problems.  If I am made to feel embarrassed about being fat, do you think I will want to work out in front of people?  Think about it…

I know all of you that comment and read regularly are not part of the problem.  In my life you have been a huge part of the solution for me.  You have given me so much encouragement and respect, that I am stronger because of it.

This trending topic is just a very personal one to me, and I wanted to share this FatChick’s thoughts on the whole situation.

Please comment and share your thoughts and feelings.  Whether you agree or disagree with me, I want to hear your point of view.

Stay Strong and Keep Moving,

9 Responses to “Shame Shame”

  1. Roya Ghorbani October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Amen. Beautifully written!

    Roya
    http://www.royaghorbani.wordpress.com

  2. Melanie October 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Great post today girl. It really hit home. I read the article you linked up but unfortunately can’t see the video here at work (it is blocked), so I will have to catch it tonight at home. I whole heartidly agree with you. I don’t think using the term “epidemic” or trying to embarrass weight will help someone “try to lose weight”. Come on – it is like smoking. Smokers – smoke – they know it causes cancer, but it is their choice to continue to smoke. Do we have a “smoking epidemic” going on? It is like this – people are people – over weight, under weight, regular weight, smokers, non-smokers, drinkers, non-drinkers, etc… but that is THEIR choice to make. Positive reinforcement is what helps and motivates someone to get “healthy”.

    For instance my mom smoked for 30+ years – 2 years ago she came down with pneumonia. Her doctor put her on a healthy regime and she stuck to it – she lost weight, stopped smoking, became happier/healthier. WHY? Because people noticed – she noticed. People were so proud of her and she was so proud of herself. SHE felt good. Not because he doctor beat her up and embarrassed her, otherwise, un-healthy behaviors. She was getting positive reinforcement from others and most importantly from herself.

    I could go on and on about this topic.. because I don’t agree with certain things the government is doing to try to alleviate what they consider “epidemics”. I am going to stop here and say this… You rock Jennifer and I love being here to rid along with you in your journey.

    • Melanie October 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

      I meant “ride along”. LOL.. you can tell my soap box hands were going a mile a minute:)

      • chirpybleu October 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        LOL! Thanks so much for your support and for sharing your mom’s story with us! I think your point was perfect. There will always be unhealthy people and as long as we are all free to make a choice, it is on each individual person to make the change. I also wholeheartedly agree that positive reinforcement can motivate those who are looking for help to make a change. Hugs to you Mel!

      • Melanie October 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

        Man I should of used spell check – at least 30 times. Ugh… HA

      • chirpybleu October 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

        Haha! It happens to the best of us!

  3. Laura @ Chaotic Domestic October 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Great post today. I agree with you wholeheartedly. You’re such an inspiration and it’s so wonderful reading about your journey.

    • chirpybleu October 4, 2012 at 7:47 am #

      Laura, you are too kind! Thank you so much for tagging along with me!

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