Secret Subject Swap: I'm Fat
Welcome to Take Two of September’s Secret Subject Swaps. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
My subject is I am selected to host a new TV show. What type of show is it? Are there any challenges? It was submitted by Dates 2 Diapers
So I have just been selected to host a new TV show, what do I choose? Game shows are really popular but so are reality shows. Am I really going for popularity though? No, I'm not. However, I would chose to host a reality show and it would be called, "I'm fat."
Whoa, I know. Fat is such a negative word but we place the negativity on ourselves. I will be the first to admit that being overweight is not healthy for your body, your heart, or your mind. It is a psychological warfare every day... with yourself.
I get tired of reading article after article or group after group promoting fat power. I am fat, I am happy, leave me the hell alone! Or so they say. Forgive me if I have a hard time believing it. You will also have your obligatory morbidly obese lady claiming she is completely healthy. Maybe she is... for now. I am well overweight, a little over 100 lbs overweight. This means I am morbidly obese by the BMI standards (which is a bunch of garbage, but that is another post). Am I healthy? Sure am. I have no issues with my cholesterol, blood sugar, or blood pressure. However, that is for right now. Both of my parents take a medicine cabinet full of diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medication. I am not blind nor stupid, I know that is my future. And to deny it would be silly... even deadly.
So my new TV show would be a reality show, as I stated, a la "True Life" from MTV. It wouldn't be the Biggest Loser and it wouldn't be fat shaming. All I would really want to do is showcase a day or week in the life of a fat person. How do they feel? Are they happy? Do they still struggle to make sense of the eyes meeting their gaze? It took me many years of therapy to get over the fact that not everyone was judging me. I couldn't even walk onto the call center floor at work without having a total pity party for myself. I shot my self-esteem more times than anyone else ever could.
I want to see the struggles of every day fat people, you know, all of us Americans at this point. I want to see a teenager in high school, a girl trying to go to the gym every day to work it off, a working man in a minimum wage job, and a professional business woman. I want to see stay at home Moms on the PTA, online students, high school drop outs, depressed people, happy people, if you are overweight I want to know how you feel. Why do I care how you feel?
Because no one asks you.
Sure, they may ask you about how your day was or what is wrong when you are crying, but has anyone ever asked you what it felt like to be in your body? Would you proud of those curves or did you cry at night because you felt trapped within layers of yourself? No one talks about your weight because we are taught to act like it is not there. Sans, of course, the kids that moo behind you in Wal-Mart (this seriously happened).
Are you really happy being overweight, like some claim? Or are you just comfortable, complacent... scared?
I have tried to lose weight hundreds of times. Off, back on, off, back on. You know that say that is just as bad for your heart, right? So what is a fat girl to do?
I love myself, I do. But do I look in the mirror every day? Not even close. I am lucky if I look in the mirror once a week. I am a stay at home Mom, full time student, and business owner. I don't really have to leave the house every day. And when I do go out, I go out in my pajamas. Some would argue this is because of my low self-esteem, and you are probably right. But I don't like wearing jeans, they cut into my waist and every wince or trying to pull them back up as the waistband folds down is just another reminded that I am not where I should, and want to me.
Dr. Oz once said you should never wear elastic waistbands. I can see his point. If I am not wearing my pajama pants, I am wear a dress, or an elastic waistband skirt. I am comfortable in them. It wasn't until I tried on my jeans that I realized how much further I had gone along in my fat train. I was making a stop at heart attack or severe depression in the near future. The elastic waistbands lie to me. For now, I am okay with that lie. Though I don't want to be. Sometimes I just feel lost in my world of depression. I am depressed because I feel awful about myself and then I eat to make myself feel better, then I feel depressed for eating so much... hello vicious cycle, how are you?
So on my TV show you will not see people losing 100's of pounds in a few months. And you will not see people telling you that you are going to be perfectly healthy forever at whatever size. You will not even have people telling you you are going to die. We will just follow real people, just like me and maybe you, and they will tell us how they feel. They will show us how their day goes by. How they get dressed, how they buy the right clothes, how they feel being around strangers, or co-workers in the office. How do they feel when they sit down in a movie seat and realize it is getting tight? How does it all make them feel? If it is nothing, then good for them. If it is something, then that is good for them too.
What about me? How do I feel? Here is a little piece I wrote not so long ago about my issues growing up.
My elementary years in school were magical. I loved learning. I got the equivalent of straight A’s, I was on the honor roll, I won almost every award possible, and I had friends that were good to me, nonjudgmental and fun to be around. Of course I was just a kid then but I felt I had it made in school. This is where I belonged, I could achieve anything I set my mind to here, I was in control of my surroundings. If I worked for something hard enough, I could do it. However, when I entered middle school that all changed.
The hallways were filled with strange faces, the classrooms much different than before. There seemed to be more structure but my classmates were chaotic and the teachers had less control. Bullying wasn't taken as seriously as it is now. I was overweight and now acne ridden. I had never had a problem before but now everyone seemed to judge me as I walked down the hall. In 6th grade I kept my standard low profile, keeping to myself and mostly not being bothered by anyone. I am not sure what changed, I felt that it was me and blamed myself for a long time, but later in life realized it may have just been the other kids. They were getting older and going through that awkward stage and needed an outlet for their confusion and aggression. I became that outlet. I was called fat on a daily basis; kids mooed when I went down the hall. I remember one time when I was in my homeroom class a boy called me out in front of the entire class, saying I looked like a fat boy and that it was a wonder that anyone would sit near me. My friends were sitting around me at the time but no one said a word. It seemed to be the common theme.
As I went through middle school my daily torture continued. I started skipping school and hiding out at home. I would pretend to walk to the bus stop and then just walk back home. Eventually the school started calling my parents. I tried to talk to them about it but they told me to just toughen up, “Everyone goes through it.” They would say. Why does that make it okay? It didn't matter to me if this was some sort of rite of passage, I felt like I was dying inside every day. But no one was listening to me. Any self-worth I had coming from elementary school was long gone. I tried to talk to the teachers about it and even made it as far as the principal when I was no longer going to school on a regular basis. No one would listen. They basically told me there was nothing they could do.
By the time I had made it to high school the dynamic was different again. There were a lot of new people and no one was really bothering me. I had learned to keep my nose in a book everywhere I went so I would not make eye contact with other people. This had also allowed me to live in another world so I didn't have to face the one I was in. I explored the works of many great writers, finding kinship with Sylvia Plath. Though she went on to kill herself, I still allowed myself to live in her world for a little while.
Even though high school was different, it still felt the same. When I walked into a classroom, even if no one said anything, I felt everyone’s eyes on me. I felt they were judging me, saying things in their head that others had so easily spoken. I couldn't take it anymore. I made the decision to leave school and become home schooled in independent study. Learning was never the problem for me, I knew I was smart. It was my fragile emotional state that did me in.
Intermingled with these painful memories are happy ones, it just appears that I always remember the bad ones more vividly. Human nature, I suppose. It took me a long time to deal with the physical and mental scares left behind. I am still not completely healed to this day. However, the Snow White in me keeps telling me that there will be a day I don’t look at others and think they are calling me names and I won’t look in the mirror and feel ashamed. I don’t regret anything I have been through. I will still to this day stand up for others in times of distress.
Something magical has begun to happen the last few years though. I have begun standing up for myself. No longer will I let others dismiss me or push me around even verbally. I deserve respect and I am commanding it. I don’t let others down; I stand up for them any chance I get. In spite of all of my new found knowledge though, I realize that loving myself is the most precious gift that could be given to me. Sure, I want to stand up for everyone but I really need to stand up to myself. I let myself be pushed around all of those years, letting other people control how I felt. My best friend Mindy always tells me, “Guilt is an invitation and you do not have to take it!” And she is right. I didn't have to take those invitations but I did because I already felt bad about myself. Being bullied is never a choice but it is what you do with it that makes it your choice.
All those years I just wanted someone to ask me how I felt. How my weight made me feel. But no one did. This is what I would give to the people on my TV show. The challenge involved? Self-love and self-acceptance, no matter what path you choose.