Social media is interesting, isn't it?
I don't spend as much time on Facebook as I used to. It used to be fun, or maybe I used to be fun. I don't know. Timehop has become yet another way that I can remember how terribly, terribly awkward I am. I have posted so many things that I look back on and think, "Why did I care about that? Why did I think anyone else would care about that?" My God, such a Vaguebooker too. It's humiliating now, and it's only been a few years ago.
I do like Instagram though, mostly because I like to follow Health and Fitness accounts (many are unintentionally hilarious what with the photoshop and all) and I like pictures of dogs. There is no shortage of pictures of dogs on the internet.
Recently, I posted a picture on Instagram which was a side-by-side of myself from last month and a picture from several years ago. I had lost 181 pounds between the two pictures. I was/am proud of this.
I get a lot of "likes" on these types of pictures, mostly from my sweet friends but also from a lot of other Health and Fitness accounts. This is nice, even though I'm fairly certain a number of them are just trying to sell me wraps and pills and diet shakes.
Did you know you can also get tagged on Instagram without your permission? That's a thing.
That picture, the one that I agonized over even posting and finally got up enough guts to post got me tagged in another picture, along with several other accounts. The picture we were tagged in said:
Still fat as f**k.
Nice, right? It got taken down before I could even report it.
I also got an email from an email I didn't and still don't recognize from a concerned individual who is a "daily reader of my blog" (um, don't really blog daily and haven't in a long time, but okay) who is upset with me because I'm not an ally for overweight people. I used to be an ally and now I'm not and frankly? She's pretty pissed off about it and wanted me to know she won't be contributing to my income anymore by giving me blog clicks.
So...first of all, before I get into what this email actually meant, I don't make any money off this blog. Not one penny. You might notice the marked lack of advertising here (and also that I only write when I feel like it, which lately is not that often). I don't know where this myth came about that merely because a blog exists it's somehow making money for the owner. That's simply not true. If that were true I'd make like eleven billion blogs and wouldn't be laying awake at night worrying about college tuition for the Boy and the Girl. I'm smart like that.
Second...how do you figure? What makes you think that simply because I've lost weight I don't care about overweight people or am somehow trying to shame them?
This perplexed me.
I didn't write back to this person and don't intend to. I'm not sure what I could say that would make them happy and, um, I actually don't care much about their happiness as it relates to me. I guess that makes me not a happiness ally or whatever, but I just don't.
What I did do this weekend, which I very much regret, is look into both the Fat Acceptance (FA) and Health at Every Size (HAES) movements.
There is a lot of...grossness online. I can't think of a better word than gross. There are gross people. Gross things. Mean people. Disgusting people. Harsh people. People that are really, really angry for a large number of reasons. There are people who literally hate others, I mean, really actually hate them, because of the size of their pants. No kidding.
You've probably seen the video that someone created called "Dear Fat People". I believe she's a comedian. I think she just released the video last week sometime and the internet has been buzzy about it ever since. I watched it. I also watched some other "Response" videos that people made. A great number of the response videos called the comedian the c-word. So. That's helpful.
I mean, the video wasn't nice. When you refer to someone as "Jabba the Son" and say they smell like sausage you probably don't have positive intentions in mind, you know? I've said before and I'll say again, if someone "cares about your health" ONLY as it relates to weight, they don't really give two craps about your health. No one ever said to me or about me, "I hope she's having her mammograms because her mom had breast cancer". No one said, "Her aunt died of ovarian cancer, I hope she's getting regular pap smears". Not once. Never.
"I'm just worried about your health" is a very vague statement. Sometimes it's completely sincere. Sometimes it means, "You are fat, I don't like looking at you, I'm afraid your weight is somehow a reflection on me. You are making me uncomfortable. Please stop it."
You know what though? I don't care about that person. I don't care what she feels about my body or what my body looks like now or used to look like. You know why?
She means nothing to me. Literally. Nothing.
I don't care about her. I don't think about her. I don't care what the guy next door thinks. I don't care what a "helpful" relative thinks. I don't care what the lady at the Pier One Imports thinks.
I care what I think.
I care what my body looks like. I am incredibly, painfully hard on myself because of how my body looks. I talked smack to myself this morning when I got on the scale. I felt defeated.
If you met me and you told me you'd lost the same amount of weight that I've lost, I would think you were amazing. I would be so proud of you. I would tell you how proud I am. There are people in my life who do this for me and I am incredibly grateful for them. I have trouble believing them, because it's about me, but I appreciate and love them.
It's not the same for me. I don't show myself the same kindness.
That's not okay either, I guess. Because there are people who think that if you lose weight that means you aren't happy with your body and you aren't an ally. You hate fat people, because you don't want to be one. Even if you are kind and supportive and loving to others, no matter what their body looks like, if you aren't okay with being fat then you are a fatshamer.
No, seriously. This is a thing.
I'm tired of all this. I am so tired.
I don't know how to break it down so that people will understand it, but here's the facts:
1) I don't hate anyone, with the possible exception of John Edwards. I won't rehash all of my feelings about him either, because at this point in my life I don't even care very much about him at all.
2) It is 100% possible to love yourself and still want to make changes to your appearance. I don't love myself, but that is not why I wanted to make changes to my appearance. I wanted to make changes to my appearance because they were a result of making changes to my overall health, my diet, and my exercise routines. I wanted to change those things because I was tired of being tired. I was tired of having headaches. I was tired of feeling uncomfortable in the skin I was in. I wanted to be active and I wanted to feel better.
3) None of those reasons I just listed have anything to do with you.
4) No, they don't.
5) I don't know how I feel about Health at Every Size. I know many, many people who are overweight or obese and are completely healthy. I know many, many people who are thin who are unhealthy. None of those people are me. I was less healthy than I wanted to be when I was overweight. I couldn't walk as far as I wanted to walk. I got winded. I have no idea if that is the reason for my infertility problems, but maybe it was. I'll never know. I don't think it's necessarily fair to say that everyone who is overweight has health issues. However, I can tell you, FOR MYSELF, I feel so much better every single day of my life now.
6) That's the crux of these, people. It's about you. Yourself. No one else. If you are healthy and happy and feeling good at a larger weight, that's awesome. If you are happy at a smaller weight, that's awesome too. It's not my business. It's not some comedian's business. You have to do what is right for you, for your children, for your family, for your health. Whatever that means. I'm working on this. I hope you will too.
7) I am not fat-shaming you because I lost weight. My weight loss literally has nothing to do with you at all. Nothing. Zero. I don't care if you told me 100 times I was fat, if you bought me clothes that were too small to "motivate" me, sat by the side of the road and mooed at me, or loved me unconditionally no matter what I weighed...I still didn't lose weight for you.
8) I think acceptance is a really wonderful thing, but it has to start with you. Really, you are the only one that matters.
9) I am married to a white, bald man. That does not mean I am discriminating against black men who have hair. It does not mean that I'm discriminating against women, because I'm not married to one. It does not mean that I am discriminating against Japanese men, because I'm not married to one. It does not mean anything except I fell in love with a white guy who is bald and I married him. The end. Period.
10) Life is hard, you guys. It's too hard. It's ridiculous. I feel like I spend 90% of my life trying to grab little moments of joy. We don't need to over complicate it by getting angry about what people that we don't even care about have to say.
My challenge to you is this. The next time someone hurts your feelings, take a long hard look at who the person is to you. Do you really care about what they have to say? Do you respect them? Does their opinion matter?
If not, I think you'll be okay.
I know this is hard. I've been hurt, badly, by the comments of others. I've been destroyed emotionally by people who were supposed to care about me. I've been up and down more times than I can count because of my own feelings about myself. Words can hurt. There is no denying this.
It has to stop. Somewhere we have to draw the line. Don't give petty people that power.
I'm drawing the line for myself. About myself.
I hope you will too.