When I was on Dr. Oz last month, I was attacked pretty heavily for my weight. Some viewers were upset that an actual doctor would feature me, a plus size women who was happy and content in her skin. They were pissed that I sat on that stage and talked about why I felt it was important to get to a place where you loved your body and felt confident in your skin.
I smiled as I told my story, I bit my cheek and answered politely when he asked me the typical fat girl questions about if I had seen a doctor and if I was healthy, and I beamed with tears in my eyes as a brave curvy woman came to join me on stage in her bathing suit. I am and was so honored that he loved my book and gave me a platform that big to talk about something I loved so much. How awesome was that?! And with that huge amazing platform comes tons of good, but sometimes some bad, too.
And after that show aired, viewers lobbed insults and hate at me with the same vigilance and outrage we direct toward things like cilantro or ISIS.
No matter what I said, fat would never be healthy or beautiful or brave. My message was one of lies and harm, not of empowerment. And those viewers would never pretend that a plus size person was anything other than an ugly sack of personal failure and laziness.
Here’s the thing, folks… It is not my motherfucking job to teach you how to be nice to fat people. That is something you learn from your parents, peers, or from various social cues that direct you toward basic human decency.
It is my job to empower the people you belittle, shame and degrade publicly on a daily basis so they can grow to see that the horrible crap you dish out to make yourself feel better is just that… crap. They are who I break barriers down for, they are who I wrote the book for, and they are the reason I sat on that stage. My message was for them.
Do I hope that eventually the haters will succumb to the secondary effects of this movement as more and more women stand up to say enough? Absolutely. Empathy, it’s a wonderful thing. But in the mean time, they won’t stop me from fighting for their friends and sisters and daughters desperate to feel something other than body hate and defeat.
But diabetes! No.
But, but epidemic! No.
I am healthy. My bloodwork is perfection. I’ve never had high blood pressure. I run two days a week and have a personal trainer who comes to my home twice a week for a group class with friends, as well. None of this is any of your business, but I am telling you to prove my point. You are wrong about me, body shamers.
I’m not unhealthy and I’m not a walking diabetes time bomb, I am also not some rare exception, so everything you are saying about my body has nothing to do with looking out for my greater good, and everything to do with the fact that you are a mean person who doesn’t like the way I look.
And that is actually fine. We are allowed to have preferences. My best friend swoons over Channing Tatum while I’d rather throw my panties at Pre-Price is Right Drew Carey. We have different tastes that determine what we find attractive. This is a normal human thing. The difference is that good people don’t tease or make fun of those they don’t find visually pleasing. Even my kindergarten understands she isn’t entitled to dictate the shapes and lives of the people who exist around her. The problem is that grown adults do this every single day.
Here’s an example. I have a friend who weighs around 110 lbs and eats four McDonald’s breakfast burritos at least two times a week. She has the intestines of a 15 year old boy, and I love that about her. If I ordered the same meal and sat next to her in a booth, who do you think would be seen as the unhealthy one? Whose picture would you see taken without consent and posted on the internet? Which one of us is asking for it?
The answer is actually neither of us, but if for some reason the answer is just me.. you might be a fat shamer.
There are people in this world who see those around them and decide, on looks alone, how they deserve to be treated. If they are skinnier or fatter than what they deem as normal, they hate them. They tell people they are unhealthy and put restrictions on their diets and promote or deduct cheeseburgers accordingly. As if it’s up to them. As if they get a say.
If body shamers were genuinely concerned over the health of this nation, they’d be on the front lines fighting to make healthcare and fresh food affordable. They’d welcome every person into their gym with enthusiasm and not mock and take pictures of them behind their backs. And they’d remind every person, big or small, that their bodies are beautiful and worth caring for. But, body shamers aren’t advocates. Body shamers are dicks.
Here’s the quick and dirty reality of loving yourself, only you can do it and only you matter. The shamers won’t go away, they have a lot of their own unhappy things happening inside of them, but that is no reason to allow them to climb inside your head to squat there. Mean people on the internet with bad grammar don’t get to determine how you feel about yourself today. You deserve love, happiness and respect right now. Not in 20 lbs. Now. And, first person responsible for giving that to you, is you. Once you realize that, what everyone else gives you doesn’t matter anymore, you simply have no room to accommodate their hate, and you aren’t obligated to carry it around, anyways.
Nobody who meets me treats me like the 230 lbs fat girl anymore, I simply don’t give them the option. And helping you do the same, that is my job.