Consciousness Rising

So, thanks to Kim, who read my bitchfest about the lack of exercise clothing for fatties, I tried out a hip hop class last night instead of the belly dance class I was going to try last week.

The class was really good.

There were about 40 people in it, a variety of body shapes, ages and abilities, although I was the fattest one there. Yep, I still do that: Check to see if I’m the fattest. I usually am, especially in any venue where movement is required, because I think people who are big are told not to move. I’ve stopped checking to see if I’m the fattest everywhere else in life though, because I’m less body-conscious about my size in other arenas, and just assume that my body isn’t going to cause me any distress or hindrances in the way I am perceived. And maybe because I walk around with this notion firmly implanted in my head, it hasn’t.

I’m reading this book called: The Forbidden Body: Why Being Fat Isn’t a Sin. It’s by Shelly Bovey, and was published in 1989, and then reprinted in 1994. So it’s a bit old, but probably not too old in the way of how people think about bodies, especially fat bodies. It’s a bit hard for me to read, admittedly, because I have just wandered through life not really thinking about how my own body may be perceived by others. I really have no concept of that at all, actually. My own body image issues are so, well, internal. Yes, I know I am fat, but really, the hatred about that has felt so intrinsic and motivated from within that I haven’t stopped to think about what other people are saying about my body. Clearly I understand these internal issues come from an external source. Of course as a kid I was taunted; of course as an adult I’ve been harassed by the medical industrial complex. But I’ve become rather oblivious to it all. I guess it’s an ego defense mechanism, on my part. And it’s kept me rather happy. It’s true: I’ve never been denied a job, I’ve never been wanting for companionship, I’ve never had problems getting an education, I’ve never had a problem doing anything that any of the people with thin privilege apparently take for granted, because I just assume thin privilege, even though I am fat.

I don’t know what to make of that.

Am I to find problems in my life where there currently haven’t been any because of a body that I live in rather comfortably? A body that may be hated by the world, but I am comfortable ignoring the messages about that? Like the proverbial ostrich? I’m not sure I want to start feeling shitty about my life just to identify with fat anger. I am very satisfied with the fact that I walk around like I can do whatever the hell I want, despite weighing 263.8 pounds, and everyone else can go to hell, fuck you very much.

For me, fatness has definitely caused some significant issues with health care, and I simply do not see the doctor for things I probably should because I know I don’t get the care I should because they see me and assume I am unwilling to care for myself, so why should they care for me? Fat has caused me tremendous distrust of several health care providers, including my shrink, where I am at my most vulnerable: I am a woman of too much excess — in body and mood — and shrinks don’t care for that very much. At the ob/gyn I have had a male practitioner talk to me about my weight with his hand inside me, claiming that despite it, I was still attractive. I worry that someday I will have a burst appendix or a bleeding ulcer and I will not go to the hospital because my treatment has been so poor in the past I would rather just wait the pain out that be subjected to the spiteful malpractice of what passes for medical care in this country. So yes, the health care industry is an area where righteous anger about fat prejudice is alive and well within me.

I guess in a lot of ways, I have become so used to being fat, that I don’t know what else I could be. And so I can’t pretend to be anything else. I just got on with my life. While I struggle at times with my body image, I’ve taken myself out of the race for thinness. It’s not even an option for me. People who yammer on and on and on about diets and the unhealthiness of fat: They are just noise in the background, obsessive nobodies who are taking up oxygen. What I have to keep reminding myself of, however, is that those obsessive nobodies shape public policy and funnel national health care dollars into programs that detrimentally effect me. And that’s should be enough of a something to force this ostrich to pull her head out of its hole.

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