A couple of infuriating/frustration-inducing things have come my way in the last week (aside from the terror/anguish/guilt/fury cycle that is the larger-world news) about fatness and fatitude. The first was an article from a research study in Britain (with a whole 38 subjects!!!) that concluded that fat people have fewer grey cells in their brains. If you’ve read more that 2 of these blogs, I don’t need to tell you my opinion on that.
The second was this: https://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/it-gets-better-unless-youre-fat?utm_term=.wiwpYMgJD#.hnOMZ3PVL which was re-posted on Weighty Matters. I’ve re-re-posted it here because it’s probably important for people to remember that just because some progress, even large progress, has been made in one area of human rights doesn’t mean that the issue is over and done with. And I suspect that there are some readers out there for whom that piece is a sort of balm, in that it names a piece of their reality that has been mostly silenced.
But then this popped up on FB today: http://www.theestablishment.co/2016/05/05/depression-busting-exercise-tips-for-people-too-depressed-to-exercise/
The blog is the sanest thing I’ve seen about exercise in a long time. It swings a bat at the exercise industry’s obsession with perfection and better-better-better-ism (which is a weird mirror of quarterly capitalism, come to think of it…). It also treats the relationship between depression and exercise with humanity and calmness. It is the opposite of the dumbass article I ran into recently that “suggested” (as in Drill Sergeant) that in dealing with either type of diabetes, you should do at least an hour of cardio a day as well as weight-training 3 times a week and some form of stretching three times a week. I was so stressed by the time I finished it that I wanted a nap. Sarah Kurchak, on the other hand, says things like “…if you’re still here, you’re already doing the hardest workout imaginable.” I wanted to kiss her, except she’s (according to her bio) on the Autism Spectrum, so that would just be mean, me being a complete stranger and all…
Meanwhile, I want to take a minute to bitch. There’s a woman at my church I actively avoid talking to, even though she’s super actively engaged, so we cross paths often. She’s maybe 10 years older than I am and loves to talk about how she’s still wearing the same size she wore in Junior High. But she also loves to talk about my body, and the bodies of every other fat woman in our congregation. I’ve been wimping out for years on just saying to her “Please stop talking to me about my body. It’s MY body, and mine to deal with, and you are not expressing concern or support, you’re stroking your own ego.” I should probably leave out the last part. It weirds people out when you explain their own language to them, and makes them defensive–a thing I have learned in discussing my Least Favorite Hymn with people over the years–the theology of “I Am the Bread of Life” is ickily triumphalist and the words don’t scan–and they look hurt because I’m suggesting that their theology is triumphalist and exclusionary. It’s kind of like trying to explain to someone from the “Heritage, not hatred.” crowd why their Confederate flag sticker really does mean they’re a racist. Doesn’t tend to go well. Anyway, I keep wimping out. It’s partially the culture of niceness that pervades church communities (more often a good thing than not, but sometimes…), and partially because I don’t trust myself not to be self-righteous and aggressive. It’s funny that something like this should be so complex–I need to avoid her long enough to calm down about her enough to be able to call her out on invasive and passive aggressive behavior.
And, God, if it’s that complicated to ask someone to stop talking about my body (which means that my body size is a very large component of her ideas about who and what I am), then imagine how complicated it is (big leap coming) to talk about race. But we need to find ways to stop being wimps without becoming screaming jerks (or worse), and that’s getting harder day by day. Which is depressing and paralyzing.