I found one comment on the epic thread on The Stranger’s blog (called the Slog) in response to Lindy West’s (I love you Lindy!) “Hello, I am Fat” post that seemed to make something click for me. It’s comment #755 out of a current tally of 1235 comments.
“Most people would describe me as fit or athletic or thin. If I dropped 10 lbs, I’d be in model or pro-athlete range. In other words, I’m what most people are aiming for. I eat as much as I want at thanksgiving, christmas, and on my birthday. Every other day, I think about my diet, and exercise restraint. That is 362 days a year of not eating what I want to eat. That is called discipline, and it is why I’m not fat.
Lindy, et al, seem to think that what I have is trivial and effortless. The reality is that I work at it.”
The point isn’t that we (fat acceptance folks) think that what #755 (nickname “OhTheTrees”) has is trivial and effortless. I just think it’s not important or worth the effort FOR ME. Me me me me me. Not OhTheTrees OhTheTrees OhTheTrees OhTheTrees or anyone else.
I am sure that there are many people who work hard at being thin. I know several of them. But I do not run around telling them at every opportunity about all of the volunteer work that I do, or the writing that I do, or my work, or how much it takes for my marriage to stay intact. That does not make what I do trivial and effortless. It matters to me, and that is enough. Most of the time.
If I wanted to exercise more, and eat less, it would mean giving up some combination of the following:
Sleep (of which I now get 7-8 hours a night)
Time spent with my 6-year-old (and I work full-time, so there’s not enough as it is)
Time spent working
Time spent volunteering
Time spent writing
Time spent with friends/family/husband
I don’t go around judging people who don’t spend as much time with their kids as I spend with mine. Or people who don’t volunteer in their communities. Or people who don’t write, email or call their elected officials. Or who don’t have jobs. Does it require discipline to manage all that I have going on my life? You betcha! Does it require discipline for me to work on not exercising my judgment muscles right and left. Yes sirree!
I don’t criticize your life — OhTheTrees — why do you find it necessary to criticize mine? Just because I’m obese (class 3 booga booga obesity, mind you)?
This is part of the heart of the matter. Your choices are yours, and you don’t need to put fat people down in order for your choice to work hard at being thin to matter. My choices are mine, and I don’t need to put the non-volunteering people down in order for my choice to volunteer to matter. I do not need to make myself feel better about the sacrifices I make in order to volunteer by comparing myself to the “non-volunteers” out there. I get what I need out of doing it — without needing to feel superior because of it.