And then I come back with ramblings

I notice that I’ve been rather quiet of late.  I’ve been trying to reflect upon why I’ve not had any blog-post brainstorms lately.  Part of it is a dip in the cycle of “willingness to deal with the world’s daily dose of fat-phobic crap” and part of it is just a weariness stemming from a sad belief that no matter how hard I try to explain, only those who already accept what I’m saying are likely to be “swayed” by any argument I try to have or any rant I try to post.  But since I’m usually pretty sunshine-y a person I don’t like to let such thoughts take over my mind and darken my mental doorstep for long.

So I’m around and pondering the “good fight” against hatred and stigma of anything that doesn’t fit what is considered the “Neutral” or “acceptable” human form.  So what have I been thinking about?

I’m reflecting upon what it means to be “neutral“.  Can the framework of the life we’ve lived and the bodies we inhabit truly ever be left “at the door” of any discussion we have?  Especially discussions of politics or health??

I’m wondering when ads completed their merge from using round-faced happy children to sticking only with thin-faced youths to market their goods or ideas.

I worry about what is happening to health care lately and the ethics around the system currently being tested in my state.

I see the lack of media attention given to the latest study showing (yet again) that calorie deficits do not make for an automatically healthier (or longer) life.

I’ve also been considering why it is I fight so hard to show that I’m healthy while remaining fat.  I certainly don’t feel that someone practicing the currently prescribed lists of “healthy actions” are somehow morally superior to anyone who doesn’t.  Perhaps it is just that I feel someone, somewhere, might see this and instead of immediately assuming I’m lying, think that “Hmmm.  Maybe it IS possible to be fat and still fit? Maybe “health” does not come in a One Size Fits All package? Maybe the behaviors we have “stuffed down our throats” by the media, by culture at large, by disdainful haters… that credo of Eat Less, Exercise More, doesn’t necessarily have to result in weight loss? What IF people really DO come in a vast array of shapes and sizes?  What IF the world should be filled with a variety of human samples…would that destroy my own life in any way? Does that mean that not only is it none of my business if someone IS fat, but also it isn’t my business HOW or WHY they have become fat? ”

I’m wondering a lot lately about how it is that people would much rather believe all sorts of convoluted “reasons” that fat happens to exist on my body (I must eat too much despite denying it, I must be lying about swimming twice a week or belly dancing for an hour each Friday, I must be an unhappy compulsive eater, I must just not realize How Bad fat is for my health, I must be eating too many carrots or cough drops or white rice/bread…) rather than acknowledging that Occam’s Razor (the simplest explanation is likely the true one), rather than demanding that people just aren’t Trying Hard Enough or don’t have enough Willpower/Motivation, might simply suggest that: Human Bodies are DIFFERENT.  All of them.  Naturally. Made just as they are meant to be. We don’t know WHY some are fat.  They just ARE.

I’ve also been wondering why it is that I feel such a need to constantly show that I AM following the dictates of “Healthy Behaviors” in regards to including a variety of foods in my diet and physical activity in my life.  Is it related to that need to show that a fat woman can be following all of the “rules” and still be fat (and still lucky in health?)  Or is this part of that guilt-induced culturally learned reflex similar to what I think drives that knee-jerk “Oh but I don’t mean YOU” addendum someone might add to a slur against fat? Is this effort all some sort of knee-jerk “But, I’m not like THOSE fatties” disclaimer??  I’d like to think it is not.  My intention is certainly not to infer that any particular set of eating or physical activity behaviors is inherently morally superior to another. Though if that is how I come across I need to recognize that intent does not matter nearly so much as received perceptions.  I feel that Health should be a morally neutral concept.  Someone who gets the flu is not some kind of Healthy Behavior sinner.  Nor is anyone who happens to be diabetic or born with a congenital defect or who is Fat. Nor is anyone who goes through life and becomes ill in any way.

Aging and getting sick are NOT reflections upon the sort of person you’ve been.  Remember the song “Only the Good die young”? Really there IS no rule for WHO dies young.  OR who lives better in the mean time (unless we’re talking about “better” in terms of what can be bought by means of better socio-economic status…but that’s a whole larger can of worms, all tangled up with race and gender and politics and economics that I’m no where near ready to address in a Pull-This-Apart sort of analytical manner). Yes, there are risk factors linked to the length and quality of a person’s life.  But frankly they are none of anyone else’s business.  I don’t feel people have some sort of given right to belittle the food or movement choices of ANY person, no not even if you first declare that you know that you yourself have “things to work on” too as some sort of mis-guided effort to be “understanding” of the people who you feel need shaming/othering/snarking in order to understand that they don’t fit the current cultural model of “Acceptable Body/Acceptable Behaviors”.

Do I protest too much that I’m doing things right out of some fear that maybe I’m NOT?  What if I’m not eating Intuitively and really am eating too much all the time? Is it not enough to exercise as I do?  Did stopping the swimming for over a month somehow make a liar out of me for all the previous posts extolling my Good Virtue as a “Good Fatty”?? Why have I hesitated to post about that slow in physical activity and what it might mean?  Why does that Guilt still plague my mind in the same what that thoughts of “Oh, I’m being so BAAAAD by eating this mini candy bar” might have worried my dieting mind in years past?? Perhaps I need to remember something posted by Adina Nack regarding Naomi Wolf, on Sociological Images: “Eating healthy and moderate exercise are good goals, as long as your self-image and self-worth are not defined by your weight/size.”

In short…I’ve been thinking a lot if not posting.


8 thoughts on “And then I come back with ramblings

  1. It’s easy to get tangled up in thinky bits and find yourself hamstrung by it after a while.

    I think it’s also important to remember that when someone reaches that tipping point where they’re ready for a new idea, finding someone who writes passionately about that new idea is vital to make them see the possibilities.

    Sometimes it can feel like we’re treading water, but really the signs are in place that a sea change is already underway. In the midst of all the hype and horror, there are starting to be glimmers of light. It’s going to take time, and effort, and the writings of intelligent, passionate people like you to help tip the scales (as it were) of public opinion. What you do is important.

    And sometimes we do need to spend a little time in our own heads clearing out the deadwood of our own assumptions. It’s another worthy exercise.

    Take care! Write when you can.

  2. The War on the Thin Ideal [Hey, they declared war on us first!] is hard. Blogging on the front line, in the trenches, as a volunteer is even harder. We lose Generals [Paul McAleer from BFB, Lindsey of BABble] while the opposition grinds on fueled by a seemingly infinite supply of ignorance and disdain. It is nothing if not exhausting. But there is a point and a purpose. Personally, I see more and more comments that start with ‘Yeah, you know this IS kinda stupid.’ or ‘after YEARS of dieting and failing, I read this blog and finally decided it wasn’t worth it’. We still have Generals on our side who strategies brilliantly but who can be expected to keep that kind of fire-in-the-belly constantly stoked and ready to burn at a moments notice [even if we do have more storage capacity ; )]. And there is a distinct reason why most armies grant R & R leaves to their troops.

    Twisty has it right; Keep that fire banked or save a few embers for later but don’t let it go out entirely. Post when you can or when the feeling takes you and go after it one tablespoon at a time.

  3. Bilt4Cmft and Twisty: thanks. Banking the fires does indeed seem like a good analogy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to throw in the blogging towel. Just like in real life I keep finding myself diving back in to swim over and over…for the sheer joy that it can bring. Sometimes it does feel like I’m emptying a sea of disdain with a slotted spork 😉 But what good cause is not undertaken with good intentions and perhaps some trepidation? My determined and, if plodding, insistence that things need to change (indeed Twistie, perhaps signs indicate some of these changes already are beginning to glimmer) will keep me going. The fantastic commenters here certainly help too, I must say.

    So perhaps I need to dust off my tired knees, raise that Slotted Battle Spork high above my head and declare that These Fires May be Banked, But they will Never be Extinguished!

  4. “I think it’s also important to remember that when someone reaches that tipping point where they’re ready for a new idea, finding someone who writes passionately about that new idea is vital to make them see the possibilities.”

    *raises hand* That’s how I got into FA. I was getting sick and tired of making myself sick and tired by dieting… oh, excuse me, making a lifestyle change. Life was so much easier when I didn’t constantly measure my food to the last quarter-ounce and obsess over points. I thought I looked okay, even three pant sizes over my so-called ‘goal’ weight. Then I followed a link to the fatosphere from Shakesville, and holy guacamole, it was mindblowing! People who wouldn’t cluck their tongues at me for being fat! A whole community of people who wouldn’t nag me to go back to Weight Watchers, who supported the idea that fat people can look good! Medical evidence that fat can also be fit! (Which I’ve known since my first college geology class. The middle aged, potbellied professor was barely breathing hard on a hike that left almost all of us students gasping and stumbling with fatigue.)

    So, a big thank you to all of you bloggers. I realize it must be a hard job, but it gives me hope to see the daily Fatosphere feed.

  5. “Part of it is a dip in the cycle of “willingness to deal with the world’s daily dose of fat-phobic crap” and part of it is just a weariness stemming from a sad belief that no matter how hard I try to explain, only those who already accept what I’m saying are likely to be “swayed” by any argument I try to have or any rant I try to post.”

    I hear you. I am finding that I use the fatosphere as an antidote to the fat hating crap I deal with all the time. But then there’s just more fat hating crap I’m reading about.

    You are healthy. More so than most people I know, in the broadest sense. And you are a beautiful dancer.

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