The “Simple” Truth

“Great is truth, and mighty above all things.” Old Testament: 1 Esdras iv. 41.

“The truth is always the strongest argument.” Sophocles (c. 496 B.C.–406 B.C.): Phædra. Frag. 737.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” John Keats (1795–1821): Ode on a Grecian Urn.

” Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.” Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865): Remark made when requested to dismiss Montgomery Blair, Postmaster-General.

“There is nothing so powerful as truth,—and often nothing so strange.” Daniel Webster (1782–1852): Argument on the Murder of Captain White, April 6, 1830. Vol. vi. p. 68.

“That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright;
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.” Alfred Tennyson Tennyson (1809–1892): The Grandmother. Stanza 8.

“The lie was dead
And damned, and truth stood up instead.” Robert Browning (1812–1889): Count Gismond. xiii.

Truth is not measured in mass appeal

"Truth is not measured in mass appeal"

I’d apologize for all the quotes but for some reason the idea of truth and lies has been topmost in my mind for a while now. I think a lot of the objections I see here to what I propose (namely that you CAN and SHOULD accept your body as it is and that doing so is not a moral failing, regardless of how near or far that body may be to/from the current culturally accepted “normal” body type) all boil down to the one concept once you strip away all the fluff. And that is that we are a world filled with minds more ready to accept that Every Single Fat Person is simply LYING to them; then they are ready to accept that Human Bodies Are Different.  Regardless of arguments for health, fashion, just pure “Uck!” factor, costs to others that fuel an individual’s Fat Opposition beliefs

People seem so easily convinced that it is SIMPLER to believe that a fat woman such as myself lies about her eating habits, exercise levels, health markers (those ones OTHER than weight), perceived self-love levels and overall mental and physical health. It is simpler to believe that I, and anyone of the many others who decry the myth that Fat automatically equals Unhealthy (or that it is anyone else’s business either way really), are Liars, than it would be to listen to a simple truth that would shatter current misconceptions about the functioning of human bodies.

Truth, that concept waved away in a favorite fiction of mine as something which “depend[s] greatly on our own point of view” is something that I nevertheless value greatly.  I don’t tell lies.  Not only because I personally find them reprehensible, but also because I would never be able to remember to tell them consistently.  What I write here is the truth of my own life and experiences; my own struggles and the actual realities of what I do. And, in a world (or at least a country, being in the US here) which purports to hold to the idea that everyone is INNOCENT until proven guilty (that is, we are all presumed to be telling the TRUTH until proven as Liars) perhaps you could take a moment to extend that courtesy to myself and others arguing in a similar self-acceptance vein.  Just because you BELIEVE we are all LIARS because our statements don’t mesh with the view of the world you hold to; does not MAKE IT actually truthfully so.

Personally though, I don’t care if you DO believe that I have been down the diet path and had the DIET fail ME no matter how closely I adhered to the “Rules”.  I really don’t mind if you would rather stick your head in the sand and ignore that despite eating a varied diet and exercising by means of swimming and dancing for between 2-3 hours of moderate-intense movement a week I still remain Fat yet Healthy by all significant markers over here.  If  you’d rather keep your hands over your ears, ignore my words and chant “La LAAAH can’t HEAR you! Won’t LISTEN to you!  You’re Fat because you’re lazy/overeating/a poor soul without a good metabolism/in need of therapy to deal with the issues obviously making me fat, etc.  It can’t be possible that you do Everything Right and remain Fat, because that would break my brain and my version of the Truth!!”, fine. That is your right as a thinking being.

But I know there are some folks out there, reading, and considering and actually contemplating if denying the truths I (and other fatties) expose, truly IS a simpler way of explaining the world.  To you I say, “Really?  The Whole World of Fat is Lying?  We are ALL OF US carefully constructing falsehoods that we then manage to aptly maintain over the years without fault? All of Us are just deluded beings; clinging to fallacies in order to explain away the way our bodies exist?  That?…is somehow SIMPLER than a truth which suggests that All Bodies are Different?  Honestly??”

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7 thoughts on “The “Simple” Truth

  1. When I was about four, my brother made me a wooden dog. It was made out of scraps of wood lying around the garage and a few nails. No two pieces of wood matched in thickness, color, grain, or quality. Most of the nails were hammered in crookedly.

    And yet, my brother made it for me and I loved it to pieces.

    When I was twenty, I was in an amateur production of Bertholt Brecht’s Gallileo. The director had an interesting exercise for the cast one evening. He asked each of us to bring in a prop to represent the mindset of each character we were playing (it’s a huge show with at least a hundred characters and there were about twenty of us in the show, so we were all doing piles of different characters). One of the characters I was playing was a monk at the Vatican who was decrying Gallileo’s theories fearfully.

    As I thought about that character and what would represent him, my eyes lit on that ridiculous old wooden dog. Suddenly I realized that was the monk’s universe. It bore no resemblance to reality, in fact it was a mess, but he’d believed in it all his life and there was no way he could give it up, because without it he wouldn’t be sure he could believe in anything anymore.

    I think way too many of us carry around similar little wooden dogs in our heads. Calories in/calories out is one of the most powerful wooden dogs in our society today. Another of them is that if you just make yourself thin enough and beautiful enough, you will get all the wonderful things you deserve for having tried so hard to be thin and beautiful. It’s threatening to two of the most powerful wooden dogs in our lives to opt out of the diet culture.

    Oh, I still have the real wooden dog. It’s a constant reminder to me of two thruths: my brother has always loved me, and just because I believe something doesn’t make it accurate, so it’s good to shake out my own preconceptions every now and again.

    The truth is scary because it turns our worlds upside down. It’s also beautiful and freeing. In the end, it’s what there really is.

  2. Beautiful post, and a beautiful comment, Twistie! Your Wooden dog metaphor is a great way to conceptualize why something comfortable and easy to believe needn’t actually be the truth.

    • I agree. I love the idea of your brother giving you that little dog Twistie…and how it fit into a conceptualization exercise later on in life! 🙂

      Wriggles I really love that quote as well, thanks!!

  3. Thanks April.

    After trying to communicate with decent rational people who will not give up their cult of fat hating and trying to justify it, which is almost worse for me-they know it’s wrong- but want to kid themselves that it isn’t.

    It’s nice to get some inspirational quotes on the truth.

    I’d also like to add;

    “Even if you are in a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”

    Mahatma Gandhi

  4. Great post, April. It is hard to hold to the truth & KNOW your truth & live by it when so many LOUD & INSISTENT, not to mention WELL-FINANCED, voices, are constantly telling you & everyone else that your truth is a lie & that THEIR lies…eat only certain things, a certain number of calories, exercise until you drop, yadda, yadda…are the truth. I seriously doubt that many of us really understand how much strength & courage it takes to do what we are doing. I have been beating my head against the wall of fat hatred& prejudice for 30 years now & sometimes I just want to walk away & give up & say, “I don’t give a damn. Believe what you will” & I have had to do that with certain individuals, including unfortunately family members, but overall I still keep speaking the truth & hoping that I can reach someone once in awhile. If I can play a role in saving one person from a lifetime of self-hatred, fear, guilt, & unhappiness, it is worth the effort. And after growing up with a father who screamed at us that we were lying when we were telling the truth, I know that the truth is still the truth, even if no one else believes you.

  5. Truth and reality are such complicated concepts. I don’t particularly hold with the belief that there is ONE truth, ONE reality. Everyone’s reality is different and what is true for me might not be true for you. I guess that is why I am a standpoint theorist.

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