I was reading up on a few things today and came across this article about Americans and the struggle of obesity and hunger. The read itself is very good and I implore any of my readers to check it out:
Something that struck me about this article was the mention of the documentary “A Place At the Table“. It can be found on Netflix streaming and I highly recommend it. It features obese children who are nutritionally deprived. It shows that side of obesity no one can live up to or admit to. I liked this quote: The cheapest food is often “junk food” and Americans who consume it are fat and malnourished at the same time.
As an obese person, the insults I hear are “put the fork down”, “she should go on a diet”, “she shouldn’t buy all of that food” (I love that one, when I am bulk shopping for our MONTHLY groceries at Costco). What bothers me is people do not know. People do not understand what it like to be in an obese body unless they have lived it themselves. And even obese people show intolerance towards their fellow obese people. I can’t tell you how many times I have been made fun of, gawked at, or straight up told off in public because someone decided it was their job to tell me so. A few nights ago I had a dream that an older man came up to me in a craft store (I was making cards, which is strange because I suck at crafts…) and told me I was obese, then walked off. I got up and walked up to him and asked him why he was cruel. He said, “You’re obese, it’s plain to see, you’re HUGE”. I said, “you don’t know me OR my story, or what I have been through in my life”. In my dream I was applauded by other customers. It was such a random dream.
Honestly, for the most part I try to ignore the disgusting insults thrown my way, but it is hard when it happens all the time. When I go shopping I see it a lot. In the past I would cry. Now I get filled with such anger that I actually spout off at the person doing the insulting. And what happens every time? The person doing the taunting and the insulting and the gawking walks away like they’re scared and can’t come up to me and say why they’re acting like an asshole. Typical. Typical run and hide because you’re too chicken shit to come tell me to my face what you were saying behind my back. Oh, but don’t get it twisted, I can hold my own.
I have a father who has never been able to accept my obesity. Because of this I have lived my whole life competing against him in the career sense, trying to show him up. Not that I am doing it for show, but because I am extremely career-motivated. I have been at my current company for almost three years now. In those short three years I have been promoted three times. I mostly talk about business and work with my father, because it seems to be all I can relate to with him. As he gets older, he is less of a workaholic and is realizing what he missed out on when he decided that his career was more important that his daughters. The difference between him and I is that I can balance the two. I have to. I do fill him in on my weight loss. He knows what I am doing and is encouraging, which helps, but in the back of my mind, I always worry that the judgment remains and that when he sees me, he will continue his judgment of me. When I was married, my ex-husband knew I dreaded my father coming for a visit. My father lives 1,000 miles south of us, and we don’t see him often, more like once every 2 years or so. I dread it because my dad would usually make a comment about my weight or judge what I eat. This started years ago when I was 8 years old and he put me on a diet. I wasn’t a chubby kid, I was husky. What’s the difference?? I was very active. I just was tall and husky for my age. I loved junk food. My dad made sure I didn’t eat it. Long story short, once he left and gave our mother custody of us and stopped visiting us, I stuffed myself senselessly with food to make up for what I had lost. It’s something I don’t discuss in therapy and perhaps I should. When I was 14, I began binging and purging. The cycle of bulimia lasted until I was 16 years old. As an adult it has taken me 35 years to fully understand the scope of what the obesity was truly doing to my body and what these issues have done to me as a person. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. Someday I hope I can get over that hump of having a father who just couldn’t accept my obesity. The last time I saw him was at my sister’s wedding in late March of 2012. I came dressed up and saw him, he looked at me, showed disapproval of me and walked off. I ran to where my mom, boyfriend and daughter were and burst into tears. I was so hurt by his lack of everything. All three consoled me as I couldn’t stop crying. I was so angry because my makeup was running and I felt like he ruined my day. I drove 1,000 miles south to visit my family and this is what I got? After a couple of minutes, my mom left and later on, from my boyfriend, I found out that she had confronted my father about how he treated me, and of course, he acted in typical fashion, like he didn’t do any wrong. Shortly after that, he came up to me, and thankfully by then I had calmed down and stopped crying but it was obvious I had been crying. He asked the most stupid question: “Is that your natural hair color? It looks great!” Seriously?? It hurt to see him walk my sister (who is not thin but normal sized) down the aisle with pride in his eyes. When he walked me down the “aisle” (more like grass) when I got married, it was the most awkward thing ever. He will NOT be invited to my next wedding, if and when I ever remarry. I’m a proud independent woman and I don’t need ANYONE to walk me down the damn aisle!!!! It also hurt to see him dance with my sister during the daddy-daughter dance, and my boyfriend knew how much that hurt. Before the reception I ran to the liquor store and got a small flask of Rum and 20 oz bottles of Pepsi for my boyfriend and I as it was a liquor-free reception. I had to, knowing I was going to have to deal with my father and that Daddy-Daughter dance… Later on I would find out that my uncles were in the parking lot drinking Jack Daniels…hahahhaha.
I type this negative stuff about my father, but don’t get me wrong, I love him. I love him despite it. But revisiting the wedding actually makes me cry everytime. It hurts. It hurts when someone cannot accept you because you are fat. I am not a monster. I know I am a beautiful woman, don’t tell me “You have such a pretty face, if only you wouldn’t hide under that weight”. Bullshit. I am a beautiful woman regardless. A broken, beautiful woman who busts her ass to provide for her family, to build a long-lasting career in uncertain economic times, a woman who tries to be the parent her parents were not, and a woman who is hurt but loves her boyfriend with all of her heart even though at times her heart is locked up. No one is perfect.