I would like to not worry about:
- Whether a medical professional will consider my symptoms before making a diagnosis.
- Whether a job interviewer will not hire me because I’m fat.
- Whether the friend talking about her diet is doing so as a way of passive-aggressively commenting on my body size, eating habits, or perceived dieting status.
- Whether I will be seen as an equal partner in my friendships and family relationships, or seen as “stuck” with whoever will have me.
- Whether a bathroom stall will be wide enough for me bend over and wipe everything, or if I’ll end up squatting “sideways” in the stall.
- Whether the person who keeps looking at me while I eat is actually engaging in voyeurism without my consent.
- I’d like my breathing hard walking uphill to be seen as a function of exertion, not fatness.
- I’d like my periodic wheezing to be seen as a symptom of asthma, not fatness.
- I’d like the fact that I’m married to not be a shocker.
- I’d like the fact that I have sex to not be a shocker.
- I’d like people to treat my exercising as about function and pleasure, not as “a major life choice deserving of applause” OR about weight loss OR as a reason to shout insults at me.
- I’d like my food choices to be about nourishing my body, about helping my body function well, and about pleasure — not about weight OR being a “bad fatty” OR being a “good fatty”.
I sometimes joke about having “dieting PTSD” from my teenage years, but really, a lot of these buttons were installed by my family (which is not at all uncommon). I am trying to decouple weight from food and exercise. I’m trying to decouple health from weight. I’m not perfect, but I’m working on it. Most of the time hearing other people talk about diets isn’t a problem, per se — it may be uninteresting, but doesn’t always and automatically start a round of self-recriminations or a visit from The Ghost of Failed Diets Past, and I consider that a win.
I also realize that some of these buttons — like someone commenting on my food choices — are going to get pressed, simply by living in this society, so I’m trying to “disconnect” them. (This would be easier if there were an actual wire leading from the “button” to my brain that I could reroute or disconnect!) Again, I’m not always successful, but I’m working on it.
Some of these, like how employers perceive fat applicants or how medical professionals’ biases harm fat patients, do affect my life in very real ways. I can advocate for myself, I can overdress to seem “more professional than thou”, but all I can do is the best I can.
What about you? Does this strike a chord for you, or not?