I was at someone's house this evening watching So You Think You Can Dance (aside: yes that show is every bit as stupid as you expect it to be) and the girl half of a couple that was supposed to perform collapsed in rehearsal and had to be rushed to hospital, so in order for the boy to nonetheless get to perform they partnered him at the last minute with the choreographer's assistant. She was a woman of well over 200lbs and, knowing that the people outside of my lovely Montreal bubble can be ignorant jerks about size, I expected some awkward silence and nervous giggles. I was not remotely prepared for what did happen. Immediate hoots and hollers, cries of "ooh, that poor guy!" "Ew, he's going to have to touch her again!" "Oh, he's way to hot for this!" And of course when the choreography was remotely sexy the screams doubled. As if, because she's fat, her mere presence was somehow damaging to him. I mean the raw hatred and disgust emenating from my fellow guests was soul-shattering. How people get filled with that much hate and manage to go on with their lives just baffles me*.
I was inclined to just bitch about how much I hate it here outside my bubble, but the fact is that the worst, most discouraging part of the whole experience was me. Because I said nothing. I sat in silence as this fountain of hate erupted around me and did nothing. How could I? How could I have failed myself so utterly? Because I was worried about my relationship with my host. Because I didn't want them to see my tears. Because I knew that if I did speak up they would look at me and dismiss my words, forgetting that I felt the same way when I was 30lbs lighter and still worthy of respect.
There's still a lot of distance between me and the sort of woman I want to become. The terrifying sort of woman in front of whom people are afraid to speak, lest they say something stupid.
In the mean time, this is what I can do in my cowardice. Too scared to speak aloud when it mattered, I can now sit at my keyboard and type.
You can find the details and sources here and here, but this is what I have to say:
1) Being fat is not bad. Fat people live longer, have lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, and (among women) reach menopause later than thin people.
2) Being fat is not something people can help. Fat people have the same diet and excersize habits as thin people. The only reliable way to acheive and maintain weight loss is to go on a lifelong starvation diet.
3) Losing weight is bad for you. Losing and gaining weight repeatedly is really fucking bad for you.
Someday I will have the courage of my convictions. For now I have a blog.
Update: Thanks to parodie in the comments for pointing me to this video:
*Just so's we're clear here, this woman was a trained dancer. She knew the steps and she moved well. She was strong and, in order to pull off some of those moves, in excellent shape. The ONLY thing people were laughing about was her size