Although I don't have a strong presence in the comments section of this blog, for reasons I've explained several times, I do read every comment and am often prodded to think harder or more deeply about what I wrote, I like that. Rarely do I pull a comment, or a part of a comment out, and highlight it in a blog post. But I am going to do this today. The comment was about the fact that I mention, with some regularity, my weight here on this blog. The suggestion was both that I was 'hard on myself' because of this and that maybe I had a prejudice against 'heavy/fat folks.'
I will admit that this comment stung.
No, that's not true.
I don't know if others feel the way this commenter did, but in case that's true, I'd like to address the issue.
Put simply, I mention that I'm fat, because I am fat.
I came out of the closet in every way possible a long time ago and refuse to live with silence about who I am and how I exist in the world. To speak about my life without mentioning something that is immediately obvious to everyone, would, to me, be shaming myself. Also, if I am talking about my life out in the world, I have to mention that my weight is an issue for a lot of people. Strangers make comments to me, teenagers drive by hanging out of a car window and make piggy noises, unsolicited medical advice flows my way with unceasing regularity. It's an ISSUE for others, therefore it is an issue for me.
I hope, though I didn't research my archive, that I haven't written self loathing things about weight, I don't think humorous remarks are the same thing, but that my focus has been on others more than myself. I have received any number of private emails from other large people thanking me for being so 'out' and so 'honest' about living large in a society where fat is definitely not where it's 'at.' I'm pleased by these letters, pleased to hear that others who've experienced weight prejudice find community here.
Too, I wondered, why the person who made the comment focused on that one aspect of my writing. I also write about being a wheelchair user, and make comments about it regularly, but I wasn't accused of being shamed by my wheelchair or prejudiced against other wheelchair users. Consider as well that I write often about being gay, and mention Joe with regularity, and I wasn't accused of being a self loathing gay man who had a hate on for the gay community. No, the issue was that I talked too much about my weight. I was asked why it was such an issue.
Well, it's an issue because it is an issue. I don't know what more to say.
It strikes me that years ago, I was asked why I put such an emphasis on my sexuality. And it took time but I realized that what people were really saying was, 'shut up about it.'
I have also been accused, more recently, about putting too much emphasis on my disability. And I realized more quickly that I was being told to 'shut up about it.'
Well, it didn't take me long to realize that I've just been told the same here.
I'm not going to.
This is my blog.
This is my life.
I have every right to discuss my life as I live it and bring forward issues that I want to confront. Weight prejudice is one of those issues. I believe that shame seeks to silence voices. I do not choose to be silent.
I live large.
Get used to it.