I’m writing a book, my third, on society’s conscious, and subconscious love of discriminating against obesity. We’ve come to the point in time where most of us know that it’s not acceptable to speak badly against people because of race, sex, age, or mobility issues, yet it’s still okay, and in some circles encouraged, to punish someone because of their weight.
As a former fat man (354 lbs, now 183), I’ve been on both ends of the scale. I’ve experienced fat shaming as well as the praise for my current stature from absolute strangers. It blows my mind that people feel they can so readily, and without permission comment on my body.
Two years ago, prior to my mini gastric bypass surgery, I got the “looks”, the snickers, the obvious facial contortions that told me I was being forced into a lower classification, a subspecies on the human chain, due to my girth. I was not worthy.
“NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!”
Soup Nazi-Seinfeld episode
I tried to ignore the ignorance, but it hurt. And after a life time of such hurts, I began to built a huge wall in order to protect myself. Anger and sarcasm became my weapons of choice. A good offence makes for a terrific defence.
STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT
“It’s not that I loved food. I wanted FOOD to love me!”
Then within nine months it’s bariatric surgery, I found myself in this body that I have never lived in…this svelte, slim body that is suddenly attracting positive comments, smiles, and amazement, and I found myself getting angry. Those who were offering admiration and kudos were the same ones who couldn’t be bothered to say a kind word pre-weight loss surgery.
I had become my own social science experiment, a walking/talking Petri dish. I was in essence, the glassed-in monkey on display at the zoo, and I began to wonder if I should crap on my hand, and fling it at the “spectators”.
Flying became the first sign of the obvious stigma society places on the obese. In the past I would rue having to take a plane in my job as a professional speaker in order to get across this vast country. The seats were too narrow, seatbelt’s too small, but now, now that I’m half my previous size, I have more than enough seat capacity for my “shrinkled” butt. The glaring difference brought me to tears. The pain I, and many others, have suffered because of the shame and guilt I felt, was due to something that was as blatant as the nose on my face…fat shaming.
It’s time to document my journey. Time to pull back the curtains and call it what it is…evil, harmful, and a bloody crime in my books. It’s harassment, it’s bullying, and it’s another form of prejudice. It’s also time to write a book.