Dignity

“I just think I’d feel like super embarrassed.”

“I know, me too! I feel so bad for her.”

“She’s just gotten SO FAT.”

I had just ordered some scrambled eggs with cheese from the café at my work and had walked away to grab a bottle of water when I overheard two female students in the midst of an in-depth discussion of someone’s (a friend, I think? Although with friends like these…) weight. They chattered on, unaware that I was standing behind them. I found myself hoping their food would get done before mine, so I wouldn’t have to walk in front of them.

It’s uncomfortable to be reminded that my body is someone else’s worst nightmare.

I notice my radar is more up these days about when being fat is used as a punchline in TV shows or movies. It strikes me as lazy joke telling most of the time but today I wonder if the reason people to make fun of or tell jokes about fat people is because they are scared. They are scared to become one of us, afraid that treating bigger bodies with dignity might mean…what? That it’s okay to be the thing people dread being? I don’t know.

I’ll be honest. I’m not always great about treating my own body with dignity. I say and think mean things about myself. If I had the choice to be the weight I am now or a weight that started with a 1 as the first number, hell yeah, I’d choose to be in the 100 pound versus 200 pound club. Sometimes it feels like my weight is the biggest failure of my life and it is really super visible. Everyone can see that I’ve not managed to do the thing (be thin, be pretty, don’t take up too much space) that women are supposed to do.

But the older I get, the less capable I feel of being mad at this body all the time. This body carried my babies. This body powered me through a 5K last fall and through thousands of miles of swimming over the course of my life. This body carries my brain and my pretty eyes, both of which I am quite fond of.

Maybe I just wish other people saw all of those things too.

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4 thoughts on “Dignity

  1. Carla Huang says:

    I love your posts, and agree it’s a tough thing to be overweight – wanting to be thinner, healthier but seemingly unable to get myself there. Loving myself but still struggling many days. Love you Wendy.

  2. M.C. says:

    “There’s never been another person like, and people can (and do) like (and love) you *exactly as you are.*” Fred McFeely Rogers
    I’m struck by how our culture trains us to believe we grow as people by hating ourselves. All the growth I’ve managed has come from learning to love who I am. The culture seems to want us to hate ourselves into being, to urge ourselves to action because we hate our “flaws.” Mr. Rogers talked about remembering the people who’ve “loved you into being.” I’ve become convinced hat the work of adulthood is loving *ourselves* into being.

  3. Hell's Bells and Mast Cells says:

    When I started gaining weight on prednisone, it TERRIFIED some of my friends and family. They were more concerned with my weight, than my pain or mental health. Chronic illness really changed how I value my body (and who I surround myself with). Keeping writing.

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