Monday, October 8, 2012


This video has been lurking around the internet for awhile, so I'm sure most of you have already seen it--but for those who haven't:

I actually got a little choked up while watching this clip.  It brought back all the memories (some quite recent) of the times I've been called fat, huge, mountain, even a beached whale.  And while I certainly agree that we should teach our children to be healthy, it's not okay to berate overweight people. 

All the bullying never inspired me to lose weight, in fact it did the exact opposite.  I felt more depressed and even less self-confident, so I would eat to take away the pain.  I wore huge clothes and for years, I mean quite literally, years, I refused to wear anything but black. I don't know that there's a picture existing of me from my high school years showing me in color. And it wasn't that I was some emo kid, at least not more than any other normal hormonal teenager.  Black was safe.  People don't notice you as much.  And that's what I desperately wanted--to simply be ignored so I wouldn't be made fun of.  It's only been within the past two years or so that I've begun to wear color and frankly I still find it a little odd. 

A friend of mine posted this video on his facebook, and I'm going to paste a person's reply.  A warning, though, it does contain some explicit language:

"That was really something. I want to take a minute to point out something that you probably already know, but that many people who see this may not understand. Anyone who reads this and knows me also knows that I've literally been overweight my entire life. I was over twelve pounds at birth, and I've only gotten taller and larger as time has gone on. This year, I have changed my life in some very profound ways and dropped nearly 60 pounds as a result. The ability to keep with a commitment like this for an entire calendar year is new to me, and bodes well for my future. For the first time in nearly three decades of life, I am 100% certain that barring serious physical injury or disability, I will be hold weight that can be considered "normal" within a year from this date, and that I'll weigh less than I did at my highschool graduation in just a few more months. 

What I want to point out about this is what it took for me to get to a place, mentally and physically, where this was possible. See, people like the man who wrote the letter in that video clothe their bigotry, hatred and disgust in concern. They pretend to be worried about your health, or the model you present for "the children", or the supposed healthcare cost impact on the country, but that's not the real motivation behind their actions. The true reason they do what they do is the same as it always is in cases of bullying - you're different, I don't like it, and tearing you down makes me feel better about myself. Everything else they say is simply justification - either to themselves, or so they look like less of an asshole to the public.  I'm here to tell you that ain't the way it fucking works. 

I've endured far more than my fair share of bullying in my lifetime and, while I'm prepared to admit that it did make me stronger in some ways, the one thing it never, ever did was to help me lose weight. It did not motivate me to work out. It didn't make me eat better. The bullying, the anger and the pain caused three things: drinking, self-destructive behavior, and several nights on which I came embarrassingly close to suicide. At no time did it help me make a positive change in my life. 

So what did? Well, the exact opposite, of course. Being around people who think highly of me, gaining some self-esteem, and living in an environment where I'm not spending every ounce of my energy fending off attacks and just trying to survive the day-to-day tragedy of my existence were all instrumental in creating a person that was capable of change. Oh, and education, too. Motivation to change is nothing without the knowledge of how to actually make said change.   

So let me make this clear just one more time. Bullying does not help people change. It doesn't make them better, it won't motivate them, and it won't make them stop being what you dislike. Nothing is more important to me than freedom of expression, so if you want to say some hurtful bullshit, that's your prerogative, but stop fucking justifying it, and stop acting like you're anything but an angry, intolerant prick when you get called out on it. Targeting fat people doesn't make you any less of a dick- it just lets you pretend you are."

Strong words, and I agree wholeheartedly.  

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