Why I Am A "Bad" Fat Person:
- I really, truly like dressing in dark-colored clothes that are considered "frumpy." For the last six years it's been long dark skirts, dark sweaters, tank tops (which do show my arms), the occasional orange or light blue blouse when I'm feeling adventurous, and pretty tame sandals or clogs or lace ups. My profile picture, in which I am wearing the pink skirt and blue halter top, is an extremely rare exercise in creative dressing for me, and only gets repeated once or twice a year. That said, I have no intention of dressing in belly tops, short shorts or skirts, or anything hot pink or sherbet orange or lime green simply because it is (and should be) my right to do so, not even though I'm fat, but because I am and I can dress any way I want. Well, for God's sake, this is how I want to dress. I barely even like blue jeans or other "normal" clothing, either - I'm just not comfortable in clothes like that, and don't think I should feel like some repressed, sad fat girl because I guess I dress like one. I am a sad fat girl, just not sad because I'm fat!
- Also, I like dark, cold, "bad" weather. And I hate the sun and loathe going out in it, not just because of the heat (which is uncomfortable and exacerbates MS) but because of the brightness, which hurts my eyes and burns my skin, which I also enjoy keeping pale. I would frankly rather stay inside and sit in front of my computer, or draw, or read a book than be caught in "good" weather, unless there's a really good reason to go out. If it were up to me, and I were able to work, I'd find a desk job at home like my mother's and only leave the house for the 24-hour grocery store, or the video- and bookstores that stay open past 8pm. On a really cloudy day, with promises of rain, I might be persuaded to go out in the early afternoon. Maybe. Just maybe.
- Here's one thing I'll never go outside in the sun or summer for: sporting events, 'cause I don't like sports. Which leads me to this: I honestly don't like exercise very much, either. Any exercise I do is motivated out of guilt ("Oh noes, I'm not being a good fat girl unless I practice HAES!") or out of a genuine desire to affect pain management for MS. It usually ends up causing me more pain than good, at least right now. The yoga that I do 2-3 times a week (after not having done it for months) is a 20 minute gentle workout with few standing and no squatting poses, and I'm learning to enjoy it, mostly with the encouragement of my friend Randi and this awesome yogatard. But I can't do much more than that physically because of my gait imbalance and muscle weakness, so no matter how awesome I look in the yogatard, chances are I still feel shitty (physically and emotionally) about my activity level being so poor and painful to me. Now I know I'll be able to do more once I've worked at it longer, and I really do look forward to those days. Maybe by then I'll have shaken this notion that it's something I have to do to get taken seriously, and instead care more about the helpful things it's doing for my body and my mind when I get there.
- Not everything I eat is good for me. I really feel like I should have to pretend, though, because I think that HAES is a really wonderful concept. However, it's extremely hard to practice unless I have the time (for exercise) and the dime (for foods). I really kind of want to know where all the really poor fat people are in this movement. You know, the unfortunate ones we talk about who can't afford fresh organic greens with every meal and don't have to buy the hormone-injected beef, but that we never seem to come into actual contact with. Those guys and gals. Well, yeah, I'm one of them. I'm one of the slobs conservatives talk about who buys a 12-count box of ramen at Wal-Mart for $1.50 and it feeds me lunch for almost two weeks - and I don't prepare it the usual way, oh no. I drain the cooked noodles completely, then pop in a tbsp of butter and the sauce mix and make gooey cholesterrific noodles instead of brothy ones. I like cream cheese so damn much I will eat half a box of it alone, without a bagel, and a slice or six of summer sausage is the best junk food ever. I snack on countless Cheez-Its between meals while swilling down regular Coke. I love Coke and sweet-sweet tea and Great Value fruit punch and other drinkable sugars. As far as sweet foods go I can honestly say I rarely touch them - I consider apples and oranges my sweets, because I don't really like sugary foods even if they're totally natural, but I might also have an ice cream bar every month or so.
- I'm honestly in love with salt and starch and always have been. My full meals - when I can afford to make full meals I usually have a nice one a day - usually consist of some fatty, unhealthy meat (like rare roast beef), a large baked potato full up with butter, salt, and pepper (and sometimes sour cream!) and a frozen veggie like Brussels sprouts or spinach. I guess I'm good because I always eat a good veggie or two with every full meal, and it's not a hardship for me to eat it - I've loved vegetables for as long as I can remember. (Note for the phobes: I've also been fat for as long as I can remember, and when I stopped eating 'cause of MS and didn't have any of this food, I dropped some weight - I call it "sick weight" - and I was still fat. But OMG, when I went back to my regular diet I didn't magically gain all that weight back plus more! Amazing!)
- Some of this is bought on an EBT card, and just one of those meals takes up over 30% of what I'm allotted each month. Like finding the people with MS on Medicaid instead of private insurance or Medicare, or the ones who had to default to SSI instead of SSDI because they hadn't worked enough or couldn't get Social Security to believe they're really disabled, the fat poor that we talk about is so often MIA on the internet. Now I know it's probably because most of them can't afford the internet, and I'm very lucky - if I didn't live with my mother, who makes her living working from home, I wouldn't even be here. Now, I'm not saying everyone I know of in the fat acceptance movement is a Rockefeller, but it's rare for me to hear about these kinds of hardships unless we're talking about the nameless fatties that the conservatives seem to think are eating up our food stamps system and destroying America's health with their gluttony and their lack of jobs or training or their five kids or... their incurable diseases that render them unable to work? Yeah, those fuckers. I never hear from them, just about them. If I'm the only one kicking around right now, maybe I should talk about this more? But then...
- I feel like I'm a "bad" fat person who has, at this point, done nothing to better her circumstances because right now I have no idea where I'd go or what I'd do. My SSI is small, but if I were able to work - I'd have to start out part-time - I'd barely make more than that where I'm living now, and my food stamps would likely decrease as a result. My partner is paid to take care of me, but I am given a criminal amount of hours a week for her to "work," and her two paychecks a month total less than my SSI. She too is on food stamps, and has recently been approved for Medicaid as well. It's a slippery slope, one meant to keep you down if you're down and not let you back up unless you win the lottery or marry someone with a million dollars who can afford to take care of you or, you know, are able to go to school for two to four years and find a really nice job after that time and hopefully find some kind of security on your own. And you know what? As frustrated as I get with my SSI, and as irritating as Missouri Medicaid has grown in the past few months, I don't know what I'd do right now without it. I really, really, really want to go to school someday, but not so much for myself - not to better myself as a person, or to reach goals, or to go on Girls Gone Disabled or whatever - but because I hope someday I'll be able to work again, and have a really nice job, and get us out of this hole we're stuck in. This very comfortable, very appreciated hole that I'll admit to liking living in for the time being. I guess I'm a "bad" poor person, too.
I've got no idea where I'm going with this. Maybe this is just my confessional list of fat sins I'm trying to get off my chest. I know I shouldn't feel ashamed by any of these things - that wild diversity is important in any movement - but I can't help feeling like I'm a prime example of the kind of black sheep nobody wants to talk about because I might be proving things right about fat people that aren't the best things fat acceptance should represent. No, I'm not weight loss dieting or planning my next stomach amputation, but I'm not being "good" either. I just sort of "am," and this is what you get with me.
Nobody in particular has made me feel this way; rather, it's just an overwhelming feeling of failure. I wonder if this is how people who are dieting or are unhappy with their fat bodies feel? I have no experience with that, so I don't really know. Does anyone have any opinions or a helpful way to make me stop feeling like such a douchebag?
Oh, oh, I forgot one:
- I've got high cholesterol, so says my doctor. (Who tested me for it without my consent, I might add, at 217 or thereabouts.) No, I don't plan on taking any medication for it or changing my above eating habits or starting a rigorous workout plan that I've already said I can't do. I use a cocktail of herbal supplements that seem to be keeping me from keeling over at any moment. Well, for right now, anyway.
... 'Kay, that's so it for this post. Tomorrow I'm gonna stick ot the really fun stuff: I'll talk about going off my beloved Copaxone for Tysabri, the way that prednisone makes me feel physically and emotionally (and the uncharacteristic-of-me body dysmorphia it brings with it), and the medical drama it's bringing. We'll call it MS Day at The Endomorph's.