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Just Get Over It…

July 16, 2012

Trigger warning: Discussion of past weight loss attempts and Lexie’s current boyfriend, who wants to lose weight.

Whenever my boyfriend talks about working out, or how much he weighs, or getting into shape, I get nervous. I can’t help it. My brain starts screaming “This means he wants you to lose weight! This means he thinks your body’s disgusting! How could you ever believe he’d actually like your body?”

Now… I know that he doesn’t mean that. Somewhere in my brain is a weak little voice that says “Settle down, he loves you. Would he uproot his whole life and move across the ocean if he didn’t love you just as you are?” But that voice is so tiny that I barely get a chance to hear it before I start to panic.

Why do I panic? Well, it’s a product of what I’ve lived through.

One of my most common rebuttals to fat haters is why would I choose to be harassed daily just so I could eat cake? It doesn’t make sense. I’ve been verbally abused by people on the street; I’ve been sexually harassed; I’ve had food thrown at me; I’ve had glass bottles thrown at me; I’ve come home from school caked in mud; I’ve been the victim of school bus bullies, school yard bullies, and school staff bullies; I’ve had a boy tell his friends he was going to rape me; I’ve had that same boy thrust his crotch at my face, and take his penis out in front of me; I’ve had people tell me I’m not good enough to rape; I’ve had people place bullhorns next to my head and scream at me as I walked to class; I’ve had my life threatened by a boy who ran up to me with something shaped like a knife, who then followed me to class; that same boy harassed me for two years while I begged my school counselor to help, only to have him tell me I was supposed to go to another school official; I’ve been ignored by the people who were supposed to help me.

I’ve been scarred physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And that’s not to mention the damage done to me by Weight Watchers, Lindora, Exodus (a religious weight loss program), bad personal trainers, a fen-phen prescription before age 10, Alli before it was called Alli and approved by the FDA, anti-depressant with weight loss side effects, starvation diets, and praying for an eating disorder.

So, generally, when my boyfriend mentions a weight-loss scheme he’s going to try, I tell him I love him as he is, but it’s his body and his choice and I support him. I also tell him that for my mental and emotional health, I won’t be participating. He’s always fine with that. And even though he’s fine with that, my brain still goes into a frenzy: “He thinks you’re disgusting.”

I decided to talk to my mom about how I feel. My mom is my closest confidant and I figured she understands my feelings since she’s witnessed my whole journey through bullying and self-hate, and has had to carry more than her fair share of my tears on her shoulders. The answer I got was not the one I expected.

She told me I was close-minded. She told me I expect people to try my way, but I wouldn’t try their way. I argued that I was hurt by my experiences and that I was scared for my mental health to try weight loss programs again. I told her I was scarred. She scoffed. “You’re not scarred,” she told me.

All of my experiences don’t count. I wasn’t really hurt by the ongoing years of being told I’m worthless. Those things don’t matter. I should just get over all of that and stop using it as a crutch. Right? Because weight discrimination isn’t real discrimination.

O sure… you shouldn’t tease someone for their size. But it’s just teasing; sticks and stones and all that.

It’s all just another way to debase fatties.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 11:55 am

    I’m sorry that your Mom doesn’t understand.

    Your experiences DO matter. What people did and how it scarred you DOES count. There are millions like you who are fighting that same battle and feeling very similar scars, and every one of them counts.

    I wish that I could think of something wise and deep to end with, but I can’t. I can only say that I understand and that there are people listening to you who get it.

  2. July 16, 2012 12:48 pm

    my brother is the only family member that I can have discussions about size acceptance. The rest of my family are too invested and bought into my life being in danger because of my weight that they are not capable of honoring my experience because they view me as broken and in need of fixing. I tried for while to explain to my family the reasoning behind my choice to not diet anymore and I came to the conclusion that I had to have strict “no discussion” about weight/food/health/exercise with all of them except my brother.

  3. July 16, 2012 2:00 pm

    People who haven’t been the victims of extreme bullying don’t get that you don’t just “get over it”. How do you get over something that evokes a physical reaction severe enough to make your normal fight-or-flight instinct pale in comparison?

    I was flying to a business meeting recently when someone at the airport called my (very much hated but not actually derogatory) school nickname. I whirled around, and froze. I had to fly on the same plane as one of the bullying bystanders- not one of the major perps, just someone who always hung with the popular crowd and didn’t do anything apart from a little name-calling and laughing along with the real players. She chatted at me the. whole. time until it was time to choose our seats. I asked to be placed as far up front as possible (frequent flyer on the airline, so if they have room they’ll usually do it) and thanks to just a small overnight bag, practically ran out of my destination airport and threw myself into the nearest cab. It took me until I was in the hotel and had had an alcoholic drink (normally an absolute no-go on business nights but I was just short of a major panic attack) to calm down enough to phone my Mom.

    She told me that maybe it was time to forgive.

    So, while I don’t have the same experiences you do (my bullies aimed mostly at physical damage in the form of broken bones or lacerations when they weren’t engaged in the good old mocking circle) I understand why you can’t even face the thought of starting a weight-loss program and you aren’t weak or close-minded. You’re protecting yourself, and that is your right. Don’t let anybody tell you differently!

    I’m also to tell you from my (now a resident) youngest brother NOT to ask the name of the doctor that gave a <10 child fen-phen because he would like to force-feed that to HIS offspring. He was spluttering in incoherent rage tbh.

  4. Mulberry permalink
    July 16, 2012 2:37 pm

    Sometimes people come into a fat acceptance group and ask why diet talk isn’t allowed.
    In answer, there’s an old saying i like to quote – Never wave a rope in front of someone who’s narrowly escaped hanging.
    This needs saying: your mother is fucking clueless. We are talking about a woman who was an indirect witness to verbal and physical abuse of her own daughter, a woman who is in a position to know better, saying the equivalent of gee, it wasn’t that bad.
    This is crazymaking – telling you essentially that you didn’t see what you saw, you didn’t hear what you heard, the kind of thing that makes you doubt your own sanity and leaves you vulnerable to further abuse because you’re not as likely to trust your own feelings.
    Can you find someone else to talk to? Maybe another fat person you know?

    • lexiedi permalink
      July 24, 2012 1:53 am

      I have a friend who is larger… but she’s more in-between with a more socially acceptable body shape than I am. She also has a serious medical condition and has been losing a lot of weight lately. I don’t think she was teased much about her size, to be honest. My boyfriend’s not thin but he was teased about his race.

      Come to think about it, I’m really the only person I know who was teased about their weight… that I know of anyway…

  5. July 16, 2012 3:10 pm

    I agree with much of what has been said: those who haven’t been abused in this way don’t understand how deep the scars can be. This past year, I’ve had my own ghosts of torment past come back to haunt me. I had two older brothers who left me out of everything throughout my childhood, and even into adulthood, because I was (and am) annoying. After my breakup with my son’s mother, I moved in with my parents, who lived in the middle of nowhere. When my oldest brother came home from out of town, my next oldest brother would come out and hang with the family a while, talking about their plans to go bar-hopping with my cousin, who is younger than me. And then they’d leave, without so much as a suggestion that I might want to come along.

    So after a family feud erupted, I let a lot of this out and the response from both of my brothers was, “That’s in the past. Why are you holding a grudge?” It’s not a grudge, it was a pattern of behavior that led me to believe that I was not good enough to hang out with. The self-esteem issues I struggle with to this day stem from the way they have treated me my entire life. But they don’t understand that. They think it’s something that happened in the past and should stay in the past, and now I should forgive and forget. But it isn’t possible to forgive when the offending parties don’t even recognize the pain they inflicted. It’s like some body borrowing your car, driving it into a tree, tossing you the keys and saying, “Nice ride.” Just because it’s in the past, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

    You know what effect your experiences have had on you, and those who can’t empathize aren’t worth listening to. They want you to take the easy solution: let it go. But in your case, that would be ridiculous because there is much to be learned from your past. Just because they haven’t learned your lessons, doesn’t mean they are better teachers. Find another person to confide in because it sounds like your mom doesn’t understand what really happened.


  6. Janet permalink
    July 16, 2012 4:25 pm

    Wow….wow…wow! This sounds like my story (minus some of the physical abuse). And “pattern of behaviour” is also astute. I too have lived a lifetime of abuse with nobody to help me. I’ve been told to get therapy to “get over it”, but rarely are my feelings both past and present acknowledged. I’ve been told I’m too sensitive, that I’m imagining it, that it didn’t happen that way, all from people who were actually there. I loved my parents and they were my champions (they intervened when my 1st grade teacher bullied me because of my weight, which I might add was aimed at a slightly chubby kid). But my brother, other family, friends, nobody else has ever understood (I have one friend who does but I don’t like to burden her with this as she has her own weight torment stories). I have never ever in my life tried to tell someone they shouldn’t feel the way they do, or that it is their imagination. I am one of the most empathetic people I know and yet I never get the same in return (at least not outside of a select few). I can’t stand when loved ones start droning on about weight loss, like their whole world is a mess because they are carrying a few extra pounds (and I mean few). I get really angry now and want to tell them what I’ve been through but I don’t think they would care or acknowledge these feelings. So, to anyone who has endured this and carries the scars, I’m sorry you went through this. It’s not your imagination. Those bullies had no right and if I could make three wishes for those people it would be to walk a day in our shoes, so they might understand what pain really is.

  7. July 24, 2012 2:10 am

    Just to be clear, there’s a weird relationship when it comes to my mom, me, and weight. My mom (as I think I’ve mentioned before) spent her whole life struggling to be thin. She comes from a family of large people. All of her brothers are over 6 foot tall and over 300 pounds (much like my brother) and all of her sisters are big too. She took weight loss drugs and went on starvation diets and went so far as to use illegal drugs to stay thin.

    So I understand when my mom flip-flops on the idea of dieting. Sometimes she shakes her head and agrees with me fully- diets are useless and harmful. Other times she hates her body and wants so badly to lose weight, she’ll want to spend the money we’ve been saving to fix up the house. My mom’s had a hard time with her body image… probably a harder time than I have. And when I was young, she and I were always weight loss buddies. We went into every dead-end scheme together, hopeful and utterly naive.

    So, in a way, I understand why she gets upset when I tell her that I won’t eat cabbage soup for 2 weeks… I’ve always been her partner in these things… But at the same time, I don’t understand why she can’t see the pain I go through.

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