When Being Fat Doesn’t Count As Fat
This guest post is from a hip and trendy young blogger named Candice from Bookish Penguin. Candice and I have been chatting via email for a while now, and I am really impressed with her writing. Plus, she is just one creative kid with a super cool logo (she’s 20-something, I’m 40 so I can say that 😉
This is our first piece about Weight Loss Surgery, one that is sure to get us all thinking.
His blog is featured in the Fat-O-Sphere, so when I read it I was at first surprised (WLS tends to be a big no-no topic) and then really, truly heart warmed to see a positive WLS tale appear.
At the end of the post, he asked for people to email them if they had WLS stories they wanted to share in future posts. He said he was new to Fat Acceptance (FA) and Health at Every Size (HAES) and was trying to learn as much as possible. I bookmarked the post so I could email him later in the day.
When I got home many hours later, there was a new post from him in the Fat-O-Sphere. This one apologized for the previous post and stated that he wasn’t aware that the Fat-O-Sphere does not discuss WLS. He again stated how he’s new to FA and said the previous post was taken down. I could only assume that the world of Fat-O-Sphere readers bombarded him with comments questioning why he would publish something like this as a member of the Sphere.
I was heartbroken.
I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out my place in the FA/HAES world as a post-WLS person. I’m still fat, but it doesn’t seem to matter or count. All that matters is that I had myself “butchered” (as I’ve read many blogs say). There doesn’t seem to be an open door for those of us who are still fat after WLS, whether that’s because we gained weight back or never lost enough to be considered conventionally thin.
But when I went to click the link on Alex’s apology post, it was gone – and the WLS interview post was back up! The following day Alex posted an explanation, stating:
I’m not an expert on Fat Acceptance. I’m here to learn. I’m here to say what I want to say and to get feedback in return. There is little point attacking me because it does me no good. Point me in the right direction instead. Give me some good material to read. Convey your arguments in such a tone that I want to read and understand your view.
Feel free to say “I’m offended, because…. You should read this, this and this as it will help you to understand my point of view” and I will. I posted my previous post on weight loss surgery because I took away this simple message:
It doesn’t matter whether you lose weight or not. It doesn’t matter what you do, who you are, what your background is. You need to learn to love yourself. Doreen has had surgery and is still learning to love herself. It didn’t fix that. Going on a diet and losing weight will not make you love yourself. Skinny people don’t all love themselves either.
Learn to love yourself and those around you. We are all at different places in our journey. I don’t claim to be a font of knowledge or a leader in Fat Acceptance. I claim to be but one man in a sea of fatties trying to have his voice heard, not shouted down.
I cried reading this post. It’s so much of what I’ve been thinking and trying to put into words.
I have so many thoughts and opinions on what happens when one person tries to inhabit the WLS, FA, and HAES worlds at once (and I certainly haven’t figured it out), but I’ve felt locked out of the conversation because I had WLS – AND have had a fairly positive (if occasionally complicated) experience with it. To boot, I know half a dozen women living quite happily post-WLS with none of the problems most anti-WLS blog posts point to.
Do I just happen to know a lot of lucky women?
I suppose that’s possible. And any complications I’ve experienced are of the mental and emotional sort, not the physical. One of the commenters on Alex’s post wrote:
I . . . was surprised to hear something other than a horror story but I do not doubt that was her reality. I heard a woman who was struggling and was looking for support as a fat person, not as a member of the WLS community.
Yes, yes. WLS does not defeat the need to still be accepted as a fat person. Even at my thinnest (a size 12), I could barely reconcile myself as thin (and by many people’s definitions, I wasn’t – but by mine, I was). I see many people in the FA community who are a size 16 – 20, which are common sizes for post-WLS folks. Why does it matter how you got to be a size 16? (Or 20 or 28 or 32, and so on.) We accept the models who used to starve themselves and then made peace with their bodies and happily rest at a size 10/12/14. Why can’t we accept women with other varied histories, who may or may not have made peace with themselves and are looking for the support and help of a community so that one day they might find that peace?
Like Alex said, it doesn’t matter what your background is; you need to learn to love yourself.
I certainly have not found peace with my body, but I have accepted that the only person who can find that peace is myself. I’ve had the impression that I can’t count on a community for help, but I’m hoping this is changing. I won’t ever deny people their opinions on WLS, but I also would like for it to not be something that invalidates someone’s right to speak out.