The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.

5 Aug

The other night I took a mommy need latte break and wandered into the wilds of the armpit. After changing a few times into something that merely made me look pregnant instead of obese.

Not that it matters.

Sitting waiting for the bus to come home, I started thinking. Watching another “fatty” walk down the sidewalk, and then two young slim “thangs”, it occurred to me that one of those types could be sexual. But not both. Guess who wins that race.

Not the fatty.

It suddenly struck me that I’m now at a size where I’m no longer a sexual being. I’m no longer glanced at, my boobs rarely stared at. I have attained the ultimate thinghood. The thinghood of giant floaty dresses and elastic waist pants. The thinghood that imagines the giggles behind her are about her giant ass. I am becoming IT.

You suddenly become invisible. People are even ruder than normal. They feel justified in creating obstacles for you because anyone who’s that big surely doesn’t have any self worth or dignity to worry about. They glance through you.

That’s the worst part of it-becoming something people look past, or around. You can’t eat in public if you’re this big-lord knows, even if it’s an apple, you can hear the silent “tsk tsk” in the background somewhere.

But wouldn’t it have made sense, biologically speaking, for bodies to do their damnedest to hang on to food, to energy, to store it just in case? Wouldn’t I be one of the people who won the lottery? When did it suddenly change? When did being someone who cannot store any energy become the end all and be all?

When did I stop mattering?

I don’t know what to do. I feel like I get puffier and puffier every day-I feel like I cannot ever get full. I feel empty and without a soul, because I live in a world that tells me I do not possible matter if I cannot stay skinny, something I have never been.

Something I have never been. I live in a world where everything around me tells me to be something I will likely never be, and never was. And it depresses me. They give me more pills, which slow things down further, act like weight gain is avoidable by just eating right. I beg with my eyes for help, not wanting to admit to my inability to find fullness, not wanting to see that look, that fat hate in their eyes.

Why? Why does the size of my ass reflect my intelligence or worth? And why have I judged others with the same paint for so long, when I knew there was a good potential I would go that way too.

It hurts to write this. It hurts to be fat, still. It hurts to feel powerless and sexless and full of anger and fear about something that controls me. My willpower left me when I quit smoking, and left me with an extra 50 pounds. Others have had great advice before, with one exception.

You aren’t crazy.

I’m worse than double blind. I’m totally screwed in a world that hates the fat and the crazy. What next, 40 cats?

 

Studies show:

  • Attractive children are more popular, both with classmates and teachers. Teachers give higher evaluations to the work of attractive children and have higher expectations of them (which has been shown to improve performance).
  • In court, attractive people are found guilty less often. When found guilty, they receive less severe sentences
  • We also believe in the ‘what is beautiful is good’ stereotype – an irrational but deep-seated belief that physically attractive people possess other desirable characteristics such as intelligence, competence, social skills, confidence – even moral virtue. (The good fairy/princess is always beautiful; the wicked stepmother is always ugly)

  • standards of female beauty have in fact become progressively more unrealistic during the 20th century. In 1917, the physically perfect woman was about 5ft 4in tall and weighed nearly 10 stone. Even 25 years ago, top models and beauty queens weighed only 8% less than the average woman, now they weigh 23% less.
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13 Responses to “The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.”

  1. alimum August 5, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    what changed? the availability of food and modern medicine.

    A hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, ten thousand years ago–the woman who had child bearing hips and could hang on to some flesh was a commodity because her body would not miscarry, she would be less likely to die in childbirth, and she could make milk for her baby.

    Now, we don’t need childbearing hips–we have elective c-sections. We don’t need much extra flesh–we have fertility treatments and the option of bedrest. We don’t need breastmilk–we have formula.

    And in our world, flesh is no longer a sign that your body is able to turn straw into gold (or rather, thrive on very little), it is no longer a commodity because it is available for all. Now, it is the uber-thin who are commodified because they are the rarity–the people whose bodies either cannot convert calories to flesh or who have the abnormal ability to not eat.

  2. dragon August 6, 2007 at 12:34 am #

    I dont yet feel as if I am so large as to be invisible, or worse, a cause of contempt or disgust (except perhaps to certain mote-brained 95 lb. wenches), but I am terribly aware of the possibility. I try very hard to watch what I eat, and though I don’t get much in the way of formal exersize, I do spend plenty of time walking up and down stairs, walking through parking lots, and, up until about a week ago, standing, walking, and lifting all day at work. I too have the problem with being judgemental of larger people. It’s mostly directed at people who are fat and can’t seem to dress themselves well (it is harder, but it’s still very possible to look like you have some self respect and fashion sense when you’re a big person) or the terribly obese who just look as if they have completely lost any interest in themselves. Alot of it comes at work, because I work at Taco Bell and am rather disgusted by the enormous amount of very fat people (or worse, cars full of 5 or 6 obese adults) and the amount of food they order. As soon as I think these thoughts, I realize how terrible they are and how I would likely never think such a thing if I actually knew that person. It’s terrible that in our society has ingrained such a disdain for people who, evolutionarily speaking, do have a biological advantage. It’s even sadder that large people like ourselves share the same belief. The sad part is, that with the kinds of foods we eat, it ceases to be an advantage and becomes a hinderance, as a person who a hundred or two hundred years ago would be simply rubenesque are now much larger than they would have been.

    sorry to write so much!

    –Dragon

  3. karriew August 6, 2007 at 6:27 am #

    I’ve felt thingishly fat before too, and it is awful.

    On a sort of related note, Massachusetts is pursuing a ban on fat discrimination.

    article here.

  4. sweetsalty kate August 6, 2007 at 10:19 am #

    I don’t think it’s disdain, but in my experience, concern. My mom is very heavy, has high blood pressure and bad knees. She isn’t comfortable in her skin, trips alot, has a hard time keeping up with Evan. Her doctor has been telling her she has to lose weight for years, for her health. And I don’t believe that’s any kind of moral judgement – it’s just a fact that the extra weight is a strain on her body as she’s aging. And I want her around as long as possible, and also active and mobile for as long as possible.

    But it has to be her.. no one else can tell her. Sometimes I wish I could express how much it worries me, to see her health suffer.. because in her case, it does. An uphill road though, I can totally understand that. But I still wish… I wish. I’d bend over backwards to help her do it. I just don’t know how to talk to her about it, or if it’s even my place.

    Weight issues suck.. for people with them, and for the people who love them. Sorry for the ramble, and know we’re all here and rooting for you sweet Thor.

  5. pissedoffteacher August 6, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    Fat was nevermy problem, ugliness was. I always felt I was so bad to look at that I didn’t matter. As an adult and as a teacher, I came into myself and today I realize that looks don’t matter and I am not as bad as I thought. So many of the “beautiful” people have turned ugly with age. As long as you are healthy, nothing else matters.

  6. misspudding August 7, 2007 at 2:15 am #

    Yes, weight issues suck.

    I may not be “thingishly” fat, but I “feel” your pain.

  7. bine August 7, 2007 at 4:36 am #

    during the last five years, when i gained from 150 to 200 without much noticing, i realized that i didn’t get any more looks in the street (not that i was ever particularly good-looking, but i used to be nice-curvy, not fat-curvy). at first i thought it had mostly to do with age, my hair is almost all gray now and i don‘t look like twenty any more. then came the realization that i was getting fat. every now and then some carribean guy gives me a look – there are cultures where fat is still associated with opulence, voluptousness instead of self-neglect and lack of willpower.
    but it’s a fact – in our culture we’re worth shit. there are people who demand higher insurance rates for obese people because they make more demands on the health system, often having bad knees and hips, artherosclerosis and blood pressure issues. it sucks. what about banning fake diets that only make you yo-yo up to more than your initial weight, what about offering food-counseling covered by your health insurance to avoid obesity in the first place or to help obese people to come to a natural weight without break-neck slimming on some stupid all-protein diet? we still have the wrong pictures in mind, this the-slimmer-the-better phantasy, we’ve completely lost our sense of proportion, the perception of what looks and feels normal and healthy.
    i hope the awareness for this is growing, i can sense little changes here and there, but it’s a long way to go.

  8. nell August 7, 2007 at 2:42 pm #

    It sucks, I’m sorry. One of the best essays in a collection called “The Bitch in the House” (which was excellent), was about what it is like to be an overweight woman in our culture. I can’t remember who wrote it, but it was really amazing – it’s a perspective that I don’t consider as often as I should. I really appreciate your openness about it (among all of your other topics), and wish I had something more useful to add.

  9. thordora August 7, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    I always mean to pick up that book, and the title always annoys me out of it.

    I know I’m not healthy, but health has nothing to do with it, not in the eyes of others. The study I saw today linking birth defects to obesity, just doesn’t jive in my head-wouldn’t the baby be better off with a mother who has a good store of energy?

    I’d rather consider the possibility of lack of exercise, eating crap (as opposed to eating too much) or lifestyle (class) than my fat ass giving my child spinal bifida. What next, we cause leprosy?

  10. JoC August 9, 2007 at 4:03 am #

    hey there, I found you through S/S. I relate to much of what you are saying. Especially judging other overweight people.

    I have been thingishly invisible(5yrs ago) and I have been slender (10 years ago). Right now I am in the middle and heading upwards. Weirder still, my educational background is nutrition!

    For me, I have come to learn that it is about what the food does for me, not about the food itself. Eating when i am tired, eating when I am thirsty, eating when I am bored/afraid/angry/lonely…Distraction. Avoidance. Changing brain chemistry. Something to focus on.

    Currently, I am trying to notice what function eating is having – relieving loneliness for example and instead beating myself up/feeling worse/eating more/ feeling worse, I am eating what I must and reaching out by phone or if that isn’t happening by email.

    Yada yada yada. You are right: advise sucks. Your situation definitely adds at least 3 more layers of complexity (changes in appetite, changes in metabolic rate, brain chemistry). So my comments are just that comments… rambling comments.

  11. thordora August 9, 2007 at 8:50 am #

    Also throw in the fact that I work bizarre shifts, and my eating habits are all over the board. It’s hard to stay on track.

    I know I eat out of boredom-I just don’t know how to quell it.

    And hi!

  12. maggie roper January 20, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    some great info here
    i am adding this to my bookmarks…

  13. Natural Vitamins : October 31, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    beauty queens coming from the latin americas are the best ones “”

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