Tag Archives: CNN

How Long Do We Have to Hate Our Bodies?

It’s not new, but it recently surfaced in my Facebook feed–an article on CNN.com called What the Dying Really Regret.  In this article Kerry Egan, a hospice chaplain who has spent a lot of time consoling those with little time left on this earth, states:

There are many regrets and unfulfilled wishes that patients have shared with me in the months before they die. But the stories about the time they waste hating their bodies, abusing it or letting it be abused — the years people spend not appreciating their body until they are close to leaving it — are some of the saddest.

In this article, the chaplain talks about how, even as they are in hospice, nearing the end of their lives people have not learned to make peace with their bodies.  And how many people, close to losing or actively losing many of the wonderful things about their bodies regret that they never truly appreciated their bodies until they were nearly gone.  She talks about the sadness of it and the waste of it.

I have absolutely no doubt that this is true.  I’ve talked to quite a few women in their seventh and even eight decade that have never learned to make peace with their hips or their thighs or their bellies–hips that have shaken to music of many eras, bellies that have borne babies and thighs that have propelled them inevitably forward to a ripe old age.  And I see the part of them that has been carefully educated to be smaller, to be less than, to show no excess warring with the part of them that wants to stop worrying about it all and just eat the damn cookie.  And it makes me sad.

I say carefully educated, because this body hatred–this need to make ourselves smaller and less than–is something we learn.  In her brilliant piece, Egan states:

…unlike the foolish or best-intentioned mishaps, the terrible accidents, the slip-ups that irrevocably change a life, this regret is not a tragic mistake. It’s intentional. It’s something other people teach them to feel about their bodies; it’s something other people want them to believe.

But in this sad story, there is some good news.  Behavior that can be learned can be unlearned.  We can choose to love our bodies before it is too late.  We can choose not to spend years or decades or a lifetime not hating something so precious, so finite, so personal and so wondrous.  We can chose not to squander our lives and resources on something so unproductive.  We can choose to spend that time, loving ourselves, making ourselves bigger, making our lives better and making things better for everyone around us.

When people ask me why I do what I do, I tell them that this, this is why I do what I do.  Because we are all so precious and life is so precious we simply can’t waste any more of it agonizing about cellulite.  We need to be dancing with our children and our spouses.  We need to be writing our poems and righting the world’s wrongs.  We need to be teaching our children and our parents and everybody how to share this wonderful world before we lose our wonderful world.  And if I, in some tiny, tiny way can help a person get to that place–to the writing and righting a little bit sooner–even by one single day, then I am doing something worthwhile.  Because while one single day may not seem like much to me now, it can seem like forever to someone facing the end of their days.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Thursday Theater: The Second Candy Crowley Debate about her Weight

I have to say that Candy Crowley did a pretty good job of being tough in the most recent presidential debate.  And it’s no surprise that some folks are pretty up in arms about the fact that she did her job and told the leader of the free world and the man who is competing for that position to sit down and be quiet at times.  And there is some concern that she added information to the debate when perhaps she should not have.

But most people seem to agree that she did a much better job of managing the dialog between two of the world’s most powerful men than had been seen in the first debate.  So are people on Facebook singing her praises?  Is the Twitterverse glowing with her awesomeness?  Well yes, and then again no.  Because what some people feel the need to talk about right now is Candy Crowley’s weight.

Here’s one post I ran across on Facebook:

Since it’s the 21st Century, why do we even need Moderators? Siri can ask the questions, refrain from interrupting, and 5 seconds after the red timer light goes on, cut off the speaker’s mike. Also, we can save the Rain Forest from devastation by not having to raise all the beef cattle necessary to feed Sliders in the hospitality tent to Candy Crowley.

 

I found this truly offensive, so I said “This is offensive”.  Here’s the response I got:

LOL!  I think the above two responses are even funnier than the original post (wink). Talk about what’s wrong with America! We need a tickle prison for people who live by strict PC rules; maybe enough laughter will lighten them up. And I’m not talking about their weight.

And this one:

She’s a big fatty, and she’s demonstrably biased towards Democrats, that’s enough for me.

Okay here’s the thing.  Declaring that a debate moderator is biased towards one political party may or may not be true in this case.  But at least the question is relevant to the discussion at hand.  What does the fact that she’s a big fatty have to do with the price of fish in Finland?  Nothing.  It’s just a form of hate speech against an extremely intelligent, successful and powerful woman that someone is pretty sure they will get away with.  It’s a cheap shot, and it’s lazy thinking.  But it’s so pervasive in our society that people are appalled when called out on it.

I don’t want to dwell a great deal more on this particular Facebook exchange.  What I really want to talk about is the idea that a woman can ever be powerful enough, successful enough, or strong enough in this world to avoid being called a “fatty, fatty 2×4”?  Is there ever a moment that she’s free from this sort of playground harassment?  Based on what I see coming through on my Facebook feed, I’d have to say no.

And I’m not saying this to depress you.  I’m saying this to make a different point.

For many years I lived under the delusion that if I were smart enough and funny enough and successful enough and dressed well enough, and so on, I would finally be free from childish taunting about my weight.  But at a certain point I realized that I won’t ever be “good enough” to avoid this kind of nonsense.  I had to learn to deal with it when it came at me.  And I have to work to change the world.  Because I’m unlikely to permanently change my size to a level that’s acceptable, and I can’t change the rest of me enough to make this kind of mindless, petty, playground nonsense not happen to me.

And you know what?   This afforded me a freedom of a sort.  I started focusing my energy on getting what I really wanted in life rather than avoiding pain.  I realized that I had no moral obligation to be jolly and I only needed to be funny when I really wanted to.

You don’t have to be nice all the time.  You don’t have to be funny or jolly.  You don’t have to be tame or quiet or good.  Pain will happen anyways.  People will say stupid things anyways.  So you might as well be the person you always wanted to be.  And join me and my colleagues in our quest to make the world a better place for people of all sizes.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S.  Why not start by joining The Fat Chick Clique?  It’s free and it’s liberating!