Monday, October 31, 2011
I have been thinking (I know a true rarity). One of my passions is the oppressed. As a professional, I have always written about and worked to help the most disenfranchised and marginalized people in society (primarily the poor and those with mental illness). I have also studied cultures and how cultural norms impact culture and behavior. As I experienced over the weekend, and have seen on message boards today, I liken the WLS (Weight Loss Surgery) community to a group of marginalized and disenfranchised people who are working to overcome the emotional dysphoria that is present as a result of the oppression it has experienced. Essentially, the obese (very oppressed in society) become the WLS people (also ostracized and oppressed) and this culture is wrought with the emotional upheaval that comes with change. As time goes on, the WLS community is building, and with that - people join with their own backgrounds, their own ideations, their own cultural attitudes. All of this collides into this new culture that is new and not very well known. In this, comes the attempt to become empowered. New cultures that come out of oppression strive to obtain empowerment. There are two ways to do this: aggression and assertiveness. Martin Luther King Jr spoke of assertiveness. But, as we are biologically based to fight when feeling endangered, many of us (including me as I sit on my soap box) use aggression to fight for our power and control. I have to wonder if some of what the WLS community is experiencing isn't what people who have risen from the ashes of oppression (Natives, African Americans, poor, mentally ill folks, children, the LGBTQ community, the obese) is the first stages of gaining this new identity in a world where differences are discouraged...
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Well, I can tell that I don't put my thoughts down here enough, because it was next to impossible to find how to post a new thought today. I am not the type of blogger that makes their money by doing this (though that wouldn't be horrible) nor am I very well written. I just have thoughts on my mind that I need to get out and if, in some way, that helps another person, then so-be-it. I have been consumed with thoughts for the last few months. There have been so many astronomical changes in my life is the last 19 months (that's how long it has been since I had surgery and have tried to make my life one that is not relegated to being the fat chick). It seems like every patient I see has problems with approval and the with the need to be approved of by someone. It seems like everything in my life is about my future identity and how I am going to recapture it now that I am not the fat girl of the group anymore. I look in the mirror and I see me. I don't see the fat person I used to be, so I guess that is good. I see the much smaller version with the saggy skin. I see the person with wrinkles, and zits, and other war wounds associated with weight loss surgery. I see that my hair is shorter, because I had to cut it off since my nutrition has not been as good as I could make it. I see the new me and I sorta like it. This could, quite possibly be, the first time in nearly 39 years that I have looked in the mirror (for a while there I wouldn't look at all)and actually liked what I see. But, the new me and the old me haven't quite reconciled. I mean; I don't even really know who the new me is yet. I was so used to being the fat girl that I don't know if I can grasp what being something else entails. I don't have to be the brunt of jokes from society. There was an article that recently came out in a magazine where a doctor (who has since publicly apologized) wrote about the jokes that he and some of his colleagues have shared at the expense of large people he has seen in the Operating Room. These jokes weren't very nice, but they do reflect more of the norm in society. FAT people are free game. Some comedians have even made money on their size and their ability to poke fun at themselves (and other people of great size). However, this is just another way to rationalize away the emotions connected with being fat and having the world tell you that you aren't valuable or that you are a JOKE! I am not a joke. I have never been a joke, even though I have spent the majority of my life fat. I have been a serious person, with serious emotions, and serious needs since I was born. I just didn't believe that until recently. I hope that, if you are reading this, you are considering your worth and how to reclaim it. I hope that you believe, even if it is for the first time, that you have value. WE ALL DO! Doesn't matter the package we come in - we are valuable as humans! If you have a disability of some sort, you are not less valuable as someone how does not. If you are popular, and rich - that doesn't make you more valuable than someone who is not. If you are the most popular blogger in cyberspace, you're thoughts aren't particularly more valuable than anyone elses. You just are! That being you is all that you ever need to be! Fat or thin, short or tall, smart or not....just be you!