Thursday, December 22, 2011
I just did the very thing that illustrates to me that internalized hatred is alive and well! We definitely internalize the things we hear and sometimes, even, believe that it is okay to repeat them. I saw a picture of a buffalo in an online support group - totally benign thing. But I immediately thought of a fat joke - and a racist joke - the minute the picture came up. AND, I told it! What in the world is wrong with me? I know exactly what is wrong with me - we have been taught that saying negative things about fat people and people of color is FUNNY! IT IS NOT! Not in any way - differences are not funny. They have no value at all - they just exist. Difference is not deficient! I must remember this! We all must remember this!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
So, this is the bumper sticker that I saw on a truck the other day. You know the truck; big, and jacked up - wench in front, heavy duty tires, 5 miles to the gallon in gas, full of dirt, and sometimes with a flag from the antenna. This is the type of 'comedy' that is still allowed in this world. I have realized that there are many 'funny' things out there that are hurtful, and this journey of really changing my life to be a different person - a different identity other than fat chick - has made me very aware. I have seen others: a Native American person dancing and the slogan "White man can't dance" - the movie from the 80's "White Men can't jump" - "NO FAT Chicks" - etc. etc. It's disheartening that a world as diverse and educated as ours still finds crude and mean things like this funny. I have, myself, participated in things like this. I happen to love t-shirts with funny slogans. I currently have two that I am going to really consider never wearing again - "Blondes might have more fun but brunettes can read" and "Shuffling: another thing the White Man stole." I don't know what compels us to scapegoat another's differences to make us feel better.
I had the wonderful experience of participating in a mindful eating exercise last night. It was interesting. People didn't like not talking and didn't like the exercise at first. I think that overall it was an okay experience, and I had one person who verbalized it was tough for her because it was the VERY first time it became aware to her that she might have an issue with food. Internalized hatred is part of this type of experience. Large people have learned to hate themselves, because of bumper stickers like the one above. They have learned from the world that they aren't acceptable - it's a generalized learning about not being acceptable in ALL areas. I mean, in reality, the essence is that being fat is bad, but as people we compartmentalize and turn the general statement regarding the disgusting nature of fatness into general disgust for oneself. Psychology has studied this for years. Internalized hate and oppression leads to depression/sadness/fear/anxiety/helplessness and hopelessness. When a person feels completely ineffective in changing the emotions/actions of themselves or the opinions of others - they often get stuck... Stuck in the bad food cycle, stuck in the ugly emotions of feeling and being different, and stuck in the guilt/shame/eat cycle that leads many of us to obesity.
I have had someone remind me over and over again (Thanks, Beth!) that it was never about the food. It's about these things - it's about our minds, bodies, and spirits. It is about getting the rest of the world to understand that our differences doesn't make us something abhorrent and disgusting. Nothing about human is abhorrent and disgusting (well, maybe a few things), but not about the nature and existence of them (no matter size, race, age, creed, color or custom). When this issue is tackled, many of us can be free. Unfortunately, I don't see the world changing quickly. So, freedom comes from thinking about freedom. It comes from thinking that leads to the emotions brought out by stickers like the one above - so simply - STOP THINKING, it ONLY Hurts the Ball Club (Thank you Kevin Costner and Bull Durham). Let your actions be your guide. Eating and health is serious business. Become aware of your feelings (they won't kill you), don't hide from them with food, make intentional and mindful decisions, and LOVE YOU!