The comments come in readily, midway through a doctor’s visit. “Have you considered losing weight?”, while I am sniffling through a bad cold and really would like nothing more than my medication so that I can get on home and recover.
Want to wager on how many times we get asked this question when we step into a doctor’s office? I’ve been told this as a size 12, size 22, a size 8 and my present size of 18/20. Where exactly does the range of ‘fatness’ begin? Oh my bad, it’s the dastardly BMI that indicates that for us isn’t it? The all-encompassing marker for health and longevity?
What sickens me is the crass way with which we are depicted all the time. Headless images of people with big stomachs ambling about in the public, used as video footage for ‘concerns for obesity’.
We Will Not Be Headless Fatties. Let me tell you why.
Because this does not happen to people who are unhealthy But who have the privilege of not being visually plus sized or fat. They don’t get videoed without their knowledge with their heads chopped off for ‘anonymity’s sake’ and ‘ethics’ for news coverage. Put a face to our bodies, speak to us if you’d really like to know about us. We won’t bite. We won’t infect you, promise, with gluttony or slovenliness or whatever else you think we perpetuate.
This is precisely why fat people avoid seeking medical attention. Has anyone thought to think the implications of that? Sure they have, there are studies and studies but buried beneath childhood obesity journals because who wants to know what’s being done wrong to marginalised communities.
Oh yes I said it. We are marginalised. For reasons we may not even have been responsible for but there you go. It is what it is.
From the moment I was injured on Feb 5, my size was brought to the forefront more times than I liked. From the sighs of Nurses who needed to change the size of their blood pressure kits, to the Mri attendant who rolled her eyes while I stifled in my 3 sizes smaller robe. From the orthopaedic surgeon’s admission that “I was going to take much longer than the rest to recover from this surgery” to his complaint that he “didn’t know if he could find a knee brace that could accommodate thighs of My size”.
I was not aware that athleticism was so closely associated to ones rehabilitation. What then of the old folks with hip replacements or the kids with broken bones? And because the ACL injury is typically something that afflicts Athletes like football players, dancers and tennis players .. my chances of recovery were slim because I was fat thus slow to move on my feet and unmotivated?
Anyone who has followed my Instagram journey since the injury will know I have taken myself to hell and back with rehabilitation. Not to prove anything to anyone, but to get better because isn’t that what you do when you injure yourself? But the veiled compliments come in thick in person and online – “oh wow, you’re so strong and active!”, “you’ve lost weight that is excellent for recovery!”.
I’ve not lose one damn ounce of weight. But if it makes you happy to think so, whatever.
I was sedentary for A Year. 2016. Because I was in a very bad emotional place and granted, dancing was not the wisest thing to do…I should have worked up to it. But the comments coming out of the woodworks since the injury make it seem as if I have never seen the insides of a gym in my entire existence. Was I supposed to have been that prized fat patient where the Doctor goes “Aarti, meet Gym. You’re welcome.”
I stayed with my folks for a while and the entire time, I felt like my food intake and physical movements were constantly being watched by The main fat shamer of my life – my Father – who Still thinks it’s okay to do so because it’s his ‘duty’ as a parent to instill values.
Instilling body hate is not a value. Instilling body confidence and self respect are values.
Now I don’t care if you as a fellow fat person goes to the gym. Because I am so not here to cheer on the ‘Good Fatties’. I’m here to say that whether you are someone like me or someone like you who is Fat – you deserve better. I hope you know that.
Better medical treatment.
Better self love and self care.
Better experiences in life that do not threaten to turn political because of our size. Whether it’s asking for a seatbelt extender or just a little more human consideration.
I could have backed this post with heaps of articles, links and maybe I will do that in time. For now, this is my impassioned writing as a person who simply is fed up of being seen in a one dimensional way.
But as I heal physically, know that I will come back with answers to questions I may have spurred on with this post. And there will be a whole lot of fat acceptance education.