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Dear World At Large,

To follow is a list of statements that are not, repeat, NOT necessarily code for "I'm fat." In some, perhaps even many, cases, they might well be. But not always. And never, ever, EVER if you hear them coming from me. Ever.

  • "I'm out of shape." Okay, this may not be the best example to start with, because with me, it does have more encoded in it. But what's encoded in it is "I cannot do sixteen fouettés in a row, run for any decent amount of time, or stand on one foot and pull the other foot behind me and over my head with both hands. The further I get from when I could do these things, the more unlikely it becomes that I will ever recapture them. And I'm not okay with that." But the point is, it is, and always has been, about what my body can do.

  • "I have cellulite." This one baffles me. I sometimes wonder how much of our cultural crackitude could have been avoided if the noun for a particular tissue type and the adjective for a person judged to have an excess of it weren't the exact same word. It's like when the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty started, and several perfectly intelligent, thoughtful people blogged about finding it ironic that it was kicked off with the ads for the anti-cottage-cheese skin-firming cream. The automatic assumption was that the product was being touted as making you look thinner, because after all, isn't everything? *shakes head* Listen carefully, children: once upon a time I was 22 years old, 5'9", 115 pounds and still dancing regularly, and I had cellulite. Completely. Separate. Thing.

  • "That's too much food for me." People always seem to think this is about "paying for it later." I'm more concerned about paying for it now, TYVM.

  • "I can't wear that [X garment purchased Y years ago] anymore." See above for the approximate dimensions I occupied for the vast majority of my adult life, prior to my metabolism finally catching up with my teenage growth spurt at about age 35. Observe the elbow room. 'Nuff said.

  • "My butt won't fit in [X garment belonging to a friend of similar build and shorter stature]." And I'd look mighty silly if it did.

  • "Next to Tricia Helfer, I look downright squat." Dude. I did. This isn't code for anything except "There's tall and willowy (i.e. me), and then there's that."

  • "[X clothing style] wouldn't work on me." Most of the fashion industry thinks in two dimensions. We exist in three. Size is near the bottom of the list of reasons why something will or won't work on one's particular body.


In conclusion, while the intent is appreciated, responding to any of the above with reassurances/validations/dopesmacks that would be appropriate responses to "I'm fat" is just going to confuse me and waste your energy. :-)

Much love,
Val

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
ithildyn
May. 23rd, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
[applauds list]

"That's too much food for me." It also doesn't mean I have an eating disorder and am trying to starve myself.

"[X clothing style] wouldn't work on me." Amen!
wiliqueen
May. 23rd, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
It also doesn't mean I have an eating disorder and am trying to starve myself.

I've thankfully not had to deal with this one. Before my metabolism caught up with me, "too much food" was a chimerical concept, and since it has I no longer get random strangers at the mall telling me to eat something. (No, I'm not kidding.)

But I've had several friends who have, and am annoyed on their behalf.
ithildyn
May. 23rd, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, I believe you! Has happened to me.

There's a Japanese and Chinese place we used to eat at a lot. Both run by elderly women. Both of them were always bringing me extra food, assuring me it was free, and to eat! I have to admit, at the Japanese place, it was bearable because she'd bring me extra free sake too [g]
wiliqueen
May. 23rd, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
*chuckle* Now, see, giving me free food (unless I'm already full) is a whole different transaction. The underlying assumption probably shouldn't be any less irritating but, y'know, free food. ;-)
studiesinlight
May. 23rd, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
>"I no longer get random strangers at the mall telling me to eat something."

I get random strangers on trains telling me to smile. Society seems to have people who are willing to witness crimes without reporting them, but unwilling to let a woman pass without attempting to correct her appearance. We humans are so weird ...
wiliqueen
May. 23rd, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
We are indeed.
alyssa22
May. 23rd, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Argh! I've had that too! People are so rude sometimes. One girl I worked with said to me "You look sad, what's wrong?" a few too many times, so I told her "Nothing's wrong. I'm always this ugly." It shut her up.
brainiacfive
May. 23rd, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
Not that you were aware of, perhaps. But both my family and a certain segment of yours have wondered about that in the (distant) past.
wiliqueen
May. 23rd, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, I got it as a general thing all the time. I have no doubt people wondered what happened to the food after I ate it, but there wasn't questioning (at least directly to me), about the quantity I was eating.
nique
May. 23rd, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
"That's too much food for me." It also doesn't mean I have an eating disorder and am trying to starve myself.

This is the one that gets me. I'm 5'1". My weight is a good weight for someone of my (very unimpressive) stature, and I eat in accordance to it. If I say I'm full, I really am, and there is no reason people--strangers or not--need to comment on it.

Of course, for me, part of it is that people doing that gives me something bordering on an anxiety attack owing to the school aide in gradeschool who would watch me every lunch hour and demand I eat things, despite constant reassurances from my mother to the school (who kept calling her) that I ate fine at home and that they didn't need to worry about it if I didn't really like the school lunches.
nique
May. 23rd, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
Now, if I could just get the world to figure out that "Damnit, my pants are falling off." Is not code for "Haha, I'm sklinny and you're not," it would be great. Because what it really means is, damnit, I have no ass, and my pants are falling off. ;)
kjaneway
May. 23rd, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
"Next to Tricia Helfer, I look downright squat." Dude. I did.

Oooh! You stood next to Tricia Helfer?! I jealous.
wiliqueen
May. 23rd, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
In my old skool Colonial Warrior jacket, yet. :-) She was at GenCon a couple years back.
kjaneway
May. 23rd, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Very nice!

She's very much on my "would like to meet" list.
wiliqueen
May. 23rd, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
She had the longest line (unsurprisingly), so there really wasn't time to chat, and I missed her Q&A. But what little impression I got from her was nice.
brainiacfive
May. 23rd, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
I tried my best to give you more time! Like screwing up the picture not once, but twice! Of course, I'm not used to cutting off someone ELSE's head when I'm taking your picture. :-)
alyssa22
May. 23rd, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
I lost 12 kilos, which is about 26 pound, and now people think it's their right to tell me I'm gaunt and underweight (which I'm not. I'm in the healthy weight range.)

I had dinner with some friends a few weeks ago, and they just kept on about how I look too thin. Just because they knew me when I was 12 kilos heavier, doesn't mean I'm too thin! I was thinner than this a year or so before I met them..
therealjae
May. 24th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
*applause* Hear, hear!

-J
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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