…is going on over at Alas, and so I commented, but here is the corrected version of that comment. I am so completely *DONE* with the assumptions not-fat people make and can point and laugh at when a fat person comes into their sphere.
What makes me the most crazy, is since fat *is* the last acceptable point and laugh excuse, is no *matter* the reasons behind it that the strangers don’t know, *every* fat person faces the same type of discrimmination, disrespect,humiliation and shame. Once one is fat, strangers feel the need to police what we eat, what we wear, they feel they have every right to lecture us about it.
I’m a “dual eligible.” A person with disabilities that *predated* my obesity and still exist, *separate and apart from that,* that make excersize nearly impossible. (spastic pariplegia, asthma, etc) I do what I can. It isn’t enough.
I’ve been able to give up high fat foods easily…in Overeaters Anonymous parlance I have *control* over fatty foods. I can take them or leave them. so I am not “powerless” over *all* foods.
It’s my perception and belief (should apply to myself alone) that I’m a sugar addict. Not an overall food addict. Just sugar. Sugar is only one or two molecules away from the chemical composition of alchohol, and my family has a predisposition for alchoholism…so my own experience tells me that this is why a degreed, smart professional person feels helpless about ever being able to stop eating too much sugar.
I’m better at it than say five years ago, but I cannot seem to completely stop eating the low value high sugar stuff.
So what if it is an addiction for me? Alchoholics are told to simply stop drinking and given strategies to cope. Drug addicts to stop ingesting the drug.
But if one is addicted to a food that is bad for them? We *still have to go to the grocery*
It’s as if an alchoholic was told: You still *must* go to the bar every day…but only drink water while everyone around you is buying up the booze. Would any alchoholism counselor *reccommend* such nonsense? Of course not! But, for the subset of heavy people who percieve an addiction in themselves, this is precisely what society demands that we do!
And if we cannot walk into a place full of the addictive things, and walk out with chicken, turkey, soy milk and salads and a small amount of fruit…
Then, we’re “disgusting.” We have no “will power!” I wish everyone who points and laughs at fat persons would read about Health at Any Size, and about a medical root to a possible sugar/carb addiction…insulin resistance!
I’m over 300 and 5′3…the disability has made me two inches shorter than my DNA says I ought to be, so a small percentage of my problem is directly tied to things out of my control.
In order to survive cancer I had to take 50 mg of prednisone a day for nine straight months, that influenced me to eat more than I had before. I’m presently on a medication that has the single side effect of weight gain.
When food addiction recovery programs exist in such a way that processed sugar isn’t hidden in almost everything, and that I can make a choice not to shop…in other words *remove myself* from the situation entirely…then I may be able to work towards getting smaller.
Until then I won’t put up with anybody’s disgust or disrespect…To the strangers on the street “You don’t know how the **** I got here or have any idea of the difficulty of changing!” Respecting me as a person isn’t all that difficult, and frankly I demand it. That’s right. Demand it.
Well, I had another trip scheduled into the mountains today….
And, symptoms cropped up to tell me it was best to stay in….
What I’m thinking about today is…
The various ways that associates, with impairments and without, make assumptions or judgements about those that “don’t get out much.”
We’re uppity and we think we’re “too good for [whomever]”
We let fear dictate our choices (Well, yes, on that last….I’d rather not have hour long attacks in the bathroom and I’ve gotten good at recognizing the cues that make it quite likely…) But this isn’t an irrational fear of socializing….*that* kind of fear should not keep one inside, ever…
1. We don’t make committments and break them for fun, or to dissapoint and frustrate our family or friends. We’d rather be doing. Absolutely. We aren’t staying in because of laziness, if it is symptoms that get in the way.
And in my particulars, the symptoms are not anything for which I claim any amount of positive impact on my life. Irritable bowel syndrome is nothing I can claim to be adapted to/resigned to/or get any good out of. It is the single piece of my multiple impairment puzzle that has the most negative affect on my life, ahead of all the rest and not recognized as a “disability” in and of itself.
2. I still think it’s important to make plans, even if an average of about 50% of them fall through…because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be out and about doing anything, instead of half as much as you’d like to…
Related to “going out.” I’ve never understood the sense of the general disdain or fear of going to films or plays alone…Once widowed, I decided that it was silly to miss a film or on rarer occasions a play that I wanted to see, simply because I would have to go alone…In the days before irritable bowel syndrome became such a constant, if I wanted to see a film or play and had the time or money…I went…It is absolutely better to go alone than not to go at all.
And, although I get to many many fewer films first run, I still go to some of them alone, for the same reason. (in the age of On Demand, or through the mail DVD rental, I’m just six months or so behind anything I didn’t get to)
I’ve also gone to “couple heavy” events, because friends were going…I won’t deny that those are difficult, but my experience is, again, it’s better to go than not, if you’ve got friends there who will take time to reach out and include you.
So, if we’re willing to be out and about, *even* in ways and to events that the able would not choose to attend alone, then, the biggest barrier can still be access.
Comedy clubs are still notoriously inaccessible, as a class…thank goodness Josh Blue is a crip jock as well as a comic, or he might have trouble getting into the building in which he has a show…
Performance venues have been sued, in what I’ll call the worst post ADA blunder…the assumption that the access is there without checking for the seating area or adaptive devices that actually make acess possible–to promise and then not deliver, and *blame* the customer for the difficult or outright bad experience.
Or the de facto exclusion from a concert when everyone in front of you stands and dances without leaving an open line of sight….We can ‘access’ the sound, but not the sights.
Going out should always be fun, or partially fun…but here’s hoping that however often people with impairments go out, it’s another method of chipping away at older, passe perceptions, that we belong inside…sometimes reaching the level of an act of defiance. Doesn’t have to be that laden with seriousness…but it can do nothing but good…the more we’re out, the less motivation or chance for being “shut-in” not by our impairments, but by attitude, or inaccessibility of a physical or social nature.
There are so many good things to say about it for me…
Our local “gimp camp” was not disability specific…
So it wasn’t as easy to snipe at the Special Ed kid, if you helped them with their bedmaking.
Excluding the quadriplegic from games wasn’t quite so simple if you fed them their Froot Loops.
Lots of bonding, camaraderie….And the same batch of people went when you were eight, and many still attended up to the last year, their 21’rst birthday.
The most amazing morning was the time, just after sunrise that a boy with cognitive impairments thought nothing of going to breakfast without his clothing…and ran around the whole place smiling with his hands outstretched…the male counselors trying to snag him with a robe were the ones we laughed at….The naked guy was just happy, and in his element and having a good time…The harried counselors were terrified that if they didn’t get some coverage on the guy it would mean their jobs…
The counselors were trained to guard against the slightest sign of not doing absolutely every task that the child should be capable of…For my friend Becky who had not been able to achieve a single roll over in her 17 years, the day she managed that roll, to assist those who dressed her was as big a celebration as any Special Olympics medal.
I had not yet learned to tie my shoes by the age of eight, and the counselors had been told that this was of some concern…so one morning I was forbidden morning activity…no restraint or cruelty, no punishment, physical or emotional…they just let me simmer there until I figured it out. Took me about three hours.
Romance, I found, was difficult…since the counselors followed and physically stood between myself, and the awkward boy that would become my husband, many years later…
The good I took away from that place was this: For one week, I did not have to explain myself. I was not dismissed, disrespected, laughed at. No one pointed. No one stared. (At least not in that “look at the poor impaired kid” way).
One summer as the busses pulled up, everyone else was sad or weeping because they would miss a friend or a counselor they had become close with. My favorite counselor came to my place in line and asked me why I was crying.
“Because I have to go back…this is the only place I’m not different…and it’s not *fair!* To have to go back to fifty more weeks of living with *them!* “
Somehow, I always had a serious hate on for the able when I had to go back and live among them again, that took about two weeks to wear off. They had privilege. They had respect. It was all so *easy* for them, I thought, just to be themselves. And here, I found this place where I could be *myself* that was not less….and I was only allowed to stay a week…
Others will differ, saying a ‘segregated’ camp experience for only impaired children didn’t do enough to prepare us for life and hardship and independence. Maybe so. But I *needed* a break from being the local ‘freak,’ and that’s what I got.
Or, maybe I just liked the fountain.
It was July 1976….I was fourteen…and was beginning to connect with my boyfriend…
I had made the mistake, early in the session, of beating him and his cronies at poker….I didn’t know it, but that really stuck in his craw some…
We were told we were going on a five mile hike…He and I resolved to take the trip together, but neither of us felt we could walk the entire five miles unaided, so we appropriated an E+J camp wheelchair…He would push me for the first two and one half miles, and I would push him on the return leg.
So he did very well and we had quite the chat until we stopped near the fountain that would be our spot for lunch…I was thinking of a drink and a sandwich and got taken by suprise when the chair tilted forward and I did an unplanned bellyflop…right into that fountain.
“Payback for the poker game, sweetheart,” the insufferable culprit said.
Hampered by the slick surface and the water I shrieked, sloshed and dripped, and slid and yelled and fussed and only succeeded in getting myself more soaked…I got some help, and got out…
And I *still* had to push the brat 2.5 miles back home, because my crutches were back at our basecamp, and the chair he occupied like some snotty conquering king was the only thing I could hold onto while walking…
So I sloshed, and dripped and cussed all over his head, for the entire afternoon and sometime in that trip back, he said, was the moment he decided he was in love with me.
Passed to me offline:
1. If Money were no object, where would you dwell?
Canadian summers, Florida Fall-Spring.
2. Who are/were the three most influential people in your life?
My paternal great grandmother.
3. If I had a million dollars after taxes:
Pay my debts.
Payoff my mom’s house.
Give 5k to everybody on my email address list.
Indicate to my ex boyfriend that he was on the list and then do a juvenile “Oops, no, no bucks for you,” when he showed up for the money.
Take a year and get thin.
Do some investing.
Cut a demo.
Build an impairment friendly house
live off the interest on the remaining $$
4. If I had six months to live:
Go to Vegas. Cut a demo. Live out my days on the beach.
5. If you could spend the day with one person alive or dead who would you choose?
I’m selfish. My late spouse. (I could have said Jesus or Ghandi or something. I’m selfish)
6. What animal would you most like to be?
7. What era in History would you most like to visit?
North America in the early 1400’s. To see what this place was really like before the Spanish, the Portugese, French, the English came.
8. What is your most important material possesion?
A dragon that hangs on my wall.
9. What famous person would you like to be for a day?
Angelina Jolie, with the mind of Dorothy Parker.
10. What would you like to be remembered for?
For having a part in pushing access, acceptance, independence ahead.
It was Halloween. I was late teens early twenties, and somehow, someone “borrowed” a vintage dress from the theatre department…black, taffeta, floor length v-neck.
Everyone did costumes.
I loved it. The way it moved, the way it hung, the way it sounded…if a rustle could be sophisticated it had it.
I went to the dance. It was a silly, awkward but hilarious good time…but I didn’t dance the whole thing…midway through I chose the wallflower seat.
Someone unknown came and sat beside me, sounding oddly talkative for a place where the music blasted, and smelling of various intoxicants.
Then, I realized without a whisper of motion from me, his arm was around the back of my neck, to the opposing shoulder…an unwelcome snake. I thought, if I got up and danced he’d sheer off.
I did, and he didn’t. He watched…from different angles…from far away…from closer in…
friends tried to run interference for me (and the fact that they were in costume didn’t help…Mimes ordinarily can’t project “tough”)…
I didn’t want this…person (I don’t like calling him a person)…creature to ruin the night. I moved all around the party space, but it was no use.
So, I just left. In a hurry. Fled on four feet. On Canadian crutches equiped at the time with snow blades up above the tip level, that could be twisted down to grip the ice during winter…”running” in black taffeta on Hallowe’en night.
He followed…I got some distance from the dance was out in the square, and when he got close I took my left crutch, leaned as much of my body weight on it as possible and slammed it onto the top of his left foot.
I must have hit *something* since he made a weird shriek and peeled off and away.
I did not go home. I was shaking. I ended up in the music building at one of the practice rooms…hammered out more than a few dissonant chords of this and that…
The security guard came at eleven…he didn’t say anything, and I pushed past him and out the doors, and “ran” again, fast, to home, the dorm…that houseful of women.
I don’t fit that dress, that profile now…
Because of both my impairment and the thing that makes me way less than saintly, my sugar jones…I had such a brief time to be the “correct” weight…to be pretty…
*Why,* if those of us with impairments have fewer ways or less time, to be percieved as “pretty” by the able world….
*Why* do they wreck it? Why are we even *more* the ones with *vulnerable* tatooed on our forehead for the creeps to target?
If we’re only going to have four *hours* a year to be a knockout, damnit…Let it happen!
Let us be charismatic and compelling and *safe* at the same time.