Okay, folks. *deep breath*
Most of you know me. Most of you have cheered me on as I've been making progress getting my blood sugar under control, beating my arthritis and migraines and diabetes, and dropping weight like it's going out of style. People ask me about cholesterol numbers because I decided to make a point of learning what they meant, and people know that I know, which is really thrilling for me when someone posts about their blood work and multiple people say "Go ask Griff; he'll know the answer to that." So I think in the past six months that I've been here at MDA, I've managed to establish myself as a worthwhile, credible member of this community. I hope I have, anyway.
But I'm part of other communities as well, and one of them has been the subject of derision and mean-spirited comments here more than once, and recently, too. I've decided I have to speak up for that community, as well, or I can't look at myself in the mirror anymore.
So, here goes.
Remember how, back when I first came to MDA, I made a point of saying "I'm a fat activist"? It was part of my story that got posted to Mark's blog. When I started Primal, I was an active activist for the rights and dignity of fat people.
Well, I still am. Even though I'm Primal and losing weight like it's falling off me, I'm still going to be an activist for the rights of fat people to be treated like human beings. Many people here have probably been there, so they know what I'm talking about. Becoming smaller doesn't mean it's okay to become small-minded.
The reason I bring this up is twofold. First, Kevin Smith (the movie director) got thrown off a Southwest flight earlier this week. Why? Because he is fat, and he hadn't spent twice as much money to fly as a thin person would by buying two seats. Therefore, he was a "safety hazard" - and someone who would make all the thin people on the plane uncomfortable, and so he had to GO.
Let's just say that he didn't take that treatment lying down, all right? Twitter was full of his anger, and rightly so. And Southwest backed down and apologized - sort of.
Now. I know that there are folks here who have had to sit next to really heavy people on airplanes, and may have felt intruded upon or cramped or uncomfortable or digusted, or as Southwest so indelicately put it in their "apology" letter to Mr. Smith, "infringed upon."
But. I have never been able to fly in a single seat in a plane. Never in my entire life. Even now, even after I've dropped somewhere between 70 and 80 pounds, Southwest's policy would still force me to buy two seats or risk not being able to go to my destination (or worse yet, get back home). Otherwise, I might "infringe on" someone's space, apparently. My husband and I went to Denver in May. That was the last time I flew anywhere. We had to buy, between us, three seats so that we wouldn't bother any of the thin people.
It was humiliating. All right? It was frigging humiliating. Nobody should be subjected to what we went through.
As a result, and sparked by things like Mr. Smith's experience this week, I've decided that I'm not going to fly again unless I have absolutely no other choice. The airlines have lost my business because this is flat-out discriminatory. And yes, a lot of heavy people could lose weight if they chose to do what we're doing. That's not the point. The point is that they don't know that, and CW is not going to help them know that, and meanwhile, they're being condescended to and jeered at and told they have no willpower because they're "morbidly obese" - or worse, that they're just like little piggies at the trough - while they struggle with 1000-calorie-per-day, low-fat, high-carb weight-loss diets that sabotage them right from the start. I'm sure that those of us who have been or still are overweight or out of shape remember those hurtful words, right? And those of us who have never been in that position? Be glad you haven't been.
I am taking a risk posting this here, I think. I mean, it's a forum for people who are either already healthy (like arthurb999, Tarlach, and DianaRenata) or people who are still getting healthy (like me, OnTheBayou, and BagLady, just to name a few). So the thought of fat people, of out-of-shape people, of the people we're trying not to be - it's probably hard to talk about or think about. And I'll admit, this post is also sparked by some of the hurtful comments made in Mark's blog post earlier today, as well as in a couple of conversations here in the forums, about fat people. And I know that a lot of the commenters on the blog posts don't necessarily come here to the forums.
But let me share a little story with you that one of the fat-activist blogs I read posted a link to today. Maybe that will give you a different perspective on this whole situation about being fat and having to fly.
It seems that Kate Harding, who is a fat-rights activist, lost her mother a while ago. Kate and two of her siblings rushed to their mother's side after her mom had a massive heart attack. Kate could afford two seats on the airplane, you see. But another of her sisters, who was morbidly obese, could not afford two seats on the airplane. So instead, she drove a thousand miles in about three days, to be with her mother as she was dying.
Do you get that? Her mother was _dying_, and in order not to inconvenience a few thinner people for a few hours, she drove for three days straight to get to her mother's bedside. Why? Because she was fat, and she might "infringe on" someone's space while she was trying to hold herself together on her way to her mother's deathbed.
Now, if that doesn't break your heart, I can't imagine what will. I know it broke mine.
I know that many of us look at fat people as disgusting, and it's easy to forget that they - we - are still people.
I'm fat. But I'm still a person, even though I'm fat. And the comments that have been made here about fat people in the last couple days have hurt me in ways that I can't even begin to describe. Not everyone has made them. But enough people have that it's made me wonder whether I should stay, since I'm still unacceptably fat.
For the record: I'm 5'10", I weigh (about) 325 pounds, and my BMI is 47 point something. By any standard, I'm still morbidly obese. I wear a 2XL t-shirt and size 52/28 jeans. I'm still one of the fatties, even though I'm Primal. And when I read someone in these forums saying "my, she is a bit of a fat biffa," or someone saying that fat dieticians have no credibility, it hurts. Like I said above, I've been helping people on this forum with cholesterol questions for six months now.
Now that you all know that I'm still one of those disgusting fatties, did my credibility just disappear?
Thanks for reading, and listening, and thinking about this. I haven't been able to reconcile my deep-seated belief that we all deserve to be treated equally, even if we aren't taking care of ourselves or are different in ways that people don't like, with the physical-fitness-(by which people mean a ripped body like Mark's)-is-everything viewpoints of some of the folks on these forums. The comments and insinuations I read about fat people here in the last couple of days really hurt, and made me decide it was time for me to speak out.
I'm just asking, please, that while you try to help people with Primal nutrition and exercise and so forth, be kind to the fat person who has to sit next to you in the airline seat, or the bus, or the train, or on the bench... because for all you know, that fat person might be me, or my husband... or a grieving woman on her way to her mother's deathbed.
Kate's story is here: http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet...fat/index.html