Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Had a Dream

I dreamed last night that I went to a weight loss website (and folks, that right there proves I was dreaming, because as a fan of my own sanity I stay away from them like I stay away from sites dedicated to kicking puppies) and right there - on their front page - was a big article on abuse. An article on taking control and not allowing anyone to abuse you. Helpful links and advice on where to go if abuse had already occurred. I remind you, my friends, that this was only a dream. If it was real, I would be signed up for their service, providing links, and offering to pay THEM to advertise in my sidebar.

No, it was a dream alright.

It was a dream because all you have to do - in January - is turn on your TV, or walk into the grocery store, or - hell - have a conversation with your friends to determine that abusing the sort of folks who might benefit from a visit to a weight loss website is not only acceptable but encouraged. In a society where perfectly average sized women complain about their weight and are encouraged to be thinner, you aren't likely to find what I found in my dream - a place that will help one lose weight if one needs or wants to, but in the meantime informs them that it is NOT ok for them to accept abuse - neither physical nor emotional.

No, that was a dream alright.

It was a dream, because we expect abuse from others, those of us who are bigger than what society dictates as acceptable. We feel like we deserve it. We walk with our heads down and try to be as unobtrusive as big people can be to avoid looks and comments. We try to be invisible when we go out, if we go out at all. We know we incite fear and disgust. Disgust with what we are and fear that 'something like that could happen to me' (usually followed by the comforting thought, 'I would NEVER let something like that happen to me'). We expect it. We try to avoid it, but when it comes we blame the abused rather than the abuser.

Yep, it was a dream alright.

It was a dream because we're encouraged to abuse ourselves. We're barraged with commercials and products - particularly at this time of year - that remind us that we're disgusting and unworthy, but with a lot of money from us and a little help from them we can be acceptable once again. Oh happy day. Sellers of false hope like Jillian Michaels, Special K, and Nutri-System can collectively kiss my fat white ass. There's plenty of room.

Now here's a little meta-blogging for ya: as I was reading this post over, the rant about the TV and grocery stores and conversations rang familiar in my ears. I went to my archives and found this: Battling the Two-Headed Beast - written last year in - what do you know? Early January. 'Tis the season.

But I had a dream...

A dream where people were encouraged to be who they are - right now - not who they could be if they bought the right product or plan. A dream where healthy people come in all shapes and sizes. A dream where designers at all price points made lovely, flattering clothes for women with all body types. A dream where it was no more ok to abuse someone because of their weight than it would be to abuse them because of their race, religion or creed (for the record, I do know that people are still abused on all three of those counts, but it is not societally acceptable and certainly not societally encouraged).

I had a dream. It's still early. I wonder if I could still get back to sleep?


Sandy said...

You are so awesome. As I age, I think I'm getting over some of this, but when I'm really honest with myself, I realize I am only half-way there. Maybe in the next 50 years I'll get it right.

JennyMac said...

A dream where people were encouraged to be who they are - right now - not who they could be if they bought the right product or plan

this is an awesome part of the dream and I hope it becomes reality for everyone.

BONNIE K said...

I subscribe to a series of Broadway shows, and we used to have this older couple sitting next to us. One show, I brought my friend cause my husband couldn't go. And the lady next to me saw someone she knew sitting several rows ahead of us. And she said "OMG, look at her - how could she let herself get like that?" And I'm kicking my friend, cause neither of us are thin or normal weight people. And we laughed, but it put a damper on the show, cause that lady weighed pretty much what we did!

M said...

It's so sad how society has programmed us women to think and feel that one certain body shape is more acceptable than another, especially since we're all built so differently. It's also sad that we have to struggle so much just to feel beautiful, especially after giving birth, which is when we should feel our most attractive. I mean, shit, we just BROUGHT LIFE INTO THE WORLD!! How is that not representative of beauty?! But no, everyone just wants to focus on our stretch marks and our fat asses. Women have been giving birth and gaining weight for centuries, and, believe it or not, it was once considered beautiful! Check this out and then tell me how much times have changed:
Oh, that we could have lived then, right?!
You rock Tammy! Great post!
M :)

Allyson said...

Well first of all, Jillian Michaels is CRAZY. I mean bat-sh!* crazy. WHO works someone so hard that their hip joint shatters during a workout?? That shouldn't happen during a workout...that COULD happen during a major car accident. Anyway, it IS that time of year where Weight Watchers and Nutri System and Valerie Bertinelli start barraging our TV screens. My only defense is to know that I eat and exercise to make things better on the inside. To hell with what people think of my "overweight" body. I know that I could run longer than they can, I can last through a yoga class without collapsing and I can make a mean egg-white quiche. It's not about who's a size 2 when they's about who can have the best quality of life. And sometimes...that means having a piece of birthday cake, darn it!

Unknown said...

Tammy, your post brought tears to my eyes! I've struggled with my weight for years and I couldn't agree with your post more. Too bad the rest of the world doesn't get it!

Mike said...

It is all in how we view ourselves. I have always been insecure about my size, but what about people like John Goodman, or Chris Farley? They are(were) admired and loved and had no problem getting up in front of people and being the center of attention. They basically said, "Hey, I am fat, live with it!"

It is all in our perceptions of ourselves. Those guys are so much bigger than me, yet I am the one who is self conscious.

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

WOW-So very true!

I think every woman no matter what the weight of body shape is...Is beautiful. We need to focus on what is in the inside.

Great post!

InspiredDreamer said...

Great post!! I love not having TV any more (long story) because I don't have to worry about the barrage of weight-loss commercials. But it certainly would be good to know that when people look at me they don't see the size of my body but the quality of my character. :)

Mama-Face said...

Terrific post, Tammy, as usual. I often wonder if the reason why some of the friendships I've made through blogging happened because I am so much less self conscious over the way I look.

Many years ago I was one of those people who looked at others and said things like, "how could they let themselves get to that point...I know I never would."

What goes around comes around. I lost quite a bit of weight about 5 years ago and suddenly I had people telling me how great I looked-so what was I before? A monster? Now I'm gaining the weight back and it literally keeps me awake at night. And that is just wrong. The biggest critic have had to face is my mother; I had to tell her to back off at one point.

I tell myself I don't care and it's just a lie. As you so often do, you've touched a raw nerve in me...sorry for the post in a comment.

I love this line...they "can kiss my fat white ass". Amen.

Traci said...

I would stand in Washington D.C. for you to speak that dream to the masses because you are right. I especially hate the Special K commercials because they use perfectly normal women without any weight problem at all and make them "fat" (the women covers up the scale squealing or worse... her rear gets stuck in a chair -- who thought that was cute?)

And while we're at it -- can we add aging creams advertised by twenty year olds? Airbrushed, no less? I dream with you, Tammy. I dream of a place where women feel valued, precious, and beautiful no matter weight, age, or size of pores.

So dream on, Tammy. Some of us are listening and we are dreaming too!

Okay, maybe I got a little out of control there but you got me excited! :-)

Unknown said...

Tammy, so well written. I think the image we covet of skinny is unreal. I also know as a very obese woman that my life style is unhealthy and not good for me, it's a huge battle and honestly, I want to weigh less for me, not for anyone else. Sure I know people look at me and think I'm lazy and fat, sure I know they suspect all I do is eat all day, and while none of that is really true, I do admit that I'm sedentary and I eat too much of the wrong foods.
Our society is makes the huge % of us with real weight and health problems feel awful,and most of the time it offers no real support to change.
The change is within.....not that I've found it yet.....I struggle to find it, and yet I've quit beating myself up about it.
Thank you for it!!

Unknown said...

Tammy! I'm glad you posted this. I am trying to convey to my daughter that at age 15 and 5'6" weighing 124 lbs is absolutely normal and acceptable. She is now skipping breakfasts and lunches and I'm at my wit's end. However, when I was in my 20's I suffered severe anorexia and bulemia. I am so hoping I can put a stop to this legacy! My husband and I give her nothing but positive reinforcement and to have this attitude still prevail is quite disheartening. God bless you!

gayle said...

Great post!! One that I need to read again and again!!

Macey said...

JennyMac's favorite part is my favorite part too! I should print this one. So true. :/

Mandy said...

This sounds like a heavenly place. I hope I can join you in this dream. Or maybe we could just work together to make it a reality? :-)

New Year, New (but still sassy) Attitude, New Tammy! Great Scott, I love it!

Tracie said...

I want to go to there.

I hope your New Year is fabulous! (just like you!)

Pam said...

I have to admit that I am guilty of this negative self-talk. I've been beating myself up about losing a few pounds for.. well, forever. I do feel motivated to get back to eating better and exercising again. I know I will feel better physically if I get back on track. And I will feel better emotionally if I stop beating myself up. Ugh! Another great post!

MaryRC said...

i gave up on the dieting forever ago. when i diet i gain weight and get sick. im not big but im not a skinny minnie either. trust me i work with them. im always the fatso in the room at a size 8 (on a good day but usually a 10). for me its not about the weight, because beauties come in all shapes and sizes. i cant count the times ive ventured out to the grocery store and bought a bunch o food and thrown it all out a week later. im over it.
love your dream. :)

Betty Manousos said...

Tammy, I have struggled with my weight for years, too.And i totally relate to your post. Great post!
hugs hugs

Rosa said...

Amen, Sister!