Friday, August 26, 2011

Back from the Dead (or at least the seriously uncomfortable)

Hey all,

Sorry that I've been silent for about the past month.  I've been trying very hard not to cough my lungs out.  This effort has been complicated by the fact that my lungs have at various points been somewhat interested in getting out, tried to flee, and demanded egress in no uncertain terms.  This led to a lot of coughing and trying not to cough, and not much of anything else, including writing.  I'm on my second course of antibiotics, so hopefully I should be ok from now on.
Take care,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Parenting Fallacy: Why Taking Fat Kids From Their Parents Will Only Make Things Worse

The latest controversy about childhood obesity centers around whether obese children should be removed from their parents care.  The argument is as follows: "Obese children are obese because they don't exercise enough or eat too much, so taking them away from their parents and putting them in a different family environment with healthier role models should help them lose weight."

This argument makes two major assumptions that I take issue with, so I'm going to address them one at a time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Perils of Sitting

Sitting is supposed to be easy; most people never think about it.  Thin people can sit on just about anything - a barstool, a car fender, a narrow ledge.  When I sit down, it's a fraught experience.  My first concern is whether the surface will fit me.  School desks - the ones with chairs attached - are completely out of the question.  Cheap movie theater seats are pretty bad too, as are most chairs with arms.  Booths only work if the table isn't attached to the floor, and believe me there's little more humiliating than finding out you don't fit at a table after your waiter "seats" you.  Barstools are precarious unless there's something solid to put my feet on.
Once I'm seated, I'm left wondering if I'll remain that way.  A poorly built chair or stool can collapse pretty easily, as I discovered last year at a friend's party.  My boyfriend and I had just arrived.  The house was pretty full and there wasn't much seating, but there was a nice, brightly colored stool that looked pretty comfortable.  I sat down on it, and not a minute later found myself on the floor.  The hostess apologized profusely while I tried to sink into the floor.  It turned out the stool was from Ikea, whose chairs are notoriously shoddy.
This isn't just a problem because it's humiliating when something actually goes wrong, though.  It's also a logistical nightmare the rest of the time.
I'm taking a drawing class at school right now.  The seating for the class is tall, metal stools without backs.  The drawing tables we work at can work as foot rests, but balancing on a stool is still a pretty precarious activity for someone my size.  For the first couple of classes, I could barely get up on one and had to get off regularly and stretch.  Even now, when I'm more or less able to stay seated, I'm exhausted at the end of class from trying to maintain the required position.
I've faced worse than that, however.  A class I took a while ago only had desks with attached seats.  I ended up sitting on the floor for the first few classes until my Professor took pity on me and let me use his chair.
Worse than that, though, is the fact that people use this as a reason to be cruel.  I've had people who are otherwise good friends tell me I can only sit in one (uncomfortable) chair when I'm at their house because I might hurt the furniture.  I got a lot of sidways looks and muffled laughter when I was trying to find a solution to the desk problem, and I still can feel people noticing my struggles with the stool.  Ultimately, it's just another thing that separates me from everyone else.  It's another thing that I can't do, another thing that no one else understands is a struggle.  It makes me feel like I literally don't fit, which is incredibly humiliating and exhausting.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love, Friendship, and Other Natural Disasters

I've been watching a lot of Glee lately, (who wouldn't; it's girl fabulous) which has been making me think a lot about relationships and the ways that my size has influenced them, both explicitly and subtly.  This is the subject I've talked about least, the one that's hardest and most painful to explain, and so it's the one that I think I need most to delve into.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Figure Drawing: Woman in Repose

Figure drawing from a photograph.
Conte, charcoal and pastel paper.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Thoughts

People who are seriously obese are that way for a broad range of reasons. Some of these reasons are medical, some genetic, and some psychological, but all of these are generally ignored in favor of "you're just lazy".
How do I know this? When I was eight, my thyroid stopped working. Despite a family history of thyroid problems, my doctor didn't even deign to have me tested. He said that hypothyroidism was "overdiagnosed," and for the next four years I was subjected to an onslaught of dietitians and other specialists who treated me like I just wasn't trying hard enough. 
Understand, my mother was counting the grapes she put in my lunch. No healthy amount of dieting could have allowed me to lose weight; I was gaining it because my body didn't work properly. That didn't matter though. Even after I was diagnosed, I never got an apology from anyone involved. They felt they were right to treat me the way they did; after all, I was fat, so I was clearly doing something wrong.

What This is All About

I've never really considered writing a blog before.  I never felt I had anything important to add to the flood of memes and counter-memes that pours ceaselessly through the internet.  However, recently I found a reason not only to tell my own story, but also to ask to hear yours.