Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things That My Body Is Not

My body is not a disease. You can't catch "fat" by being in my immediate vicinity.

My body is not a moral battle. I am not evil because I am fat. Neither can I be made a saint by becoming thin.

My body is not an indication of laziness or stupidity. I work hard when I've got work to do, and although I'm no Einstein, my intelligence is at an average—or perhaps slightly above average—level. My memory is so good that it's actually a bit of a running joke among those who know me best; I'm very good at memorizing music, and I'm often able to remember details that other people have long since forgotten.

My body is not disconnected from my mind. I know how much space it takes up, and I inhabit that space proudly.

My body is not unhealthy. My resting heart rate is in the low 60's and my blood pressure is also relatively low at 120/70 at my last reading. I have a brisk walking pace, and I am perfectly capable of singing in a clear, strong voice even after running up a flight of stairs. I may not be able to run a marathon, but my body does what it needs to do, and it does it very well.

My body is not an indication of the state of my soul. My extra adipose tissue does not signify gluttony, nor is it an abomination that should be removed from the "temple of the soul".

My body is not thin. Both because of my bone structure and my inability to shrink fat cells past a certain point, even if I only ate a small amount every other day I probably would never make it down to anything less than a size 12. Even that might be stretching it a bit.

My body is not weak. I grew up around horses, and that means a lot of heavy lifting, especially as I got older. Hay bales, large buckets of water, big bags of horse feed and shovels full of manure—to say nothing of actually having to push heavy wheelbarrows full of said manure—gave me some rather impressive musculature, especially for a fat girl, and even though my equine days are long since past, I still do enough heavy lifting that I am as strong as I ever was.

My body is not ugly. Not everybody has the same aesthetic preferences, and I happen to think that my body is, if not beautiful, then at least fairly interesting. Those who have dared to openly agree with me may be relatively few in number, but then, who wants to be with someone who only values them for their physical appeal, anyway? I certainly don't.

My body is not perfect—nor would I wish it to be. Some of its imperfections even mean slightly increased comfort; I survive the nearly six-month winters of my home province much more easily than my thin peers, and once the weather gets hot, I'm able to swim sooner and longer than people of a more socially acceptable size because I retain body heat better than they do. I also find that my size is a surprisingly accurate jerk detector—I've rarely had to wonder if someone found me attractive, and the people who don't will often tend to make their views known in such a way that I don't particularly feel motivated to impress them.

And most of all, my body is not anybody's business but mine. I don't want unsolicited diet advice from total strangers. It isn't up to anyone else to point out that I'm fat, as if the fact that I can't buy skirts, slacks, jeans, dresses or underwear in a "normal-people store" (unless said store is Value Village, and even then the selection's pretty dodgy) wasn't enough of a clue—perhaps they think that the fact that I can buy bras and (some) shirts in regular stores would throw me off the scent. Even if it did, the slightly tight fit of the seats in the local community theatre centre would be more than sufficient proof of the expanse of my backside. Any health issues I may or may not have are not suddenly made appropriate for public discussion by the size of my body. I am neither an advertisement nor an argument for the wider availability of bariatric butchery surgery, dangerous weight-loss drugs or fad diets. I am not an example of what's wrong with this country, and it is not OK to mock me for purchasing ice cream, driving a car or ordering anything but a small salad at a restaurant.

My body is my business only, and anyone who thinks that my size is an adequate excuse to discuss it in detail or rail at me for decisions they don't actually know that I've made is not only ignorant in the extreme, but unforgivably rude as well.

(Inspired by a video that was—quite rightly, in my opinion—absolutely torn apart at Womanist Musings.)

No comments:

Post a Comment