I think this is really potent. Because one of the layers in the meaning of this sentence that I hear is that “Your fat offends my delicate sensitivities and YOU have to fix it so that I feel better.” Having been on the receiving end of that from my father, mother, brother, strangers during all the years that I spent large and largely feeling like a piece of shit already, this was just kerosene on the fire. For people for whom there are conditions that absolutely, positively resist any and all efforts, wearing this like the proverbial albatross necklace is like a death sentence. It often is. I nearly committed suicide repeatedly.
Accepting fat, large, obese or any other kind of body that doesn’t align with an air brushed norm is, for our society, an act of personal responsibility. For, to my mind, if I am willing to embrace that fat as a right to exist next to thin, or muscled, or anything else, I have to make room for people. They have a right to exist, breathe, and yes, eat, thank you. For obesity doesn’t mean they can’t cure cancer or write magnificent novels or add value in a thousand other ways. Fat doesn’t obscure one’s humanity. Or gifts.
I spent plenty of years big. That I was able to lose does not make me a saint, a better person, more talented, or any other damned thing. It simply means that I was able to do with my body what some can’t. This isn’t about won’t. It’s about can’t, to your point. I have also studied fat, and in doing so it has tempered and changed all the misinformation I used to believe, especially, that obesity is all about laziness. I wasn’t lazy when I was fat. I worked my ass off. Being fat made no difference in the quality of my work, just the way I felt about my body. I wore shame like a hair shirt.
The mindless, puerile rantings of those who have never walked in the shoes of a fat person are just that: rantings. It’s not my place to tell you to ignore her. That’s your path. The problem is that you are dealing with legions.
I love your writing. It has often slapped me hard in the face and forced me to go back and rewrite an article to make it more responsible and sensitive. That is a gift, Shannon. You are a gift. Nobody can take that away from you.