itsallovernow: (No-Kerne)
[personal profile] itsallovernow
I've been working on a series of essays, one of which turned into a rant against those people who inevitably post on any article that suggests being overweight is not a sin against humanity about how it is "IN FACT A SIN AGAINST HUMANITY YOU EVIL PEOPLE LACK DISCIPLINE AND ARE A DRAIN ON DECENT SOCIETY."

I know it's pointless to rage about them. It just...I hate being told what to do. And I hate, and have always hated, the idea that ANYONE thinks they have a right to an opinion on my body and my choices, if those choices don't effect other people. There's something about the tone of those folks that makes me insane in a different way than the normal ignorant, opinionated assholes do. It's that feeling of...the superiority of the disciplined, I suppose. The "I don't overeat, or indulge, and I exercise, how freaking hard is that?" smug superiority of those who think that its a justification to be an asshole about someone else, the last vestige of allowed judgement. It's old ground, but it never fails to boil my blood.

As a writing exercise, however, it's ending up more rant than exploration, and then becomes equally pointless. I can only say "fuck them in their fucking face" so many times before it lacks impact. And possibly couth.

Our relationships to our bodies are so complicated - the love and hate, the acceptance and rejection, and while I don't think that men have it any easier, there is the doubly challenging feeling as a woman (for me as a tall woman in addition) of feeling like I take up too much space. Like I'm somehow using more resources with those extra inches. Writing about those feelings is equally complicated - there are so many layers of identity and identification, wanting to always side with those being oppressed, decried but never wanting to be completely identified with them, and the shame in that dichotomy. The work it takes to acknowledge that shame, identify those feelings, and boot them out the door.

Which is to say that I'm back-burnering that essay for awhile to finish the sports vs. sports narrative piece*, particularly appropriate as football season has started and my husband has literal dreams of the Eagles finishing well this season and sinks into depression at their defeats, and I look at him in bafflement and then conjuring up the feeling of a terrible episode or a recent cancellation and remember that sports fans are people too.

*Sadly, the sports piece desperately underutilizes the word fuck. It's like it's not even my writing.

Date: 2013-09-16 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
sports fans are people too

I suppose, but I am mystified.

With you 100% on the rant.

Date: 2013-09-17 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Think of their fandoms as involving a lot more person to person contact:)

Date: 2013-09-17 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I turned into a Sports Fan last year, and I'm still a person! And man, my chosen team had a narrative so good and improbable last season it felt like someone was actually scripting it at times. (The narrative is less enjoyable this year but feels no less scripted; this is obviously the dark part of the heroes' journey.) Hit me up if you have questions. :)

Date: 2013-09-17 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your team did indeed have a remarkable narrative last season:) Mostly the essay is about my love for the stories inspired by sports, and my anxiety at being a sports fan.

Date: 2013-09-17 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My pet theory is that the American cultural narratives of bootstrapping and self-improvement have an inevitable dark side that indeed any problem that lingers can be classified as a lack of motivation or discipline. It's the "Not my problem" invisibility drive. Weight is simply the latest fashion we clothe that tension in, because unlike religion or economics or education or many other dresses it can wear, weight still has the veneer of science to it.

The thing is, if you look at the scientific evidence, weight is 1. not a terribly useful marker for current health or health prognosis 2. the result of a ton of factors including sleep, stress, pollutants, epigenetic effects, medications, civic planning, farm bill subsidies, shitty dietary advice from the 70's onward, etc 3. difficult to treat even for a highly motivated and self-disciplined person under medical guidance without making it worse.

But it's certainly easy to spot someone who isn't an aerodynamic shape, and rank them accordingly.

You know what's a drain on decent society? People giving a shit about their pants size or the 'last ten pounds' or being shamed for the square footage they occupy. But damned if I don't also think those thoughts every fucking day myself.

Date: 2013-09-17 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"You know what's a drain on decent society? People giving a shit about their pants size or the 'last ten pounds' or being shamed for the square footage they occupy. But damned if I don't also think those thoughts every fucking day myself."

It's a never ending cycle, isn't it. Sigh.

The thing is, I know the parts of my choices that are unhealthy, and the parts that are indulgence, and the parts that are fine. It's worrying about the physical manifestation that pisses me off.

Date: 2013-09-17 03:08 am (UTC)
wendelah1: (Scully working at her laptop computer)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I'm married to a man who is a Bruin (UCLA fan) and a Lakers' basketball fan. Not only is my son a sports fan, he's also a jock, which, given the utter lack of athletic ability bequeathed from his parents, came as a bit of a shock. But, yeah, sports fans are just as devoted to their teams, perhaps even more so than media fans who seem comparatively fickle to me. If the Angels have a bad year, my son doesn't stop rooting for them. My husband will always be a Bruin. He'll watch every sport that's televised, from men's gymnastics to women's basketball. I, on the other hand, have gone from loving a series so much I'm buying the dvds for all of my friends and family to loathing it and never looking back, in the space of half a season.

I don't understand why you're having trouble working the word fuck into your essay. It works as a noun, a verb, an adjective...

Date: 2013-09-17 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I still like the ST:TOS I grew up on, but that's a complicated and fragile thing compared to the abiding unrequited love of a Detroit Lions fan.

Date: 2013-09-17 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Exactly - the multi-generational passion for a team is another factor that mimics media fandom, and the feeling of utter betrayal backed by the reset that every season brings. It's a wild and wondrous thing.

Date: 2013-09-17 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your rant is most welcome. I'm in a situation right now where, generally, the people who go into my field are fit and obsessed with everything that goes into their body and pretty damn obsessed with everything that goes into my body and not cool with what they see. I'm wrestling constantly with doubt as to weather I can effective as a midwife and not be an excellent example of what I need my clients to be if they're going to be able to stay in my care. Having people judging me based on my size, relative lack of perfect health (though the fittest people in my class were the ones that got sick first so this cold I have I blame on them. ;)) has been a blast, let me tell ya.

Couple that with the fact that I'm apparently not allowed to say anything negative myself about my body and I'm pretty much just wanting to pull out my hair half the days. I wrestle with the fact that I do, physically take up more space and I do, physically, have crappy knees (made that way, not so much because of my weight, but because my right knee got kicked out by a patient 10 years ago and I didn't have the money to get it fixed, and then my left knee got jacked trying to compensate.

And now I'm using your page to make excuses for my issues. But, yeah...word. Just. Word.

Date: 2013-09-17 04:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Barb is a midwife in San Diego who writes eloquently, and I've been reading her for eight years. She has also struggled with weight, and written some amazing things about health, perception, and professionalism--both personally and about her field. I cannot recommend her enough, and would even venture to say that asking her for an informational interview may be worth your while.

Date: 2013-09-17 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the link! She really, really seems to be down on CPMs, though, so I'm not really sure how much I'll enjoy it. I may try and skip those parts to get to the stuff that I would personally benefit from.

Date: 2013-09-17 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To be fair, her current stance on CPMs comes from a long history with her local community of practitioners and after a bloody struggle to move said community closer to a kind of due-diligence and science-based professionalism that would be the best of both worlds, and closer to a European model of midwifery--as a direct entry midwife who had also birthed unassisted herself, there's a lot of thought and soul-searching in the road she's travelled to where she stands now.

Fascinating reading, but no doubt harrowing to experience. What I love about Barb is that she's not afraid to lay it all out as she sees it, and to refine as she ponders or gets more info.

Date: 2013-09-17 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
After the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup a few years ago, M. sank to his knees and started sobbing in the middle of a very crowded, very loud sports bar on Canal St. in Boston. A random stranger looked at him and said to me, "I have never been that emotional about anything in my entire life." I replied, "Yeah, and I get to live with that." So yeah. sports fans. They're people. I'd rather his fandom came with less violence and destruction and swearing at the top of his lungs, though...

Re: bodies; I was just having a conversation with a friend about being weighed at the doctor's office. I've gone many times and had nurses seem apologetic when they read my weight off, or offer to take it again. Sometimes they ask me if that seems about right, like they're checking with me to make sure it's ok. They seem baffled when I shrug and say that I haven't the faintest idea what I weigh on a day to day basis. I'm of a fairly average weight for my height, perhaps a bit above, but I also ride and do barn work 5-6 days a week so as far as I'm concerned the more muscle weight the better. And yet, they seem determined to help me feel bad about my weight. It drives me crazy.

Date: 2013-09-17 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unless I think something is deeply wrong with me, I won't be weighed at the doctor's office, for similar reasons. I may not know what I weigh, but I know if I'm somehow way over or under the average for my norm. I don't need their scrutiny.

And yeah, my husband's love of sports is simply a lot...louder than my fannishness. We've been working on explaining fan fiction to him lately which either ends in his desire to write something absurd, or his bafflement:) Now he knows how I feel!

Date: 2013-09-18 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I feel that "taking up too much space" thing constantly -- and I'm short! So rant away -- I'm with you. {{{Thea}}}


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