Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Humilation of Being Obese

I wanted to write for a moment about the humiliation of being obese. It is horrendous. So embarrassing, the things we go through on a daily basis due to our fat. Yet it is not enough to make us stop eating. As a matter of fact, these events often have the exact opposite effect: they precipitate a binge.

Is it not enough that every time I get up, I hurt? My joints ache and I have to hobble for a few minutes until my joints "loosen up." Is it not enough that even my "fat pants" are snug on me? Is it not enough that when I try to sit down to use the toilet, I have to use my arms to brace myself, holding onto a sink or a wall or whatever is nearby, so that I can slowly lower myself to a seated position without hurting my knees or crashing down and making a ruckus or breaking the toilet seat? No, all these private humiliations are not enough. Have to have those public humiliations too.

This spring, I was doing my on-again off-again "dieting" and during an "off" day, my son had a baseball game. Of course there was a concession stand, so there I was in all my glory, plopped into my lawn chair which is rated to hold 275 pounds, shoving down my THIRD hot dog. Yes I was doing this IN FRONT of all the other moms and kids, in front of the opposing team's parents. I did not care who saw. I WANTED the hot dogs. I was pretending I was skinny so no one could shake their head and stare at me. As I was inhaling that third dog, jaws a-floppin' and triple chins flailing in the breeze, my chair broke out from under me. After I pryed myself out of its wreckage and hauled myself to an upright position, I finished my hot dog, and then I had to stand for the rest of the game. I think I managed to eat some ice cream when I got home, though. (Do you think it didn't hurt? Not physically. Emotionally. Do you think I was not crying and sobbing on the inside from sheer embarrassment? I was. But I had to pretend I was skinny and the chair was defective. I had to act like it was just a fluke, finish my dog, and smile and try to be normal. As if no one knew. I had to try not to imagine what everyone else was thinking. It was just too painful).

There are the times I went on fair rides with my kids, and when the operator came to put the bar down, he just smirked and me and SLAMMED the bar down in front of me, knocking the wind out of me and nearly cutting my fat in two. I remember the horror of knowing I was latched in but my fat was pressing against the bar SO HARD that I was afraid it would come off mid-ride and I would end up one of those headlines, "Fat Woman and her Child Fall to their Deaths from Ride; Safety Bar Presumed Faulty." When the ride was over I was sick with fear and sick from being compressed into a space 8 inches too small for me. The carnie chuckled on his cigarette when the ride came to a stop and the bars were released and mine poinged off like a rifle shot. I have not ridden with my kids since.

There are the times people have asked when the baby is due (they look puzzled when I answer, "two years ago.") The times I needed to catch a ride with a friend and broke out in a sweat and almost had a panic attack when I realised that their seat belt might not be big enough (I have ridden many miles strapped in so tight I thought the belt would break or I would pass out from inability to breathe). The time I went to the museum and thought about going on a submarine tour and then saw a large metal plate with a hole in it and a big sign: "You MUST be able to get through this hole unassisted to go on the tour." Um, No. I am NOT going to go in front of everyone and try to squish myself through that hole. (Got anything I can grease it with?) Better to realise it then, than to pay for the tour and try to get on the submarine and get stuck in the entry hole, I guess...

I have a lot of reasons I want to lose this weight, but one of the biggest ones is, I want to be proud of myself. I am tired of being ashamed. It just has to stop.

8 comments:

Groovybabe said...

Weightloss is there for the taking, believe me. I was 266lbs when I started this two months ago and I am now 237lbs. The reason I have done so well is that I have been absolutely dedicated to it. You just have to be. But I tried many many times before and failed. This was a last ditch attempt before I resort to WLS. Good luck with your journey. Check by my journal as it may help keep you inspired, a lot of people have been telling me I am inspirational anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hello I just found your blog.I find your willingness to share such honest comments an inspiration. If I can find this blog again (very new at this)I will read it daily. I am going to look for Lara Bars
Thank you
Anon

lasserday said...

thank you for blogging. i am a new dedicated reader. :)

new*me said...

This is a great post and one I could really relate to! I remember that humiliation. I hated going to my kids school because I could see the pitying looks. I hated how I couldn't control my breathing, how much pain it was to pick up things off the ground, the uncomfortable feeling around my waist when EVERYTHING was too small. When a size 24 was tight, I was humiliated beyond tears.

At 221, I feel so much better. SURE, I have about 60 more lbs to lose but I could live at this weight because I can move, breathe and I am eating well. My tests are all normal now for the most part. I want to lose more but if I never lose another lb, I live with the accomplishment of NEVER feeling that humiliation again.

I hope everyone reads this post and sees how far you have come and how many you have inspired along the way.

~TMcGee~ said...

Powerful post, Lyn. I'm so glad you aren't "there" anymore, you keep plugging along, lady. :-) You are going to get to goal and stay there.

A woman in transition... said...

I read this because of the link in your new blog. I'm bawling. I know how you felt...the same way I feel. It's hard as hell.

327 said...

I can so relate ....I have tried and failed and even had success a time or two but illness or other life interrupters have regressed to a place worse then before!!!! Now I am fatter then when I felt fat( ya gotta be fat to get that). There are so many stories of humiliation and cruelty I can share...I am not unattractive lazy or unclean and I do have a sense of style. I do fell I have to make double the effort because there are so many stereotypes. I so want to change but sometimes it feels so daunting.....Today I was so humiliated at work I cried the whole way home. Recently they redid the office I work for. I am at the front desk.They ordered a new chair a big n tall chair for my station...The chair I had was fine but old. Everyone was saying hey u got a new chair..I said no I was in aware of the order or the delivery!! Turns out it was for me; the humiliating part was that it said big n tall on the box and thats how they all knew it was mine, I was mortified.I tried to keep a brave face.My manager claimed she wanted me to be comfortable....I wasnt uncomfortable the chair I had was fine.I express this to manager -she offers to return it. BUT the damage was done....when you are fat you are ever (self)conscious you surly don't need anyone to point out your shame! For the 1st hr or 2 I wouldnt even sit in it. She thought I didnt like it which is why she offered to return it. I told her no its as good a chair as any and it would be fine. Honestly, I was chocking back the tears. Humiliated just humiliated!!!

Anonymous said...

Like many others, I just came across your blog, and even though it is many years later, I have started at the beginning. That is where I am, 300 lbs of pure humiliation and shame. I have often wanted to write a book about what it is REALLY like to be morbidly obese and have notes written for it. Like when walking down a hallway and people move to the side and squish up against the wall to give me enough room to pass. I completely understand the need to pretend to be OK with it (broken chairs....keep eating....must've been the chair) and that the only thing that feels like it will help is to binge alone. Thank you for being so REAL in your writing.