Today was one of those days when subtle messages are being sent and I was able to perceive them. I have a tendency to be pretty empathic….ok, a lot empathic. It is not always good, believe me. I sense things people really do not want me to know that they are feeling. Sometimes I know what they are feeling and sometimes it is just a premonition of something coming. It is interesting how my sensory input has changed to be so much less about me and my reaction even though I still sense feelings coming off of others. Now, I know it is their feelings and I do not have to take offense or take their feelings on. There is a lot of freedom in that. It makes being uber-sensitive a lot easier to live with.
But today something kept popping up. It is a banner I truly wave. It is about acceptance of image or body acceptance. And it extends to in-general acceptance. We have a campaign going on at work about better health. I am all for being optimal in your health, whatever that means to you. But this campaign is totally setting people up for failure. It started out by making participants answer whether they had good self-esteem. It went on to categorize things that you did or did not have “esteem” about. None of them were about things that really matter. It was about weight, physical ability and food. Did you walk 1000 steps today? Were you successful in your diet? I wrote back to the committee who was soliciting comments a retort about esteem being something set up and enforced by outside resources. Esteem is not really intrinsic and sets up the person for failure. Any time you measure yourself against a matrix, you will fail. There is always someone better. I went on to talk about self-compassion over self-esteem, which I know should shock a few of you. I will save what I said for a later post.
Then tonight, I was glancing at Facebook, and there was a post about a reporter who got a nasty email from a viewer about her weight. I have watched it a 100 times. She was elegant, brilliant and righteous. It is about time we stop the abuse and prejudice against people of size…. Or of anything physically descriptive of a person when used in a derogatory comment. “She is so fat”… for example. You would not say anymore, “she is so black”. Or “she is so hair-lipped”, or “retarded” (you better not say that in front of me)….or “deformed”. But we are perfectly comfortable labeling someone of size as being fat and meaning it derogatorily. I am fat, but I am also blond, freckled and actually quite beautiful.
Then tonight I was listening to a podcast by The National Institute for the Clinical
Application of Behavioral Medicine. This was a dialogue with Daniel Amen, MD. I admit I did not know who he was and I do not want to anymore. The topic was supposed to be the difference between the male and female brain, and it was science based. I am very interested in neuroscience. I find it fascinating what the grey matter can do. This podcast started off talking about the differences in brain structure and function. He proceeded to discuss hormones and their influence on thinking and somewhere he digressed into weight. He was talking about the different impact foods have on the brains ability to process. He proclaims a high fat – high protein diet is the way to go. No carbs. But then I was beginning to realize he sells his products. (I went and Googled him. You do the same if you wish.) He then went on to say that fat people….yes FAT people have an 8% brain cell deficit……….. ohhhhhhhhhhh can you imagine how that sat with me. I am sorry DOCTOR….people lose more than that on one drink. (In truth alcohol does not kill brain cells, it damages the connections of the dendrites used for communication, but for my point I will say this.) But I kept listening and he proclaims he is the creator of the “Dinosaur Brain Theory”. He is proud of this…. He says that FAT people are like dinosaurs, big bodies, small brains. I ripped the head set off my head and wanted to go through the computer at him. Are you freaking kidding me? He is proud of this statement and “theory”. I am so sorry Doctor to tell you that being Fat and Lazy is not new, just insidiously cruel and only a reflection on how stupid you are. But this jerk is running around telling people to pop hormones and eat fat and have high cholesterol, which is all fine and dandy if you are not fat. Oh and make sure you have enough testosterone too. Yikes… I think he is a testosterone brain or more commonly known as a dick head!
There is a lot of movement being created to educate women and girls about body acceptance. I am all for it. But, I think an important piece has to start with education of everyone. It is not ok to derogatorily refer to anyone by their shape or size or physical appearance. It is ok to be who you are no matter what it is. It is not ok to make people feel bad about themselves, whatever the situation is. I would hope you would not comment on someone for example who stutters. Some would say that is different, a stutterer cannot control their stutter, a fat person can control being fat. THAT debate is for another time. AND I will welcome anyone who wants to debate it. And being fat does not automatically mean the person is lazy or over eats. I plan on returning to this topic and often. But for now, I am getting off my soapbox. Take care folks in what you say. Or even think as some people can sense the things you do not express.