Obesity seems to be on everyone's minds these days, and as a result, on everyone's lips, in every newspaper, on every television, pretty much everywhere else. Though I am, of course, concerned with the health of my neighbors, and the sad state of our food supply here in what is supposedly a first world country, I have been feeling a certain itch whenever the subject is brought up.
This is me. I'm not a small person, but I don't think that I am alarmingly large either. I would consider myself on the large side of medium when it comes to my figure, or maybe the small side of large. I'm not skinny, but I don't have to shop in the plus size section. I'm chesty, curvy, and big butted. I have been since I was in middle school, though in my younger days, what I considered to be fat, was actually quite a foxy figure. I would love to be as "fat" as I was then. It's boggling how diluded self image can be.
Health and happiness are important to me, so I try to stay active and to eat a healthy diet of whole foods, rich in varied vegetables and whole grains. I indulge in sweets now and then, but try to keep a cap on things like snacks, alcohol and dessert. I meditate. I use vitamins, supplements, and juices to make sure that my body has everything it needs to keep up immunity and care for itself. So, I consider myself to be fairly healthy. I could stand to excersise a litte more, and maybe lose a few pounds, but I'm hardly a victim of national obesity, at least I don't consider myself to be.
So why do these conversations on obesity rub me the wrong way? Why do news stories of overweight kids being taken from their parents unsettle me? I guess it's because the obesity issue is starting to feel to me, a little like a witch hunt. It's not illegal to be overweight, and really, it's not anyone's business if you are. I feel like our culture has begun to really villaify overweight people, and it just doesn't sit right with me. Does skipping the gym too often make me a bad person? How about eating that second cupcake? When we start to put people on a scale of worth based on their appearance, we are regressing. And really, we don't have very far to regress. It was only in this past century that Women and African Americans gained equal rights. Our culture has barely overcome racism and sexism (and by barely, I mean not even close), so it isn't a far stretch to believe that people would wholly embrace "fatism". It seems to be human nature to knock someone down so that you can feel taller.
Anyway, all of this obesity talk has left me more than a little insecure in regards to my looks. I'd like to take today's moment of gratitude to thank my body for carrying me around the way that it does. No matter how esthetically pleasing it is or isn't, it does a pretty good job, and I literally couldn't live without it.
- Thanks, body, for staying healthy, and allowing me to live another day.
- Thanks, muscles. You've carried me up mountains, across towns, and over ocean waves. Without you, my life would have been far less of an adventure.
- Thanks, guts, for fearlessly breaking down whatever I seem to throw at you. I know that not all guts can handle such a wide variety of things, and I'm grateful that you can.
- Thanks bones, for remaining unbroken despite my clumsiness. (Except for you, right index toe, you need to get with the program.)
- Thanks, hands. I could never express my gratitude for you, nor could I list the things you've made, or the times you have spoken for me on keyboards, pianos, or in simple gestures. Please know that I treasure every finger, despite my apparent efforts to cut or burn them all off.
- Thanks, eyes, for allowing me to experience the beauty that is all around me.
- Thanks, ears. If music is the food of the soul, you've fed me well.
- Thanks, mouth. You've been a source of trouble as much as pleasure, and I wouldn't trade you for anything.
- Thanks, head. You are a fortress of solitude, a wonderland of imagination, and a keeper of dreams, worries, and hopes. At times, I may have lost you, but only figuratively.
- Thanks, hair, for being an ever changing palette of reinvention. I've cut you, dyed you, burnt you, and knotted you up, but you keep coming back.
- Thanks, curves, for being a part of who I am. You attract some, and repel others. Sometimes you make me feel sexy. Other times you make me feel like a hot mess, but no matter my dress size, you never leave my side(s).
Times are tough, and people are looking for someone to blame. The obesity issue shouldn't be about hating fat people, it should be about taking a hard look at our nation's food culture, and it's food standards. Healthy food in schools, yes! Making education on nutrition and cooking available and affordable, yes! Raising food safety standards, yes!
Running anyone with a higher than average BMI out of town with torches and pitchforks, NO!
Be kind to each other, people, and be kind to yourselves.