My new years resolution this year was to unfollow people who post about their diets on social media. It is going so well. I feel lighter, happier and less anxious. I don't feel guilty.
'Look how much weight I've lo-' *UNFOLLOWS*
'Been at the gym since 6am #eatcle-' *UNFOLLOWS*
'Look at this Jamie Oliver article about how poor people are fat and stupi-' *UNFOLLOWS*
Why am I doing this?
-It took me years to unlearn the idea that it's okay to judge other people's bodies. (FYI- you should never criticise people's bodies in the street, especially not around children)
-It took me years to learn that I do not deserve to be judged, ridiculed or bullied for my body. (Because of the normalised aforementioned public shaming I'd witnessed)
-It's an daily fight to treat my fat disabled body with compassion & love rather than hatred and fear.
-Some of us don't have have a middle ground to rest on. Diets lead us to crying over orange segments because we don't know exactly how many calories are in one. They damage our health even whilst making us look thinner.
Unfollowing people who aren't there yet isn't me not liking other people's desire to look or feel a certain way, it's me not being up for reading about how they strain their bodies to get there. Lets be honest, lots of people (even fat people) get feelings of superiority when restricting their food. Judgement becomes second nature and rather than making subjective reasonable decisions about what they feel like eating- they eat a meal that they don't enjoy in order to deprive their body into losing fat. Now sat, unhappy, at a table amongst the people they love, they are preoccupied with their second salad of the day. And of course, when other people begin to tuck into carbohydrates they get annoyed and resentful and judge the choices and bodies of those around them.
I know, I've been there. And I'm not a terrible person so I know it's not just me who falls into that kind of behaviour.
In real life situations this becomes more difficult. The other day I was in a local shop buying food for a night in front of the TV with my partner (don't tell Jamie Oliver guys, we know how much he dislikes working class people having TV's and junk food). The sales assistant separated my items into two piles pushed the first towards me and said
'This is not healthy' then pushed the second towards me and said
'This is healthy'.
I know. Fuck him, right? Anyway so I'm stood there looking at this man and I see my options as
a. Challenge him by trying to convince him I am not an evil fat but a good fat.
b. Challenge him by telling him that he is wrong to lecture fat people he doesn't know about their food.
c. Do nothing.
To my shame, I picked c. He took this as an invitation to explain to me that chocolate is bad for you and whilst I frowned at him, stood in silence and stonewalled him as he patted his flat stomach and said
'Look at me, nice and thin because I don't eat so much chocolate' it struck me.
The reason the social media resolution is so beautiful and simple isn't because I'm in denial. I know who I am, what I look like & what people think. I get told (sometimes literally told) everyday all day in situations where I can't simply walk away or ignore the person telling me.
So accessing a fat shame free social media space is the least I can do to take care of myself.
This isn't selfishness.
It's self preservation.