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  • Writer's pictureMeg

Dear Fellow Fat Folks

Dear Fellow Fat Folks,


For a long time whenever I was arguing with someone about whether fatness was inherently unhealthy I’d trot out my list of test results and health things. “See, I don’t have diabetes,” I’d say. “Look, I have low blood pressure, not high.” “Hey, my cholesterol is in a perfectly healthy range.” See? See? I’m a good fat, I’m one of the healthy ones, you shouldn’t judge my body because even though it’s big it is working just fine.


Time passed and now my body is no longer working just fine. I have diabetes, I have high blood pressure, I have high triglycerides, and I have chronic pain. The body that I used to be able to point to and use as an example of a healthy fat body is no longer anything approaching healthy.


I have become a bad fat. I’m a cautionary tale. And it is very, very lonely.


Not only am I oppressed and disenfranchised from mainstream non-fat society, I have become a second class citizen in fat society. I get looked down on for my health statuses and held up as a reason to stay thin.


I see so many of my fat siblings hurry to disavow folks like me, to distance themselves from me, to leave me behind in their mad dash up the steep hill toward acceptance. I get the message, explicit or implicit, that I am a problem and I am not going to get to the top of that hill so I should give up and go home and let the people with a chance make it.


Fuck that noise.


I have value as a fat person, as a fat diabetic, and as a bad fat. My body is glorious in all its “imperfections.” My stomach with its rolls is beautiful, my thighs are strong and meaty and perfect. My chin, no matter how double, triple, or quadruple it is sits proudly on my face and is a big fuck off to a world that rarely loves it.


My diabetes is big and complicated and messy and painful. I do not feel beautiful in my illness the way I feel beautiful in my body, but I am able to see a kind of beauty in the mess. My body is imperfect, and fragile, and strong, and nuanced, and it is all those things in part because of the diabetes.


I am stronger in allowing myself to be a bad fat.


You are strong too.


You, dear reader, are strong whether you are good or bad, sick or healthy. If you are running to the top of the hill or if you have been pushed down to the bottom you still have a great deal to offer.


If you are one of the ones making the climb, dashing up the hill, take a moment and look back at those of use you are leaving behind. We are people too. We are your fat siblings. We do not deserve to be stepped on during your ascent.


Maybe stop throwing us under the bus?


When you talk about fatness, about fat people, take pains to avoid language that plays into the idea that one must be healthy to be good and that further marginalizes those of us who aren’t healthy. Stop pointing out your own health as though it is a bargaining chip or a defense that makes your fatness palatable to the masses.


What if we didn’t feel the need to defend ourselves or bargain for our worth? What if we were able to argue for the worth and dignity of everyone without feeling like we had to justify our existence.


It is okay to be healthy. It is okay not to be healthy. It is not okay to say that healthy people are inherently better than unhealthy people.


Good fats of the world, stop stepping on the bad fats as you try to climb into a better societal position. It hurts us, you are hurting us.


You are hurting me.


Please stop.


Love and solidarity,


Meg


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