This was a response I write to a community post about feeling angry when the dating world treats you differently as an obese person versus a thinner person.
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– This is far from scientific
– This is not about the person, but PARTS of their personality
– There are a lot of generalizations (i.e. what and who is attractive), but I didn’t want to make this too long with caveats every third sentence. You get the idea.
– This is NOT a judgment. I have a lot of overwight, obese, fat, etc. friends and amazing people in my life. This is about MY decision(s) and what *I* need to do with MY life.
There was an interesting quote on an episode of House (see, I told you it wasn’t scientific) wherein Dr. House states (paraphrasing, can’t find the exact quote): “You can’t be with him. 9s go with 9s, 4s go with 4s. He’s at best a 6, and you’re an 11.”
Generally speaking, one can see this in our society. We’re attracted to pretty people, fit people, because it means (a) they’re nice to look at and, more important, (b) it implies health necessary for propogation of the species. Sure, there are breaks from that standard, but it’s pretty fitting (no pun intended), nonetheless.
There is more that goes into this than just looks, and I don’t even mean general personality. The ugly truth (pun intended here) is that bad habits commiserate with bad habits. That adage about misery loving company? It applies to more than just mental issues, it applies to bad eating habits, justification of sedentary lifestyles, and all of the other destructive habits we carry as burdens, trophies, and shields. Obese people tend to have more obese friends than anyone else. Thin people have more thin friends.
My immediate family is a shining example: My father died of ill-controlled diabetes (which caused a number of mental, cardiac, renal, and opthamological issues). He was 64, Type II for 20 years or so, and did so little to control it as to cause a snowball effect. My mother has had a stroke (smoker, sedentary, refuses to go to doctors and dentists and has been like this all my life). She is 60 this year, and on the fast track to not making it to 61. My sister and BIL, older brother and my eldest SIL (who is Type I), do nothing but justify bad nutrition, bad habits, and overindulgence. They support these bad habits, this detrimental lifestyle, as if it is some kind of reward for earlier life experiences.
My ex-husband was one of them: eat crap, don’t move.
The only one of these people who support(ed) me for making good choices was my late father. Everyone else has excluded me as much as possible because, as my boss says it, “[i] am the one walking out of the smoky garage saying [i] don’t want to smoke the weed anymore.” I am now an outsider, a representative of all the things that they themselves SHOULD be doing but WILL NOT… because in each other they can find a way to accept and be accepted for not trying.
I made myself fat and, while I firmly believe that WHO a person is shouldn’t be defined by HOW they look, fat is part of who I am. Rather, who I was. They can’t be separated because ultimately, it is me that made my decisions, no one else. But I am changing that. I am emerging from that, literally and figuratively.
I *hope* that I get more attention as a thin person. I am not angry about that concept, I see it as appropriate. The WHO will no longer be hidden by the WHAT, and I will have every opportunity to expand my support network with people with good habits, good attitudes toward food, exercise, and living the life we were all meant to live.
Carrying anger or having unrealistic expectations about the reactions of others is the surest way to add another shield to the already-bulging shields that most obese people carry. Step away from that, and enjoy what you are doing. If it means more attention and more friends, great. You don’t have to abandon your old friends, it’s not about that. It’s about adding to your life and moving forward as a healthier person overall.
Christmas has come and gone. It’s sad that it couldn’t last. For the first time in a long time we had some real joy, some real happiness. Daddy was home for Christmas between trips the hospital. We had a big family breakfast, did our stockings (an event in itself, see previous posting [eeek, currently down for editing]), and traded gifts. We prepared our special Turducken dinner and were settling in for a relaxing evening with family and friends.
It was almost normal.
Ughh. That’s not fair, I admit it, as it makes it sound like Dad’s illness(es) were somehow extraordinary and new to this world. They were life changing for us, but I can acknowledge that we are a small portion of the population who have had to deal with this scenario.
As we were settling in, Daddy was rushed back to the hospital.
It’s apparent that this is becoming too much for him. He is so tired, in so much pain. He is, almost literally, half the man he used to be. He is 64 years old and looks like he is 80+. He hates that his kids have to help him move, eat, and clean up. He hates being any kind of a burden to his family and, while we would never see it that way, he was also so proud of being the provider; the role shift is too great for him.
The doctor called this morning to let us know that they had done everything they could. They could prolong his life with dialysis, but the rest was pain and symptom management, nothing more. He would never improve. She was kind, and patient, and just clinical enough to make her point: He made it clear that he did not want artificial life… and dialysis is just that for him. It is keeping him alive enough to live his days in pain – both physical and emotional – but he doesn’t really have a life. He is almost completely blind, he can barely eat, he sleeps most of the day away and rests fitfully at night. His memory and cognitive functions are compromised. He is unhappy like this. He is sick and tired of being sick and tired.
We had a family meeting after we talked to the doctor about hospice. My older brother joined us via speakerphone, and the rest of us sat at the kitchen table my Dad sat at as a child. We cried, we actually laughed, we weighed the options and realized we really only had two: prolong the pain, or release him from it.
Mom and Sis and I went to breakfast. Older Bro talked to his family. Little Bro went to work. All of us and none of us wanted to go and tell Daddy what the doctor said.
When we did get to the hospital, the hospice representative was waiting for us. The doctor called her and told her we were coming. She wanted Daddy to be with his family when she explained the doc’s position. When she did come in and introduce herself, Daddy was quiet for a few moments and then stopped her mid-sentence. “So you are saying I can choose to just go home? I can be done?” She nodded.
That was all he needed. He said, with an emphatic point of his finger, that it was exactly what he wanted; he was done fighting.
He was released from the hospital for the last time today. He is home.
And he is going to die.