Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

... and the buffalo jumped over the moon

Fiber, then seriousness.
Steeler Sock one of four has turned the heel and is coming down the homestretch. I just completed the gusset-i've been working on this less than four days. Mostly on the bus and breaks at work. Buddha approves.
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Yes, this is a different ball of baby alpaca. I don't want to talk about what happened to the other one. Suffice it to say, it's waiting until I'm ready to work with it. In the meantime, this one is on larger needles, with the same lace pattern. I am hoping it will make a nice gift for my mother.
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In other news, my Local Yarn Store is now carrying Koigu. Koigu is the caviar of sock yarn, for those who do not know. Pictures do not do it justice, only touching it will, but here is a lovely portrait of hand dyed merino goodness.
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Serious Ranting Ahead-be warned.
An ad for Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield runs here pretty regularly.

"I was getting pretty big. My coach was worried, my parents were worried... I was ... pretty big. I didn't like getting my picture taken."
A red-haired moppet, about ten, eleven years old, runs across a soccer field.
"Then I got help. My doctor is helping, the school is helping... "
Said moppet runs into the loving, accepting embrace of her teammates, crunching an apple joyfully.
"I love my team picture now! I'm not big in it!"
Congratulations, you've just given this child a lifelong eating disorder. You've just condemned her to judging herself first by her size, and by everything else next.

I object enough to the use of the word "big" in this ad. When a boy is "big", that's a good thing. A boy is supposed to be Big. Big is manly. Big is good! A girl, however, is not allowed to be Big. Being Big equals instant ostracism for a little girl, according to this ad, by implication, she would not have the love of her teammates had she remained Big. Now that she is Small, delicate and girl-like, everyone loves her.

Just say she was getting fat, for crying out loud. And be done with it. It's not the end of the world.

Highmark, you have perpetuated evil by two things. The first thing is that this child who was probably (in her ficticious life) perfectly happy, active, and healthy, will now have an obsession with being small. A girl subject to this perception will almost certainly have lifelong self-esteem issues, which may include eating disorders, cutting behaviors, depression, acting out. The second evil that you have perpetuated is the "gender sizing" myth. Only Men can be Big. Men can be Huge. Men can be Gigantic. That's Manly, right? Women, however, cannot be Big, or they are not women. Women must be small, frail, delicate, childlike. Strength, Bigness, are not allowed.

Fuck you very much, Highmark.

Being a slightly overweight child is difficult. I remember. When I was little, I was a "big" for my size. I remember what they said to me.

"you're getting as big as the side of a barn!"

"Slow down, nobody's going to take it away from you!"

"Oh, what a fat, jolly child!"

Being a fat adult woman is hell. It is a worse hell than it needed to be because I was told these things as a small child. I was not grossly fat. I was chubby. My family is all slightly chubby. If they'd left me alone, let me grow up and be active and not allowed me to think I was this enormous, elephantine thing, perhaps I wouldn't be like this now.

Or perhaps I would.

It's easy to look for something external to blame for your problems. But it probably didn't help. I look at old pictures, from grade school and into high school, and I was overweight, yes, but an overweight I'd be overjoyed to be, now. I wasn't sideshow freak fat like I am now. I wasn't immobilized fat like I am now. I wasn't edema, arthritis, joint pain, high blood pressure, varicose veins fat like I am now. I wasn't every waking moment in pain, physically, and usually mentally and emotionally. I was then, as now, consumed with self-loathing and I did some very stupid things, then, to be thin and waiflike, and girlish. I am old enough now to know that the stupid things are stupid and I will not do them. But what am I to do? I am sick, now, with this fat. I'm sick, inside and out. I loathe looking at myself in the mirror. I don't like going out in public. I am angry that a wonderful companion and friend like my husband is stuck with a carnival fat lady as a spouse.

Note that I am not placing responsibility on my family or my upbringing or any external thing for my weight. I am responsible for it. I did this to myself. The motivation doesn't matter. The fact is that it was, maybe for a while anyway, something I could have controlled. I chose to lose control.

One of the things I'm being screened for is Cushing's Syndrome. Two of the symptoms are "buffalo hump" and "moon face". Could they possibly make it sound any more appealing? Appalling. Cushing's is caused by consistent elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It makes you gain weight in your belly, and on your upper back in a hump. It's no less disgusting to think that maybe a disease did this to me than just a case of sloth and greediness. Either way, there it is. Either way, I'm grotesque.

No, wait.

Make that Big.

If I find out that I am well, I will lose just enough weight to make myself happy, and the hell with what anyone else thinks. And if I ever see that red-haired moppet, I'm going to show her that it's ok to be Big.

1 comment:

irisdragonfly said...

mgn and i LOVE that commercial SPECIFICALLY bc she says "big" in it- she sounds like she has a book stuck under her chin- or maybe it was because she was so FUCKING FAT that she is used to talking with a double chin that no longer exists- you know... now that she isn't big anymore and is happy...
but i think EVERYONE knows my opinion of fat- so i wont rant- just this once...
as far as grotesque, buffalo-humped, apple-faced, carnival fat lady goes- you are not any of those. the only reason being overweight is viewed as so hideous- is because society says so- and as far as i'm concerned, society can fuck itself.
i know you know that- esp since you were one of the first to set me on my path to my body positive life- fuck the man, man... fuck the man in the BIG MOUTH.