What’s Your Excuse?

facepalmReader Annie sent me a link to a Facebook post by Maria Kang.  It seems Maria put some time and effort into looking like the cultural stereotype of beauty, then took a picture of herself wearing gym clothes with her three sons.

Ok, that’s fine, I’m glad that she is happy.

Then she put a caption on it…“What’s Your Excuse?”

Nooooooo. Nonononono.  This is not cool.

Just to recap, Maria decided to use her time, energy and money to try to make her body look a certain way and she happened to be successful at it while raising three boys.  Now she wants us to ask ourselves what our excuse is for not doing so.

How about this, I don’t need an excuse.  What’s your excuse for having such an unbelievably over exaggerated sense of self-importance that you actually think that everyone should aspire to the same things that you do?

Oh but it gets better.  Some people pointed out to her that her post was fat shaming and added to the unrealistic ideals that women face.  Her response (which she called an apology, which makes me think that she doesn’t actually know what that means)  was to talk about how hard weight loss was for her for oh so many reasons, then say

Obesity and those who struggle with health-related diseases is literally a ‘bigger’ [see what she did there – obese and bigger – Maria is a comic genius] issue than this photo. Maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings and get to the point.

And then repeated “So What’s Your Excuse?” because Maria is just too bad ass to respect people when they tell her that her actions are creating stigma and shame.

Also, I don’t know who the hell these people are who are trying to tip-toe around my feelings, but if she could point me in their direction that would be a refreshing change from the people who yell “HEY FAT BITCH” and throw eggs at me. Just saying.

She then created an FAQ page where the justification parade begins:

All the cool kids are doing it

I often saw posters of grandmothers running in marathons, paraplegics competing in the Olympics and even a father performing a pull up with three kids in tow – all with the same caption: “What’s your Excuse?

Yeah, these are problematic as well, especially if they are made about someone without their permission.  That grandmother might not want to be held up as an example, people with disabilities may not want to be used as teaching and motivational tools.  Also, just to review, nobody needs an excuse to not run in marathons, compete in the Olympics, do pull-ups with some kids hanging off of them, or anything else.

I didn’t mean it that way

This one is my favorite:

My intention was not to ask, “What’s your Excuse for not looking like me?” My intention was to imply, “What’s your Excuse for not exercising?” However you interpret the message is dependent on your emotional state when you read the caption.

First of all, maybe it’s time to deal with the fact that your intention is not working out.  Maybe it’s because you put a picture of yourself in a sports bra and boy shorts under the phrase “What’s Your Excuse?”.  Again, I’m for Maria, and anyone else, wearing whatever they want to wear.  But if people are telling you that your image is shaming to them and creates an unrealistic image (which may have to do with all the photoshopping of the image) then may I suggest that instead of speculating about their emotional state, you take some time to think about how all of this went wrong and why you might want to fix it.  Also did I mention that people don’t need excuses to not exercise?  Because they really don’t.

I didn’t mean it that way either

For those of you who have legitimate excuse then that’s your excuse! I’m not saying there isn’t one. I’m saying that for the majority of people out there who use multiple kids (or just one), a job, lack of time, lack of support – as an excuse, then maybe you can take my story and my image and use that as a source of inspiration.

Well thank you for your permission, but the premise is still bullshit. Nobody.  Needs.  An. Excuse.  We especially don’t need to worry about having a “legitimate” excuse. And, not for nothing, but I think you might find out that it’s cooler if you put your thoughts and story out there and let people choose you as their role model, rather than trying so hard to guilt/shame them into it.

One more time: nobody needs an excuse for making different choices than you, or for making the same choices but looking different. All bodies are amazing, there is no single body size or shape that represents actual beauty, fitness, health, or anything else.

Obviously this issue is bigger than Maria’s post – she is part of a much bigger problem wherein people get confused and think that their choices are THE choices and that if others want to make different choices they owe some kind justification.  Um, no.  People are allowed to choose to spend their time, energy and money trying to make their bodies look a specific way. What’s not cool is to suggest that everyone should want/have to do that.  What’s not cool is to suggest that if they can do it, anybody can, or should. What’s not cool is for those people to try to make their achievement feel more important by shaming people who make different choices, or who make the same choices but look different than they do.  What’s not cool is to ignore people who tell them that they are stigmatizing other people.  There’s just no excuse for that.
If you have some thoughts for Maria, you can find the image on her Facebook page here.

It’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week and BEDA has put together an awesome week of chats, blog posts, and contests (I’m a meme hunt!).  Check it all out here!

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Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm  Comments (73)  

73 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I shouldn’t have read any of the comments after the post. Just goes to show you how screwed up the thinking is in this society. I have exercised all of my life – I don’t look like her and I never will and, guess what? That’s okay. I am the best me I can be and I am proud of that. Thanks Ragen!

  2. I need to make a pic of me with some math equations and ask maria what her excuse was … i don’t normally do that sort of thing because i kinda get it in my profession that people have different interests and proclivities …. but i bet maria would be hard pressed to come up with a “legitimate” excuse for avoiding fractions. Fortunately i am more openminded about people’s choices than that

    • nice one!

    • I had the same thought. The farther you take it away from exercise, the more nonsensical “What’s your excuse?” becomes (I think exercise programs started the “what’s your excuse?” trend, actually). I want this meme now!

      I programmed a smartphone app. What’s your excuse?
      I speak Spanish. ¿Cual es tu excusa?
      I menstruate regularly. What’s your excuse?
      I grow tomatoes. What’s your excuse?

      It’s just asinine and arrogant on the face of it!

      • genius .. reductio ad absurdem !

      • I color my hair. What’s your excuse?

        • I dragged my ass outta bed this morning. What’s your… fuck it.

    • Yep … Maria, what’s your excuse for not having a PhD in Computer Science, an MBA and being fluent in 3 languages like me? Hm?

      • Is it totally evil of me that I am really hoping for a flood of these to appear on her page?

        • Wouldn’t be of any use, though. Because, you know what? That’s all invalidated because I’m fat. Therefore I am a dumb, lazy, undisciplined slob. That’s how these people think.

      • Can I just take this moment to call you total bad-ass? You need to just walk around all the time wearing a shirt that says “Metal as Fuck,” unless that’s not your sort of thing, in which case you shouldn’t.

        (But seriously. I’m in awe. That’s so much learning. <3)

    • I could go through her Facebook posts and copy edit them. “What’s your excuse?” under all those corrections. All the more fun if she messes up lose/loose, you’re/your, etc.

    • I have math dyslexia – that’s my excuse. LOL did you post the picture? Great come back!

  3. I was going to go to the gym tonight to do a Pilates class, but it’s raining so I’m not going. I have a better offer at the pub, involving a glass of wine. That’s my excuse.

    • take me with you!!!!! lol

    • LOL I love it.

  4. You are my mind and soul doppelgänger with better writing skills. I love you.

  5. My FAVORITE part is the first paragraph where she tells you all the things she is not going to do WHILE DOING IT!!!! ARRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!

    • Yeah, I actually couldn´t even finish reading that paragraph… too much.

  6. My disability is my reason. I don’t have or need an excuse. Of couse, she’s welcome to her opinion and to say what she wants on her FB page. And I hope she doesn’t get haters in response to her opinion, just ….different opinions :)

  7. in my old (pre-Ragen) days, I’d have linked on to see what the hub-bub is all about. But, I don’t want to deal with this woman and her “excuse” blog. I’m taking care of me, and not even going to waste my energy raising defenses. —Jen

  8. As a mental health professional working with eating disorders and someone recovered from an eating disorder myself, this post brings up a lot of questions for me about what her recovery process was like. It is my hope that my clients, as part of their recovery, learn to see themselves as whole humans, not just bodies to be shaped for viewing. Maybe her recovery has been different. As a person, this just made me feel really triggered and sad.

  9. Oi vey….. what a load of utter nonsense… stupidly I read most of the comments. Whilst it’s her FB page and she has the right to make HER point, I am appalled at the number, as ever, of people acting like sheep hiding behind mummy’s skirts or in this case her bikini waxing and shouting their mouths off.
    LIVE AND LET LIVE ~ who needs excuses when we have truths about ourselves…. that’s what’s important …..

  10. Ted Kooser got up at 4:30 a.m. every morning for years to write poetry for a couple of hours before he went to his day job. So what’s YOUR excuse for not becoming National Poet Laureate like he did?

    Makes just as much sense.

    “Excuse” is a really troubling word to me because it disregards others’ very real barriers, preferences and priorities. It strikes me as a cover word for “lazy.” I’ve made my decision where I want to set my exercise/diet level based on what I need in my life. Doesn’t make those who exercise more or less than I do any better or worse. Just means they have a different life than I do.

    • But I WOULD like to be poet laureate. I don’t wanna be Maria Kang whose sole purpose for living is to make people look at her. I just wanna be read. And adored w/out a picture. ;-)

  11. This brings to mind one of my favorite comments at Shapely Prose, by Meowser: “…I bet you think John Coltrane should have been slamming it at the gym in 1964 instead of recording A Love Supreme… He’d be dead from cancer within three years and we’d never have gotten to hear A Love Supreme, since it’s not exactly the kind of thing he could have just tossed off casually in his spare time…but hey, at least he’d have died pretty!”

  12. I love all the demands for excuses that can then be ridiculed and belittled.

    The fact is that (a) there’s no guarantee that if I did the same things she does I would look anything like her, (b) I have other things I prefer doing, (c) those aren’t excuses because I don’t need one.

    You know, the way she doesn’t need an excuse to go to the gym and spend hours working out rather than helping her kids with their homework or just playing in the park with them.

    She gets to prioritize the gym over what she chooses. I get to prioritize cooking, taking long walks where I talk to my neighbors, watching movies, commenting on awesome blogs like this one, playing with my cat, or communing with my favorite vibrator over going to the gym if those are my priorities.

    She’s welcome to her priorities, but I’m going to stick with mine and enjoy the hell out of them.

    No excuses necessary.

  13. I hope giving zero fucks is enough of an excuse for Ms. Kang. (Oh who am I kidding, I give zero fucks about her, too.)

  14. “My intention was not to ask, “What’s your Excuse for not looking like me?” My intention was to imply, “What’s your Excuse for not exercising?”

    That’s odd, because there’s absolutely no exercising going on in the photo. How on earth is anyone supposed to mind read her intent there? I looked at it and was like, excuse for what?

    – For not having 3 children?

    – For not having 3 boys?

    – For not having a child every 9.5 months? Since this is kind of difficult, I then wondered:

    – For not adopting one or more children?

    – For not being a woman?

    – For not getting professional photography done?

    – For not being able to afford professional photography?

    – For not being tan?

    – For not wearing her style of makeup or hair?

    – Basically, for not looking like her?

    These are all pretty obvious excuses implied in the photo. You have to make several leaps to even get close to “for not exercising”:

    1. Assume that she was pregnant with all 3 of those children. If you don’t assume that, you can’t get to #2.

    2. Assume that her body looked different in this photo as compared to sometime before, during, or immediately after her pregnancies.

    3. Assume that she embarked on a conscious plan or regimen to change the appearance of her body.

    4. Assume that the major part of her conscious plan or regimen to change the appearance of her body was some form of exercise.

    5. Assume that the exercise program was primarily responsible for the assumed change (see #2, above) in body composition.

    6. Assume that the viewer does not look like the person in the photo or any of the three children.

    7. Assume that if the viewer were to divine what the woman in the photo does, they too would look exactly like her after some unspecified period of time following an unspecified exercise regimen.

    8. Realize that the excuse being fished for is not exercising.

  15. I could just as easily ask her what her excuse is for obsessing about her body instead of volunteering more, getting an advanced degree, working on her personal or spiritual relationships, or anything else that I consider a better use of time.
    ..

    ….
    Oh, wait, if I did that I’d be EXACTLY LIKE HER. Which, to me, isn’t the great thing she seems to think it is.

  16. You may have already seen this but, this is a beautiful response to Maria Kang’s post…http://www.juliedeneen.com/2012/09/18/enough/

    • Thank you for sharing that :)

    • Am I the only one who snickered that her pious twerp of a husband showed up to lecture all the women who were mean to his precious, perfect wife– all the while proving conclusively that he can’t write or spell his way out of a paper bag?

  17. Who gives a crap? It was a dumb photo posted by an arrogant little girl that pissed off some people. How about ignore it? Or, instead of getting on a soap box, laugh at it? Yeah, she’s pretty fit and all, and her question was arrogant, but that’s the culture she’s involved in. Some gyms have that prevailing message. She’s allowed to her viewpoint, as you are to yours. (The moderators are so not gonna post this, but I’ll try anyway.) I looked at the photo, read the comments and thought ‘whatever’. To me there far bigger injustices out there to get mad about than some girl that works out alot and posts macho No Fear-esqe captions. Anyone remember the phrase ‘no pain no gain’? In 5 years or so, she’ll probably be doughy anyway. And like a wise woman once told me, ‘a little weight on a woman never hurt nobody.’

    • I love it when people leave epic length comments asserting that people should just ignore things they don’t like when their epic length comment is a complete failure to take their own advice.

    • I’m leaving this comment up because it provides a perfect example of a couple of the great fallacies in activism, and now I can address them.

      First, that this injustice isn’t worth addressing because there are “greater injustices.” Following this logic we should only ever work on the greatest injustice, so instead of participating in activism, we can all spend our time arguing about what the greatest injustice is, and criticizing other activists for not picking injustices that we would have fought. Or maybe not.

      Second, that if something isn’t important to you, you must criticize those to whom it is important, convince people that it shouldn’t be important to anyone, and insist that it shouldn’t be addressed. Simply put, this is bullshit (not to mention a clear violation of the underpants rule). If you are concerned about greater injustices, one option would be to stop complaining about the ones that I choose to address and go ahead and start working on the ones that are, in your estimation, worth addressing.

      If you believe that it should be ignored, I invite you to ignore it. If you think it should be laughed at, I invite you to laugh. I happen to think it’s worth addressing and I don’t think it’s funny, so I wrote this blog post that you didn’t have to read. Even if addressing this had been a waste of time – I’ve already wasted the time. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t take back the time it took to write this post and address whatever you think is more important. I imagine you are aware of that so I guess maybe you are into wasting even more time by commenting on it, or maybe this kind of comment makes you feel superior and important, or maybe you actually believe that your priorities are what should drive my work and that your reactions to things are the only valid ones, in which case now I am laughing.

      Regardless, there are plenty of opportunities for activism. You are, of course, allowed to make your own choices, but I might suggest spending your time criticizing the people, institutions, and societal structures that oppress and stigmatize us, rather that complaining to activists who are addressing oppression and stigma that you don’t think are important enough. Best of luck to you,

      Finally, for those reading this I’d like to point out that these kinds of comments can serve to discourage activism by making people afraid that, if they engage in it, in addition to all the stigma and shame they get from society they will be stigmatized and shamed by people within the movement for their activism being “not important enough” or some such bullshit. So if you’re thinking about becoming an activist or you are an activist already, I absolutely commend you, I support you, and I sincerely apologize if you have to deal with bullshit like this.

      ~Ragen

      • TW: Rape

        YES! I hate the “this isn’t important, in MY BOOK, therefore it shouldn’t be important to you” bullshit. This is derailing and idiotic. There are ALWAYS bigger issues, that doesn’t mean we should just only focus on big things.

        That “we shouldn’t focus on the smaller issues when there are bigger issues to focus on” mentality doesn’t make sense anyway, with that mentality we shouldn’t pull over people who run red lights or drive dangerously because their are rapists to go after, actually with that mentality we shouldn’t even go after rapists because there are murderers to go after. We fight the battles that are important to us. And we CAN focus on fighting more than one battle.

        tl;dr: “runbunny” needs to STFU.

    • here’s a tip for time management, since we’re all short on time for battles to fight: next time you feel moved to tell somebody that they are wasting time because they “give a crap” about stuff you consider stupid, consider investing the time and energy spent trying to make them feel like shit because they don’t share your priorities, and use it instead on making something happen that you DO care about. i am hoping that is something other than one-upmanship.

      that way everyone is happy, and more shit gets done. there are no activism olympics where you win a gold medal if you only choose precisely the right things to get invested in; we all make a myriad choices every day.

      anytime somebody speaks up for social justice is a good thing, even if i couldn’t care less about doing the same at that time. it’s never a waste; somebody out there needs to hear it, because attitudes only change if people are confronted with direct evidence over and over and over.

  18. Oh I do always love the “It’s your own fault for being offended!” excuse.

  19. I think that’s a wonderful picture she should cherish of her little ones and her smiling and looking happy. Pictures like that are ones you look at when things get rough and you forget where your happy went now and then. The thing is…she just doesn’t get why the caption is the problem. If I posted a picture of my kids’ invitations to the gifted program in school and put that SAME caption she would be able to see how it’s different. It all comes down to people who believe “size = health” and that’s sad because they really. just. don’t. get. it. and I don’t think anyone above a size 0 could convince her otherwise because “they’re just jelly, dontchakno!”

  20. I wonder if she’s really that confident, or if the photo and caption are her way of fighting back against criticisms that she’s spent too much time on herself? In both Ragen’s post and all the comments I read, the only people mentioned in the photo were Maria and her three boys. No partner. She may have never had one and chosen to foster/adopt or have kids on her own, or she may have gone through a painful, messy divorce or breakup. If an ex, ex’s family, etc. used her focus on exercise and/or her appearance as ammunition against her, she may now be acting out against the world, and an easy target is, guess who.

    This is all speculation, but there are, IMO, two obvious options here: either Maria is incredibly shallow and thoughtless and has been busy chugging the Kool-Aid, or she’s average-level thoughtless and is dealing with some kind of anguish of her own in an inappropriate way.

    • Perhaps not the place, but my sub-activism involves calling out mentions of “Kool Aid drinking”. That particular phrase references a very dark period in history in which nearly 1000 people died. Even if you believe that the adults knowingly killed themselves, 304 children were murdered. Please rethink your references to Kool Aid.

      • I understand why you point it out, and I know all about Jonestown. Due to my history, I’ve got a strong fascination with the nature of evil, and the things humans are happy to inflict on each other in the name of absolute power. I use the term bitterly and ironically, because the need to single out and pick, pick, pick more and more at individual groups is a form of power that people don’t necessarily understand they’re propagating.

        Fat shaming may not lead to an abattoir in Guyana, but it’s led to any number of suicides. I damn near became one of them–I made my first attempt at age eight, and didn’t get caught until I was 11. The Internet’s made it obvious to me how common this is, severe depression compounded by size-related bullying. As I see “the Kool-Aid/Flavor-Ade” as a symbol for evil via subtle application of prejudice or desire, I’ve adopted the term. The irony is that the ones I state to have drunk it are the ones who haven’t faced death.

        Yes, I understand most people won’t see this on the surface. I’m pretty quick to point out it’s not a joke, though. (After most of a decade married to an abusive asshat who made Holocaust jokes because if I didn’t laugh, he’d make me cry, I have a short fuse about that kind of thing.)

  21. I need to say thank you every day for your words. I don’t understand insensitive or assumptive people. I exercise every day of my life and I’ll never be slender, but because I am fat other people assume I never exercise. Does nobody remember what assume makes you? and though our bodies are more alike than not, the same techniques just don’t work for everyone. I’m just happy to be able to move and exercise when I want, and to eat good quality foods. Please don’t stop writing!

  22. Very well said.

  23. The most offensive thing about her “What’s your excuse” meme the assumption of it. The assumption that everyone is supposed to be striving to get their bodies to look like hers. The assumption that it’s something that everyone is supposed to be doing. It’s just a given in our society now, that it’s what everyone is SUPPOSED TO BE trying to achieve. It’s not even a question. “Do you WANT to have a body like mine”? No, it’s not even a question it’s – “Why haven’t you gotten a body like mine yet?” “What is your excuse?”. Like it’s all something we are supposed to be doing. It’s so deep seeded in our society that people don’t even question it.

  24. I’m sooooooo tempted to reply to her: “I was busy riding yo man’s dick, that’s my excuse!”

    I’m not mature.

    • That made my WHOLE EFFING DAY.

    • Pretty sure that counts as exercise, though.

  25. I haven’t read the Facebook post yet and don’t know if I will, but this kind of stuff is so damaging, and the more I learn about fat acceptance, the more infuriating and saddening it is.
    I was on Pinterest and came across a fitness board a woman put up. She had actually titled the post “Fitness/Body Envy”. Her profile pic was of a smiling woman in a dress that exposed her arms and neckline. She was what I’d call curvy (not saying that to sidestep the word “fat”, just trying to give an idea of her size). Some people would probably even say she was average-sized. The pictures on the fitness board were primarily of very slim women with firm abs. There were all kinds of “motivational” quotes about exercise and working out, no pain, no gain type of thing (or loss in this case). There was a pin with a list of things to do once you’re “skinny and fabulous”. There was even a pin saying something to the effect of: “it takes X number of weeks for you to notice your body changing, X number of weeks for your family and friends to notice, and X number of weeks for the world to notice. Don’t give up!” ( I’m still confused as to how the whole world can notice one person’s weight fluctuation. But that’s digression…).
    On one of the pins with a skinny woman with sculpted abs, a friend of the woman commented and basically tried to say, “this isn’t all that realistic”. Another person said it was terrible for a so-called friend to encourage someone to be overweight… Which wasn’t what she was doing, and as we all know the word “overweight” is problematic anyway. She advised the woman not to listen to “negative people” (I.e. critical thinkers and realists) and said, “I started out at 300 pounds and I’m close to looking like the woman in this picture.” Yep, ’cause everyone’s body is the same.
    Anyway, I left my own comment, saying I think when it comes to health it’s better to focus on being healthy than on body size. That bodies are different and everyone can’t be the same size and all of that. I told the woman she looked beautiful in her profile pic and that while it’s easier to be skinny in this society, we skinny people can still have body image issues, depression, poor self-esteem, and many other problems fat people also have. (I didn’t say any of that to make it about skinny people problems,I just wanted to point out that being thin or becoming thin does not make your life “fabulous”). I said I wasn’t trying to crap on her goals and that she sounded hardworking and motivated, just that I believe everyone has the right to feel beautiful in the body they have.
    She hasn’t responded to my comment (which is fine, it’s not an obligation), so I don’t know what she thought of it, but I hope it had some positive impact.

    • That’s very well-put, and I read your comment just as it dawned on me that my excuse is that I happen to quite like the way my body looks. I work out rather a lot because I enjoy it, and I like the tiny changes I’m seeing, but I’m also maintaining my weight and am not ever going to look like the fitness models, though I’d certainly love to see if they could actually keep up with me. :)

  26. Her hateful non-apology is simply appalling. I’m rather fond of turning people’s words back to them when they are doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING they’re getting pissed at people doing to them.

    I’m sorry you took our correction and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that you actually DID go into the details you said you wouldn’t go into. I won’t even mention that you mentioned all the things you said you wouldn’t mention because how else would I have known you mentioned them?

    What I WILL say is this. What you interpret from our correction is not OUR fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your emotions and your choices is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. We didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue being angry that we corrected you on your hateful attitude, then get used to being angry about many other things for the rest of your life. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.

    With that said, while there may be things that are literally ‘bigger’ (I see what you did there! Clever girl! Or, you know, not.) issues than this photo, but maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people who get upset at being called out on their appalling behavior and get to the point. So What’s Your Excuse for heaping shame and stigma on an already-oppressed population? Because you see, NO ONE “tiptoes” around us fat folks. WE ALL deal with shame and stigma everyday and if you think otherwise, you are downright delusional as well as being sickeningly arrogant.

    You put the comment out in the public space, so you don’t get to whine about how it’s been misunderstood. Here’s the scoop – you are doing to your audience EXACTLY what you claim your audience is doing to you. If it’s not OK for them, then it’s not OK for you.

    If so many people are taking your words the wrong way, as it were, then that is YOUR fault. The onus is on the presenter to say what she means. It’s not the job of the audience to interpret it “correctly.” Even a court of generally law sides with the hearer when it’s a question of perception. It is always and only up to the speaker to make sure that others understand her point. The failure, my dear lady, is on your part, not on that of your audience. And you can take that to the bank.

    • “NO ONE “tiptoes” around us fat folks. WE ALL deal with shame and stigma everyday and if you think otherwise, you are downright delusional as well as being sickeningly arrogant.”

      Exactly. When I read the part about her saying “tip-toeing around” I was like – what?? What world does SHE live in?

      • Yeah, it’s sure not MY world!

  27. I wish people would stop trying to be an “inspiration” to others. The word is meant to be used by the inspired to say “hey person, what you did/do matters to me and created a feeling inside me…” – it is not meant to be the sugar coating for “I MADE YOU DO X to be the center of attention.” If I inspire others it’s because “others” think I have, not because I’ve tried to do or change anything. Would I like the affirmation that I’m on the right track by someone saying “Hey rockstar!”, sure. Do I think my track is SO right that it’s for anyone other than me? NOOOOOO. Saying “I simply want to be an inspiration ….” is like saying, Do you think I’m pretty? It’s a type of fishing for compliments that makes a person feel dirty by simply engaging.

    • Ooh, well said. That’s an angle I never considered.

  28. Anyone who uses the word “excuse” is afraid. All it means is that they’ve had really good luck, but realizing it IS luck is unnerving because luck can change. The word “excuse” is a coat of armor against anything bad happening to them, because they are in control, dammit! Everyone can control everything and nothing bad can happen that is not your own fault! Using the word excuse in this context really signifies the maturity level of a preschooler–if you pretend hard enough, the bad thing will go away/never happen. That attitude leads to hard-heartedness, which feeds stigma and bias. If they stopped to realize that some people’s “excuse” is that they have severe anemia or work two jobs to support their kids since their spouse died or are nursing an ill parent and don’t have any spare time, then they would have to face the idea that that could happen to them. But, you know what, I don’t choose to demonize other people just to make myself more comfortable. What’s her excuse for not treating people like human beings?

    • “Everyone can control everything and nothing bad can happen to you that is not your own fault”.
      This statement hits the nail on the head when it comes the spirit and attitude of the Western corner of the world. I’m fortunate enough that so far in my life I haven’t had any major problems that I don’t have the power to change. But that certainly isn’t the case for everyone. Sometimes we do make up “excuses” and sabotage ourselves, and sometimes certain things really aren’t possible. But a lot of people are not willing to accept the flip side of the coin. It’s easier for them to think of all naysayers as jealous, negative “haters”, and to think of anyone who isn’t achieving our cultural standards of success as being lazy, self-destructive, less intelligent, less talented, etc. When you think like that you are free to enjoy whatever privilege you may have without any sense of social consciousness. Anyone who may want to achieve what you’ve achieved but hasn’t, has all the same tools you do to make changes and move up in the world, so they’re either on their way to the American dream (or the Canadian dream, we have similar false ideals here), or they’re not, and if they’re not, it’s their own problem.
      At some point in our lives, we all have to face the scary fact that there’s actually a lot of crap that happens in the world that’s outside of our control, and I think it’s better to face this reality sooner rather than later.

  29. Today she has posted this (screen capture of it) http://grabilla.com/0391b-973ee971-9c97-4f14-a593-8efbf54e1987.png. My response was: You really are just utterly clueless, aren’t you? You don’t know ANYTHING about me (or the vast majority of the people you’re making assumptions for), so what the hell do you know about my “excuses?” Who are YOU to invalidate ANYONE else’s life experiences?

    I had to like her stupid page long enough to comment on that and the original picture. It has since been thoroughly unliked.

    Not that I *NEED* an excuse for not working out, but here’s mine you selt-righteous bitch. Just walking to the kitchen from my office some days is enough to have me nearly in tears from excruciating pain. Exercise tends to exacerbate my pain. I’m incredibly injury prone due to it, and NO my pain isn’t caused by my weight. It’s caused by fibromyalgia, which is an illness plenty of THIN people have, too.

    So screw you… I’d have given anything to have even one child. You have three. Maybe I could make some assumptions about how much time you spend with them, or what kind of parent you must be when you’ve “obviously” prioritized how you LOOK over them, huh? Do you enjoy those sorts of assumptions made about you? That you must be a crappy parent, since being thin isn’t “natural” for you and therefore you must spend HOURS each day working out, at the expense of those three boys you don’t use as an excuse to not be thin and have ripped abs?

    • That is an EXCELLENT response…love it!! It is so BOGGLING when these people just assume we pull the chair over to the buffet and eat from there. How DARE they make assumptions without even KNOWING us or what someone has been thru in their lives???

      My sister was in a horrific car accident when she was 18..she’d JUST lost 110lbs and was really happy about it. It was on a narrow country road with a blind hill and a farm implement truck was coming the other way…he basically ran OVER her side of the car. She was clinically DEAD for a few minutes and they brought her back. Broke nearly every bone in her body…some are STILL broken and she’s 41. She’s in excruciating pain and it’s worse if she tries to walk instead of fully relying on her electric wheelchair. But walk she does (stubborn) does her own errands ..drives…etc. Type 2 diabetes since she was 2yo.

      Due to all the injuries and being bedridden for almost a year..and lack of being able to be mobile..she’s put on alot of weight. People are cruel and hateful to her all the time. When she parks in a handicap spot they tell her she’s too fat and shouldn’t take up the spot. Among other hateful things. It almost moves me to violence.

    • This is HORRIBLE! People with disabilities are not motivational tools. It sets a ridiculously high standard that nobody should have to live up to, it stigmatized people with disabilities (including invisible disabilities) aren’t able to be Olympians or whatever the picture it, it highlights the disability rather than the person, and it is not ok. While of course people with disabilities are welcome to engage in this if they choose, but it’s not ok for able-bodied people to use people with disabilities in this way.

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

      • Or, as invisibly disabled and legally crazy me occasionally likes to put it….

        Ooooh, look at me pet the cat! I’m INSPIRATIONAL!

        Wow, look at me drink some water and eat a banana! I’m INSPIRATIONAL!

        Heyyyy, I just brought in the mail! I’m INSPIRATIONAL!

        Holy shit, I went to Target! I’m INSPIRATIONAL!

        Motherfucker, I put on mascara without stabbing myself in the eye! I’M INSPIRATIONAL!

        Continue until annoyance factor hits critical.

        (My sense of humor, btw, chooses to swing from the gallows until dead.)

        • Man, now I really want to see these proclamations turned into memes. *picture of someone enthusiastically petting a cat* I’m INSPIRATIONAL! *picture of someone giving a delighted thumbs up with a mascara brush in hand* I’m INSPIRATIONAL!

          • You know, I’m really tempted to do this now. XD They all need to feature my somehow-still-whole flannel shirt, which I’ve owned and worn since 1994, through 150 pounds of weight fluctuation. (I maintain that my flannel shirt is magical. It fit at 150, it fit at 300, and it fits at 230. I DO NOT KNOW HOW.) Gotta get a friend of mine to bring out his good camera.

            I need to get a psych disabled friend of mine involved in this. She’s as pissed off about the whole “disabled people are INSPIRATIONAL!” thing as I am. Oh, and you NEED to watch The Michael J. Fox Show. It’s just starting on NBC, Thursday nights at 8:30 Central, I think. The entire premise of the show is a reporter who had to retire due to Parkinson’s going back to work because he’s bored… only instead of treating him as a person, everyone now treats him as an INSPIRATIONAL SYMBOL. My dad thought it was funny and cute and neat. I thought it was the darkest, funniest, most twisted thing I’ve seen in years, and I LOVE IT.

            • If there is anything that I can do to support this project, just say the word!

              ~Ragen

              • Thanks, Ragen, you’re the bomb. :)

        • I love your sense of humor.
          I’m a former EMT. My gallows humor often gets misunderstood. I also tend to have a bit of a self-deprecating sense of humor. That too gets misunderstood.
          And then there’s my juvenile love for fart jokes.
          “Hey Butthead, I just totally ripped the biggest fart ever!”
          “Huh huh huh! Beavis, you’re inspirational!”

    • Oh, hon, I know those reasons all too well. {{{{{HUGS}}}}} With the change in seasons, my pain levels have ramped up to No Mercy, and my shoulders sit nearly at my ears. I’ve had fibro my entire life, AFAIK, and some days it’s so bad I ditch my atheism long enough to wonder what I did in a past life that was bad enough to be born like this. (I mean, seriously, these are Nazi war criminal levels of pain, and that’s with treatment.)

      No kids with my genes, either. Even if my uterus hadn’t be congenitally bad, there’s no way I’d risk passing this on. My girlfriend wants kids, so hopefully I’ll have them that way. But still, one with my information would have been nice.

    • Wow, she really didn’t get it at all, now she’s escaladed her bs to include that boy’s photo in her “lets shame everyone who doesn’t have MY PRIORITIES” bullshit. She hasn’t learned anything, and in fact, seems to have gotten worse.

      • I’m wondering if she had that kid’s (or his parents’) permission to use his photo to support her COMMERCIAL product site, and I’m seriously doubting it.

  30. I won’t even mention how smug and self-righteous that caption is. I won’t even mention how desperate some people are to get their 15 minutes of fame. See how much I managed not to mention, guys?! Gosh, I’m such an inspiration these days ;)

  31. My excuse? Hmmm…lemme see…How about: I don’t want to look like you?


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