I saw a beautiful graphic today on Facebook from Adam Bouska that said “If you’re going home to an unsupportive family this holiday season, remember that your worth is not defined by what they say or how they treat you.” As far as I’m concerned nothing could be more true. Here are some things that help me when I’m in a hostile, or just less than friendly environment.
We are each the best witness to our own experience. Sometimes people say things that let us know that they think they know better than us about our bodies (there’s a thin woman in you trying to get out, you just didn’t diet correctly,) or our sexuality (bisexuality doesn’t exist, being queer is a choice) our gender (trans* people have to act like blah blah blah or they’re not really trans blah blah blah) or whatever. These people may not know it, but they are struggling with HyperEgoRidiculousness a condition I just made up to describe someone who has such an over-exaggerated sense of self importance that they actually think they are a better witness to our experiences than we are.
We each have the right to make decisions for ourselves – the way that we prioritize and pursue health is one of those decisions. We also get to choose who gets to talk with us about our decisions. People, in most cases, have a right to free speech, but not a right to an audience with us. It’s ok to take it as a teachable moment, it’s ok to just let someone babble while you think about something you actually care about, and it’s perfectly ok to have a policy of – hey, you feel free to say whatever’s on your mind, I’ll be over there – come find me when you’re done.
I’m always a little bit amused when somebody feels like I should care whether they “approve of my lifestyle.” If people don’t approve of Health at Every Size, then I invite them to do something else, if they don’t approve of being queer (not a lifestyle but that’s a whole other blog), then they are under no obligation to date someone of the same gender.
It’s really pretty simple. If people disagree with who we are or what we do, and based on that they choose personally not to do it, that’s fine. If they feel the need to be vocally against who we are or what we do, and they do that at us, that is problematic behavior. If they feel that rules or laws should reflect their beliefs such that our civil rights are compromised so that we are forced to do and be what they think we should do and be, that’s oppression.
Each of us gets to deal with this kind of bs in any way we choose, and all of those choices are valid. If you’re looking for specific examples, I wrote about that in my column for Ms. Fit Magazine. For now I’ll just repeat “If you’re going home to an unsupportive family this holiday season, remember that your worth is not defined by what they say or how they treat you.” People’s poor treatment of you says nothing about you and plenty about them. You may not always be treated with respect, but you deserve to be.
Like my blog? Looking for some holiday support or gifts? Here’s more of my stuff!
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Become a member: For just ten bucks a month you can keep this blog ad-free, support the activism work I do, and get deals from cool businesses Click here for details
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details
Interviews with Amazing Activists!! Help Activists tell our movement’s history in their own words. Support In Our Own Words: A Fat Activist History Project!
If my selling things on the blog makes you uncomfortable, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen