They Will Not Keep Me Down

Photo by Richard Sabel

Photo by Richard Sabel

I discussed before my love for Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.  One of the stanzas has come back to me recently as I’ve been dealing with some trolling.

Something that I’ve found in my experience with trolls is that people who revel in their bigotry will stoop to any level to keep the people they are oppressing down.  I’ve dealt with this in many ways but most recently I’ve seen it around a piece I wrote about doing a 5k with my dance team.  As usual, many of my haters experienced a failure of reading comprehension.

The piece was about being an athlete, doing an athletic endeavor unathletically.  Specifically I wrote “I struggled with not being “good” at the 5k.  I benefit from a tremendous amount of athletic privilege, and the athletic things that I do are typically things at which I am naturally talented and have put many, many hours of hard work so I’m used to being among the best.  I’m not naturally good at this type of running and I didn’t train hard so of course it’s not a shocker that I wasn’t very good.”

In the hands of the haters it became “This fat bitch claims that she is an athlete because she walked a 5k.”  There are now, literally, entire forums online devoted to repeating and commenting on the “fact” that I claim to be an athlete because I walked a 5k.  Since I have no insecurities about being an athlete, I also have no need to try to make it an exclusive club, so I think it’s absolutely fine for people to claim to be an athlete for walking a 5k.

The issue here is that the point of the article was that I am an athlete (national champion dancer) who was doing something out of my realm and, because of outside circumstances, not even to the most athletic of my ability. These people’s sense of self is so frail that they are just desperate to discredit me,  to make sure that I don’t upset their bigoted world view, even if they have to twist my words or make things up to do it.  Which bring us to the Kipling that’s been running through my head:

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

Fat people face tremendous stigma in our society and those of us who choose to fight back against the onslaught of bullying and oppression will almost certainly face a backlash from those who are benefiting from the situation.  Among those things will be having our words twisted by those who are willing to do whatever it takes to keep us down.  The only solution I know is to just keep rising up.

I think that fat people, whether or not they consider themselves fat activists, are truly underestimated.  In the face of a tremendous amount of bullying and stigma, in the face of the government recruiting our friends, families, and employers to fight a war against us, in spite of the intense oppression that tries its best to crush us, that we keep living our lives is a testament to our incredible strength.

In a world where waking up as a fat person and not hating yourself is considered an act of rebellion, I’m proud to be a rebel.  In a world where refusing to feed my body less food than it needs to survive in the hopes that it will eat itself and become smaller is considered a crime against society, I’m proud to be a criminal.  In a world where loving my body is an act of revolution, I’m proud to be a revolutionary.  They can say what they want, they can twist my words as they will, but they will not keep me down.

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Published in: on June 3, 2013 at 6:45 am  Comments (72)  

72 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hear, hear! Keep on rebelling, it inspires many of us!

  2. “In a world where refusing to feed my body less food than it needs to survive in the hopes that it will eat itself and become smaller is considered a crime against society, I’m proud to be a criminal.”

    Wow! I love the way you word things! It really makes you think. Kind of flip things on it’s end and gives it a new perspective. Awesome post!

    As far as the fat phobic bigots, twisting your words to keep you down, I’m reminded of something written by Linda Bacon in her paper on Thin Privilege: http://www.lindabacon.org/Bacon_ThinPrivilege080109.pdf
    “Fat-phobic assumptions are so strongly part of our cultural landscape that it becomes difficult to help someone understand the fallacy even when they’re exposed to statistics, logical arguments, or examples of the disparities and pain caused by these attitudes”.
    “Most people have internalized fatism… We are subject to what psychologists call “confirmation bias”. Once a belief is in place, we screen information in a way that ensures our beliefs are proven correct.
    “Also, because we like to believe that out values are derived from well-reasoned thought process of our own volition, there’s a natural resistance to the notion that we’re basically pawns who have absorbed an oppressive system, actively complicit in our own oppression and that of others. It makes sense that people have a strong defense system – denial – that prevents many people from seeing this.”

    The weight bigots will twist your words and the entire meaning of your post, because it is an affront to the core of what they believe. If they have to question such a deep seeded “known fact”, that fat people can’t be athletes, then they have to fear what else they may “know”, that may also be untrue. It’s no wonder most people chose to “take the blue pill”. Taking the red pill and questioning our cultural “truths” is a scary notion, and many people would rather stay asleep.

    Fighting the good fight is an enormous effort, more so for you than most since you’re much more in the public eye than many of the “every day, and in small ways, activists”. My activism is in the people I meet in the street, in the stores, and my own family and friends. Helping to change their minds and attitudes about fat people. It’s tougher for people like you who are more like “public figures”. Bigger targets on your back and open to more criticism. That makes me realize I need to start doing more. I think perhaps I should start blogging about size acceptance too, though I fear I can’t be anywhere NEAR as effective or eloquent about it as you are. There is always more to be done, and I shouldn’t be afraid of being a target, hell, I’m a target just by daring to be fat in public. lol

    And to leave on a positive note (and since I’ve quoted that thin privilege paper of Linda Bacon’s so much already lol):

    “Desmond Tutu offered this advice as rationale for the work of a freedom fighter: “You don’t do the things you do because others will necessarily join you in doing them, nor because they will ultimately
    prove successful. You do the things you do because the things you do are right.
    “I don’t know the future of fat rights. I don’t know whether anything I do, or write, or teach, will make a difference. But I do it, write it, teach it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do. And as uncertain as
    the outcome may be, the outcome of silence is clear. Change doesn’t happen if you don’t try. And given the choice between the uncertainty of taking action and the certainty of non-action, I opt for trying.”

    Thank you, Ragen, for being such a bright light, in this place that is often so dark. You are a great encouragement and inspiration! I love you for that, girl!

    • Raven- Thanks for the link.

      Ragen- The comments of your ‘haters’ reveals more about THEM then it reveals about YOU. Glad to hear that they will not keep you down! I love your blog!

    • [I]“You don’t do the things you do because others will necessarily join you in doing them, nor because they will ultimately
      prove successful. You do the things you do because the things you do are right.”[/I]

      I needed this reminder today. Without going into too many details, I’ve known many an evil person in my life–up to and including the kind that experiments on children for personal gain–and I’m about to take the only one still living to court on felony charges. There’s a very good chance I’ll lose, which could negatively affect the rest of my life. I haven’t even filed yet, I’m waiting for my last piece of evidence, and there are already veiled threats on my life from the monster’s side. But it’s the right thing to do, and the actions I took that put me here were even more so.

      But holy fucking shit, will I be glad when my life is less interesting and I can just snuggle with my girlfriend and knit.

      • For whatever monster/evil creature you’re about to face head-on, I send love, positive vibes, and lots of virtual hugs. May you soon have a less interesting life that allows you to snuggle with your girlfriend and enjoy your knitting!

      • Oh my gosh — take care and good luck!!!!

      • Sending prayers up on your behalf today. God bless!!

  3. Holy crap! I had no idea I wrote SO MUCH! I’m SO SORRY for hijacking your blog, Ragen! Bleh, I’ll have to try and keep it less long-winded next time. lol

    • No worries Stacy, I love comments so write away🙂

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

  4. Walking a 5K may not seem that challenging to someone (of any size) who’s in moderately good shape and not disabled, but I’d like to see the trolls try it carrying the same amount of weight that you carry naturally. I doubt they’d call it “unathletic” then.

    • Excellent point! A FB friend of mine was recently griping about people who put 5K stickers on their car (not that she herself is athletic or slender), saying that’s hardly difficult or something to brag about. I was the first to chime in that it’s not an easy thing for anyone to train for and few people (comparatively) across the country will ever complete one, much less run one. I’d definitely like to see the detractors try it with a weighted backpack.

  5. oh god I am seeing this SO OFTEN. The people that benefit from the oppression of fat people (ie, the people that believe they are superior to someone because they happen to be thin) are cropping up EVERYWHERE. I came across this today on Facebook. I had previously stated that nobody gets to make someone else feel bad for not fitting a narrow beauty ideal, and this was the reply from a male:
    “I do not support coffee groups of ill-informed society matrons legislating morality at the cost of freedom. Which is happening in NZ. Telling someone that they are a fatty and should put down the stick of butter and go for a few laps around the block might put you in jail for 3 years under proposed legislation.”
    Ragen what would you say to this? I don’t even know how to go about replying. The worst thing is that this was written on a friends post, and the friend has wholeheartedly “liked” it and commended this guy. I don’t know how to approach the situation but I think it’s a disgusting viewpoint. Or am I reading into it incorrectly?
    grrrr.

    • What a nasty guy and a gross comment he made. But it sounds like NZ might be trying to put a stop to bullying, hatred, and bigotry – good for them – (though I seriously doubt anyone would be put in jail for three years for making a single comment -I’m sure the guy must be talking out of his arse). He’s probably talking about a proposed cyber bullying law: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/131965/new-law-aimed-at-curbing-cyber-bullying in which people might get a fine or up to three MONTHS in prison (not three years, the guy should probably check his facts while he’s checking his privilege).

      Cyber bulling is a horrible crime and can lesson people’s quality of life or even cause them depression and in some cases suicide. It’s not a joke and that guy making the comment needs to wake up and realize that.

      • Well said!!! Aurgh he was being very very ignorant, trying to state that there is a legit definiton of beauty and that nobody likes “misshapen faces and non-existent necks” and just all sorts of ridiculous crap

        • What a jerk. He’s trying to justify his own bigotry by insisting it’s an objective societal standard.

      • I’m half-Kiwi, and can confirm that there is a distinct divide in society between the skinny-healthy-obsessed, usually white, population, and the large-to-extremely-large people, usually Polynesian or Maori. Fat is very much seen as a low-class, low-aspiration thing, as it’s so often associated with the Cook Island or Samoan immigrants, whose attitude to life is gentler and less social-achievement-oriented than the white culture. The national obsession with Sport and physical activity for everyone is striking when you visit from another country. To be white and large is a real anomaly and makes other white people extremely uncomfortable until/unless they get to know you as a person. It’s the main reason that I choose to live in England, where at least it’s not unusual for people of all colours to be large.

    • Wait wait! I’m confused, I thought New Zealand wanted to ban us! Maybe now there’s some small hope I have for being with this cute guy I know on Skype, I mean…did I say that out loud?

  6. Very timely for me. Sadly it is not only the trolls who do this, but sometimes people within our own camp. Not everyone is familiar with the underpants rule!

  7. Just recently CNBC wrote an article about the kind of jobs that are mostly occupied by fat people. There were over a thousand comments and it was an open forum for people to use harsh, harsh words about someone that is fat. It had me in tears. I left the following message… “These comments really show how bullying is alive and well. How can you judge someone just because of their size? One can only hope you are in need of some real help or emergency care one day and an overweight person shows up and they refuse to help because you are just too skinny. Makes a lot of sense…”
    The replies I received were two: “PORKER” and “Did you just Squeal or was that a oink?”
    My point is that if the so called “educated people” at CNBC write an article like this they are just promoting hatred. I have lupus and I am fat and recently my health has become so bad that I am in a wheelchair. It is getting to me so much that I don’t want to leave the house. I wish in school they would have “Compassion Classes” every year to teach people to have a heart!!
    You are such an inspiration to me and you get out and do all the things that I dream of doing. These trolls are so jealous of you because you have everything they wish they could be.

    • I was tested for lupus last year. The tests were negative, but that isn’t necessarily a guarantee I don’t have it, as I’m sure you know. I do have fibromyalgia, and my pain is such that recently I’ve been worried about needing a wheelchair.

      It’s so hard. People are too often hateful and love a witch hunt, and fat hatred/bigotry isn’t only okay, it’s encouraged.

      I was fat before I got sick, and I spent a lot of wasted time “waiting” to be thin. I wish now I’d just gotten out there and done the things I thought I had to be thin to do.

      • I also have fibromyalgia with my lupus. I have had seven surgeries on my knees including two total knee replacements in the last four years. I am completely disabled when it comes to walking. So being fat and in a wheelchair people drop doors on me and make comments…just generally not nice. I have a feeling if I was skinny and sitting in that wheelchair they would be fine with it.
        You are absolutely right about encouragement to heckle fat people. The experts call it tough love and then that makes it okay…NOT.

        I sure hope you are able to get some meds to help you with your pain and you don’t have to go to a wheelchair.
        Take care of yourself.

        • I also have fibro, and after a recent very bad flare my ana came back positive, so more test coming but with my history, Lupus is likely. I use a cane at home and I have a private walking trail so I use my cane then. I have to admit, I never use it in public because I can’t deal with the smirks, glares and giggles. Am I an athlete? Well I would like to see one of these “shirtless wonders” suddenly struck with my level of pain and then shopping, working going to meetings and all the other things we do daily, without a cane. I would like to see them trying to walk a 70 pound lab puppy lunging at a rabbit, while using a cane. (me not the dog lol) I am old enough to remember when it was considered rude to make a negative comment on a person’s appearance. I remember being taught, at home and school to defer to disabled people. I am from a traditional southern family so rudeness was never tolerated, we were disciplined to not stare at anyone outside the norm, because it might hurt their feelings. We were taught to think before speaking and to put ourselves in the other persons shoes, would we want someone to say that to or about us? I am not saying we should go back the “good old days” as they weren’t necessarily good, but there is a lot of good in being civil, polite and considerate.

          • I can remember those days too, although I was born in the early 80s. Now it’s so judgemental, and stereotypical. We’re living in the 1890s again.😦

          • My dad (daddy) was brought up in the south and my parents always showed true respect for everyone. I don’t even remember them teaching me to act this way, I just followed their example. The things that scares me the most is that the bullies are breeding bullies. My husband and I were talking the other day and we both said that times are moving so forward with technology but some people are back in the stone age with their prejudices. When I read comments on the Yahoo page (of course they are anonymous) it sometimes makes me sick that people still have those old ugly comments with not an ounce of compassion. Just what makes people feel like they have the right to say whatever they want without the thought of filtering it first. I with you going back to the “good old days”.

    • It’s so sad to see how we read these articles and there are campaigns against bullying in school, and yet some adults do the very same thing….how sad that making cruel comments or being mean to others makes some people feel better about themselves. We want to stop bullying but, the same behavior that we are trying to stop is being done by the “adults”. We need to “Practice what we preach”.

  8. There’s a wonderful article in The Guardian today celebrating 100 years of the suffragettes. How’s this for a quote:

    “The real force that made the suffrage movement was the quality of the opposition,” wrote Rebecca West. “Women, listening to anti-suffrage speeches, for the first time knew what many men really thought of them.”

    I read some anti-HAES rants this morning and the quality of the thinking was so poor, I felt sorry for the guy for exposing himself in such a way.

  9. In a world where waking up as a fat person and not hating yourself is considered an act of rebellion, I’m proud to be a rebel. In a world where refusing to feed my body less food than it needs to survive in the hopes that it will eat itself and become smaller is considered a crime against society, I’m proud to be a criminal. In a world where loving my body is an act of revolution, I’m proud to be a revolutionary. They can say what they want, they can twist my words as they will, but they will not keep me down.

    Preach it, my beautiful fat sister!!! These are words to live by, and I want to engrave them on my heart and soul.

    • I’m a big fat woman. I have two young-adult daughters who are also overweight – due to genes and physical ailments. Since we’ve been reading this blog, we’ve noticed a striking change in our self-attitude. We’ve stopped hating our curvaceous, abundant, soft bodies. And, in return, our bodies are feeling better – more flexible, stronger, happier. It’s a very strange change after 45 years (for me) of trying and failing to lose weight, to actually LIKE my body. I’m so grateful to my friend for linking to your blog.

      • *HUGS* I’m so glad that you are inspired by the words Ragen shares.🙂 This made me happy – tears of joy welled up in my eyes. It’s amazing how much difference liking your body can make.😀

  10. You’re such an inspiration, Ragen.❤

  11. I have to feel sorry for people who would spend their precious time on Earth creating fora to spend hours arguing against one line in one article you wrote.

    It’s sort of like the end of Josie and the Pussycats when it turns out (SPOILER!) the villainous Parker Posey created the entire subliminal advertising scheme just to brainwash people into thinking she was cool.

    Look at it like that, and it’s pretty damn pathetic.

    I’d rather be creating art, seeing the world, reading books, watching movies, cooking good food, playing with my cat, doing silly dances with Mr. Twistie, unclogging my drains, watching re-runs of favorite shows for the forty-seventh time… pretty much anything more productive than that.

  12. You know I am impressed with how you are dealing with it. I have a Troll who delights in telling me what a waste of space I am, and that every issue in my life stems from me being fat.

    You have dealt with it with class, and a reminder that you are an Inspiration to so many of us.

    Did you know a dance company in Sydney, Australia is creating a work specifically with fat dancers/people all about how a fat body moves and what it is like to be fat. I think it shows that the message is slowly trickling into the mainstream more and more.

    The more we stand up and show ourselves as the wonderfully, normal and flawed indavidials we are yes you will attract trolls and haters but that comes with the territory, Look at Ghandi and anyone who wants to bring about great change in the world they did so not by buying into the hate but by going forth and living in spite of it.

  13. Reblogged this on Heavenlyimaginings's Blog and commented:
    I had to share this because I to know what it’s like to be Trolled, but also because there is so much truth to this article, waking up fat and not hating yourself is an act of rebellion well sign me up as a rebel!

  14. That’s excellent. I’ve always been hesitant to call myself a runner or an athlete, but after reading that even elite runners suffer the same self-doubt and reading your words here, I will happily call myself Athletic, especially since completing a hellish 4 mile + 40 obstacle mud run this weekend, mostly walking.

    Your sentiments remind me of a runner I looked up to when I first started: he didn’t care if you were slow or couldn’t run more than a half mile. He was always delighted, welcoming, and encouraging when new people “drank the koolaid,” so to speak, and joined the community for the joy and challenge of movement.

    Elitism is discouraging. I am thrilled at the numbers crowding a starting line and their friends and family who cheer everyone on to the finish. *Only good can come from widening the community of athletes, fitness enthusiasts, runners, walkers, and movers and shakers of all sorts.🙂

    • If you complete a mud run, you’re an athlete! Those suckers require athleticism, strength, endurance, and an amazing pair of cojones, if you ask me.😉

  15. Hi! I know this isn’t really related to the specific post, but I have a question for all of you. I am an usher at a show, and our seating arrangement is definitely not radically hospitable to fat people. Our seats are small, and our aisles are narrow. How can I make the experience more comfortable for everyone?

    • You are awesome for asking! There are several things I would suggest: have folding chairs that you can set up, sometimes you can put them in the area for disabled seating, or in front of the front row etc. Perhaps bring up the issue to management and suggest that you work on it proactively – maybe remove a row/rows of seats and replace it with folding chairs or a bench? Make it part of the accommodations language on your booking site (“our seats are X inches across. if that doesn’t work for you click here/send an e-mail etc. and we’ll make sure that you are accommodated.)

      Does that help?

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

  16. Reblogged this on Luscious Words and commented:
    They can try, and they will…but no one will keep me down! Thanks again to Ragen for her inspirational post.

  17. You go girl!! You inspire me every day!

  18. I love this! …there is nothing more frustrating that trying to argue with people whose whole mission is to antagonize you… Thanks for remembering, and reminding the rest of us, to keep waking up, fat, and not hating ourselves.🙂

  19. “In a world where refusing to feed my body less food than it needs to survive in the hopes that it will eat itself and become smaller . . .”

    This is an interesting statement to me, suggesting that burning fat for energy is intrinsically undesireable. If we don’t retain fat in order to use that energy later then what purpose does it serve?

    • Hi Pantardovski,

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t argue that using retained fat for energy, for example in a starvation situation, is a bad idea. I am suggesting that purposefully creating a starvation scenario with the goal of changing the size of a body is a bad idea.

      ~Ragen

  20. The participants who have to put others down are the most insecure about their own physical performance. In the running world there is a very big emphasis on whether bodies “look athletic.” It can be a kind of fitspo mobius strip if you buy into it. I myself look fairly athletic right now, but have some pretty weird recent health problems that shock people. (“BUT YOU LOOK SO HEALTHY, CHRISSY!!!!” It actually makes an interesting segue into conversations about what health really is/means.) My self-doubt as an athlete used to come out in harsh criticisms of how my body looked, because I do not have a “runner’s body.” I don’t buy into that nonsense anymore. I DO WHAT I WANT.

    Fun story: I was spectating at a race this past weekend that was a team relay: running, mountain biking, horseback riding, and kayaking. The first woman runner to come in was very muscular and solidly built, but not the typical “runner-skinny.” She crushed the 3.5 mile distance in 90+ degree heat. Thinner women were (some of them) almost ten minutes in her wake.

    Some runners get very “serious” (KINDA BORDERLINE OBSESSIVE? Possessive? IDEK I am still trying to articulate runner culture) and feel like those who “aren’t as serious” (thin? muscular? fast?) are “ruining” the sport. They’re pretty much assholes, basically. Sorry for the cuss word. Also, there are events that are simply put badly run. Not all race directors are created equal. At poorly directed races I have run into everything from t-shirt shortages to inadequately marked courses to late starts. Since events can be pricey to enter, it is a good idea to google them and see what kinds of experiences others have had, and to ask questions ahead of time.

    Did you ever end up getting a t-shirt, Ragen?

    • UGH ALSO I MUST ADD WHO ARE THESE TROLLS, THE ATHLETE POLICE??? Why do THEY get to decide who is/is not an athlete?!

    • I’m guilty of it, myself, feeling anxious when the people around me “look” VERY fit and reminding myself that I belong here, too. The race two days ago didn’t even provide water at the finish line. Wtf? June 1 heat outside Austin, TX, ain’t no trifling matter, and that’s a pretty basic necessity to eff up.

      • No water??? THAT IS RIDICULOUS. I understand those comparison feelings. I used to do that a lot and sometimes I still do. You definitely belong. It is your race/event as much as anyone else’s. I always remind myself of this while I run. “This is my race. I’m not running her race. I’m running my race.” That thought helps me a lot. Yeah, and I should have put scare quotes around my statement that I “look athletic.” Only by conventional standards. Athletes come in every size and shape and age, too. In fact I had my ass handed to me in a marathon I ran last November — a woman who was probably in her early 70s BLAZED past me. I had a Wayne’s World “I’m not worthy!” moment.😀

  21. My college painting teacher once said something to the effect that when an artist tried something new, something different, it was like he/she was giving the rest of us permission to do it too. When Pollack splattered paint on a canvas or when Picasso deconstructed faces, artists from that moment forward now had something new to grab from in their pursuit of expression through art.

    I see that too in you and others who have decided that regardless of what others think or how they behave, you are going to be who you are and enjoy every minute of it. You are in essence giving so many people permission (not that anyone actually needs that but sometimes it is a great help) to be themselves and like themselves right here, right now and just as they are.

    Keep fighting the good fight. As Einstein once said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

    And Schopenhauer too, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

    We’ve made it to stage two it seems.

  22. Trolls are everywhere. And they seemingly troll just about everything. I just read an article where Cheerios had to disable the comments section on the YouTube version of a commercial with a biracial family because the comments were so vile.

    http://www.today.com/news/cheerios-ad-mixed-race-family-draws-racist-responses-6C10169988

    The anonymity of the internet leads to the some of the worst troll behavior. I find that although I get some reaction in the “real world” the worst of it is in the on-line realm.

    • OMG, I just keep reading articles about trolls and bullying today. What is wrong with our society??? Food allergy bullying? for real?

      http://www.today.com/moms/familys-battle-against-food-allergy-bullying-6C10140999

      I wish that Fat bullying and such got as much press… but the tweet from that obnoxious evolotionary psych PhD did get a lot of press today. I hope that the backlash becomes a learning experience for the unenlightened.

      • I can understand the allergy bullying because kids just think it’s funny and they don’t understand the consequences.

        But that guy Miller today? Ghastly.

        • Miller was definitey ghastly.

          I was happy to read the article on food allergy bullying, because in this instance it became a teachable moment and the result was positive. But it pains me to hear that adults (the sub teacher) was such a jerk.

        • His arrogance astounded me. The actual linking of “eating discipline” with “writing discipline” was so asinine to be shocking. Then the little hashtag of #truth that he added? That made it 87% more obnoxious. Who is he to BODY-POLICE who may or may not enter graduate school? There is plenty of arbitrary gatekeeping in Academia. It is one reason I left: those who are “in” are very careful/paranoid about maintaining that status, in some cases. Not everyone, but some people, yes. (I was once told by a prof. in grad school after I had my first baby that “my priorities were not in the right place” and I would ultimately be a giant failure in everything I did. True story. Actual email from a prof.) And funnily enough, my eating habits had almost nothing to do with completing an impressive 200+ page dissertation on archaeology and American women’s writing. Luckily there are amazing, awesome academics in all shapes and sizes. Most of the ones I know are motivated by intellectual passions and a love of their students.

          • I’m very thankful that I’m entering a field where size doesn’t seem to be an issue too much. Social workers are trained to see worth in all people.

            • I wish you the best of luck! I don’t think I could handle that job. I am sure you will do good things for a lot of people.

              • I think it’s a calling rather than a job. It’s a field where, in order to be successful, you have to be willing to go above and beyond.

                • I wish you all the best in this vocation! I am still searching for mine, after all that.

    • Youtube is notorious for having one of the worst troll communities on the internet. If I EVER do videos again on that site, ALL my comments will always be turned off. It’s not worth your sanity.

  23. You are so fucking awesome. And thank you for the regular blogging; I need inspiration and intelligence on a regular basis!

    • I know right? I get an almost daily dose of size positive encouragement thanks to this blog and it really makes a HUGE difference in my life. It helps to offset all the nasty negativity that us fat people are bombarded with on a daily basis.

  24. Hateful trolls. I noticed they also chose to fixate on the gun time rather than the chip time for your race, the gun time being much longer and the inaccurate measurement (chip time measures your actual race time from crossing the start to crossing the finish, while gun time begins when the race begins, even if you are in the back of the starting lineup — that’s where walkers begin — and if it takes several minutes for the crowd to reach the starting line.

    Sorry you had to see their site. I was sorry I saw it.

  25. Thank you for your courage, your inspiration and your commitment to create a world where people of any size can get along without hating. I was saddened to hear that the trolls were up to their old tricks of hating and baiting. I am proud to be who I am and you have helped create the healthy way I look at myself now. Thank you for all you do, all you fight for and all you are. Much Love to you, keep up the good work, we are all there fighting along side you.

  26. as RuPaul said “Derogatory slurs are ALWAYS an outward projection of a person’s own poisonous self-loathing”

    And I am not sure what the person from NZ was talking about with his ‘society matrons’ comments, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that that is a man who RAILED against the PC police a time or two. IO am a big fan of people complaining about “the PC police” as soon as I hear it I know I can ignore anything else they say with impunity.

  27. Thank you, Regan! Your thinking and writing are always an inspiration and validation. Many times I’ve had the question “Why are you proud of being fat?” I am proud that, as a fat person, I have lived my life fully in a world that hates the way I look. Despite being told continuously that fat people cannot have love or success I know that I am successful and beloved.

  28. Thought I’d throw this thought out there. I have seen the page(s) that you’re speaking of and it really makes me pause in thought.

    Over there you have a page that is notorious — NOTORIOUS — for sucking people in. So much so it’s an internet meme. So, since they haven’t got the bollocks to step out from behind their screen name, any mister anonymous can claim he runs 5k in his sleep… or is trying to lower his time… or he can do all the work of a busy housewife without breaking a sweat in under an hour…. but he has nothing but the text he writes from his fingers – on a site that sucks people in hours on end.

    Yeah, I’m almost… ALMOST about to believe them. Almost. … ok, yeah, I’m lying. I have no faith in any of their attempts at grandeur or ego stroking. And you know what? That’s ok. No one should have to live their life attempting to appease others or worry about what perfect strangers think of them. No one. Internet is not an exception.

  29. Just wanted to say, since reading this blog I’ve experienced some very strange thoughts and sensations. I’ve started… almost… LIKING my body. Went to Aquafit this morning, had a good instructor, and man was I boppin’ along! The Locomotion was a hoot! That’s the first time I’ve felt free to really enjoy exercising. Thank you!

  30. I’m a “normal weight” person (whatever the hell that is) and I like to participate in 5k’s and half-marathons. The fatties, and don’t mean that in an insulting way, who I see participating make me proud. I’m proud of their spirit, strength and ability. I don’t care what speed they go, a mile is a mile is a mile and quite a few of them absolutely stomp me. There is a sport for everyone, sometimes it just take a while to find it. By the way, dancing IS a sport as well as an art. I enjoy this blog a lot, thanks for writing it.


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