Fat Wheelchair Lady goes Rawr

Before I started this blog I sent an email to Fatshionista. I did this because I didn’t consider writing about it myself on my own forum, and after they asked permission to quote the email Lesley wrote a beautiful post. It made me feel things, which of course happens often. I felt anger, relief, and then that flash bulb of understanding. Here is a link to the article, so you can read it too.

This made me think, and although I commented on the blog, I wanted to elucidate here. I want to devour the world in a way, to show them what is inside my head. Oh yes, I am fat. I never was a thin girl, I matched Marilyn Monroe’s size sixteen when I weighed a mere 120 pounds, but, I can still wear children’s gloves and hats.  It took me a long time to find body acceptance. Part of it was when I was over a size 32 and with in a day of cutting gluten out of my diet I miraculously shrank down to a 24. That was the poison vacating the premisis. I am a 22-26 depending on the cut right now, though when I eventually manage to save for that medically necessary and totally awesome corset, the size might change. It might go up, because supporting my 20lbs of breast tissue will change my shape.

My perspective on respect has been changing, I ruminate on it for hours on end, and I do know self respect comes first, but, is the disrespect towards the disabled not also disrespect towards the able bodied person? If they are so afraid of the concept of being like me, doesn’t that mean they hate themselves for the possibility of change? Is it really my fat or disability they fear? What if they fear instead, the reflection of themselves, the little bit of empathy?

What is it that the human mind has against change? Sure we elected Obama on a campaign of change, but, that was the lesser of the two evils for many. For others it was the bigger of the two. None the less, people fear change. Does my glamorous frame rolling into Walmart to buy a picture frame with my cat on my shoulder listening to my body for the warnings of a spasm from hell really mean you are going to be in the wheelchair yourself?

Does it mean you will someday have endocrine issues, dietary challenges, or a broken back suddenly spring upon you? According to medieval superstitious doctors, it actually does. Is this antidisabled world really still using a mindset from our self labelled DarkAges? I remember when I first read about it in school. I was in the room where they put the kids no one really wanted to deal with, the ones they feared, and I read a book off of the top shelf. It listed rare medical ailments and treatments from the middle ages, something i was utterly fascinated by, and stated that babies born with missing limbs, cleft pallets, and other visible defects, were maimed in the womb by some horror their mother saw. If the child was a dwarf, it was actually seeing another dwarf that made her child different.

In some towns in the US this belief is still taught from mother to daughter. I grew up in one of those towns, and at least my disabilities were hidden as a child. I just was percieved as a weirdo because of my hair and ability to twist my joints like no one else. I was literally tied to the tether ball in the playground and threatened with being burned as a witch. Good thing redhair means I have magical powers huh? There were few adults in my childhood who seemed to know I wasn’t a monster, and none of them were relatives. What saved me from being burned alive by my schoolmates? The principal thankfully knew better.

I was considered fat then too, I was only eight and now, as I look back I see I really just had a healthy weight. I had already started to grow breasts, which added to the appearance of heft, and being told I was fat by everyone, to try and demean me, caused me to begin to eat emotionally. I molded myself into the image of what the perverted thinkers told me I had to be. I cannot blame the media, but, I do blame society for that. I finally became healthy as an adult, but, then I broke my back.

Even now, I am justifying my weight to you, and to myself. I feel sexier than I ever have. I feel beautiful and when I was younger I never could say that. I look into the mirror and I like what I see, but, the wheelchair and the fact that my hour glass figure isn’t as small as a broom and that I am not anorexic means I am hideous? Hardly.

Lesley, at the end of the article states she felt like an asshole for exploring the question, but, to me she did something heroic. She faced her internalizations and subconscious fears of a difference in the world. If I was not disabled would I still be who I am? No. I am proud to say that when I was able bodied I did my best to treat even my disabled customers at work with equality, though, it may have been percieved as condescension.

The point of my rambling now, is this. I reject the superfluous nature of society, I reject the fact that people see ability and weight as one, and presume we all have the same issues. I am grateful I do not have the same issues as the rest of the world. Mine are not as bad as some, and are worse than others. Imagine if we had to share? The world would end.

For more reading on the topic of weight, ability, and social perception try these blogs:

Fatshionista: Ableism and Fat Activism

Shapely Prose: Exceptions that aren’t Just as a disabled person isn’t a broken able-bodied person, and a black person isn’t a darkened white person, and a woman isn’t a wangless man, a fat person isn’t just a thin person who ate too much.- Fillyjonk


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