Why fat-shaming needs to end

Don't read this if you believe the topic can be a trigger. 

I have been meaning to post on here for quite a while, but real life kept me busy. Real life kept all of us busy really. However, I cannot keep quiet anymore and I have to get this one out. I just have to.

As I was having lunch with my coworkers a few weeks ago, one just had to utter those words: ‘of course you are fat if you eat like that’ he said as he pointed towards my plate. Not that it is anyone’s business, but yes I am overweight and I have been struggling with my weight my entire life. I never tried to hide this fact. And second, I had a portion of egg fired rice on my plate with 5 tiny strips of Shanghai chicken.

I come from a part of the world where we don’t really talk about these things. I grew up surrounded by people like that and it never affected me. However, living in different places and experiencing different cultures made me realise that such behaviour is beyond unacceptable. It also made me understand where my classmates and friends who had been struggling with easting disorders and mental health issues were coming from. I had not experienced it myself, but I saw it. It was no longer just a concept that one heard about on TV and that no one really acknowledged as it happened my entire life in the country I was born in, but it become something real and most of all, something that needs to be tackled and talked about.

I understood that then and I understand it even better now.

Like I said, it is not like no one had tried to fat shame before, but this time it was a trigger. The moment those words reached my ears, I felt like I could not swallow the food in my mouth. I felt like running to the next restroom and throw up. It was not a conscious decision, I did not even realise what was happening at the time. It was almost like an out of body experience and yet it wasn’t.

After forcing myself to free my mouth of the food, I could not even look at my plate. The idea of eating made me nauseous and the worst part is that the feeling continued for the next few days. I struggled to eat. It was the worst feeling. It was like my mind was telling me one thing and my body another. The moment those words were uttered, my world changed. It was like a switch had gone off in my brain.

While I am feeling better now, I cannot forget that feeling and unease. I tried, but from time to time it hits me again. It hurts less each time, but it is still present. This was one incident, but it changed my world, my perspective. While meeting people suffering from eating disorders made me get it a little bit better, it still does not compare to the way I felt when it happened to me. That is completely normal. After all, no matter how understanding you might be, you cannot grasp what it truly means and does to ones body and mind.

I am not saying that I am an expert, I am far from it. Also, I am not trying to judge anyone here, I just wanted to share my story even if this is just one more story in a sea of many others. I do not expect sympathy or anything else, but I needed to get this out here. I needed this for myself, but also because no matter how many stories there are out there, they are still not enough. There are still people who do not even begin to understand what it is like and how much harm such words can do.

Those words were just thrown around at me by someone who probably does not even realise what they actually meant and yet they changed something deep inside, they broke something in a way I never felt before. I am sure that it does not even compare to what thousands if not millions of people feel and struggle with every single day, I am not trying to imply that I felt even a fraction of what they feel, but I just wanted to share my story as I mentioned above and bring your attention to something that is not talked about enough even if it might feel like it is to some. As long as there are people out there who do not even begin to get it, I say that we need to talk about this topic more and that fat shaming and all such behaviour needs to stop.

Once the worst happens, we might sit around and feel sorry for those who were not “strong enough” and yes, I used quotation marks for that as I believe those are the strongest of us all and they are the ones who had to live with such disorders probably their entire lives. After a few weeks, days or even less we stop thinking about them or we try our hardest to forget and we find all sort of excuses, but the truth is that it all falls down on us. They were not the ones who failed us, but we are the ones who failed them for refusing to understand and for refusing to discuss and be open when it comes to such topics. I was talking about society as a whole here and not point fingers at anyone in particular.

Again, I am not looking for sympathy or encouragement here. I just wanted to share my point of view on a topic that is sensitive and that needs to be discussed and understood.

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