Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shame Shame Shame...

Hello fat acceptance universe!

I miss you. I've been underwater emotionally for several months. I've been lurking around the sphere, but I've been isolating because of the hard times I've been having.

One of my dear friends and fellow bloggers recently let the community know that they were dealing with several serious health issues and had feelings of embarrassment about that fact.

It's definitely bullshit but it's powerful bullshit this feeling shame for being fat, for having health issues, for just being.

I'm blogging today because I can't not blog. I am blogging today because she inspired me to "come clean" with these thoughts.

I haven't blogged because I felt such shame about how "poorly" I have been doing. Fearful of the fantasy inside my head that goes something like this… One of my family members or a future employer or a critic of the fat acceptance movement takes what I write in my blog and uses it against me in some shape or manner. The problem with this is that most of my progress and victory over the spirit killing shame attached to all this stuff comes from sharing about it and having conversations via blogging. I get to connect with people who understand me. I get acknowledgment about my struggle. But most of all I just feel like I found the place where I belong. And I've spent my entire life feeling like I don't have the right to belong.

I already know there are people reading this and nodding their heads in recognition. My fellow citizens of the “sphere” can understand this because they've lived it.

I have spent the last year in this emotional paralysis and physical limitations which are related to my size and weight. I am in the midst of this battle that pits my fat acceptance knowledge against my old beliefs about me somehow being at fault for not trying hard enough.

The more I thought about it, the more overwhelming it felt. So I decided to just not deal with it. And I basically wound up in this sedentary zone of inaction.

Lots of health stuff going on, however, all the measurements that we use to indicate health, blood pressure, cholesterol, liver function, say that there's nothing wrong with me. Yet I was paralyzed three years ago and I still have not regained my core strength. I still have residual numbness and paralysis. I still need pain meds to function, except they are double edged sword in that it also limits me in many ways (feeling exhausted, lack or concentration, etc.)… Yet I get winded just from walking. Most of the time I'm pretty uninspired and just leaving the apartment became a huge chore. Objectively looking at it it's hard not to call it depression. That being said in my heart of hearts I do not think I am depressed. I'm uninspired. I don't like that it takes so much energy to move my body. And I really don't like sharing about this. My mind is racing right now wondering about all the judgment that people will be making about me and my situation.

Last November I moved back in with my family because I screwed up something with one of my disability income policies and I had to make the choice between health insurance or rent. As much as I love New York City and as much as it is embarrassing and scary to acknowledge that I moved back home, the thought of being without health insurance is much more scary.

There has been a lot of really good stuff that's gone on since I made this move. Really good good stuff that I wanted to blog about but I was too ashamed about moving back home… I feel like there is a giant "L" tattooed on my head.

I'm glad I finally got around to writing this post because I need to feel connected to the community of people who understand what it's like to be obese in the world and a culture and economy and a dating universe, as a patient in medical settings, in all these different segments of my reality where our culture stacks the deck against me.

My mind is racing with all the things I want to blog about. It feels like a dam that's about to burst because I've been too ashamed to post. And regarding future employment opportunities, there probably is some risk to being so forthcoming about what I'm up against.

My gut tells me that the benefits of reconnecting with my fellow tribe members will outweigh that risk.

Does anyone relate to this stuff? Any victories over shame that you care to share about or link to if you blogged about it?


  1. Ivan, I'm so glad your back to posting. I have been checking your site to see if you had unlurked.

    I'm sorry you feel like you've been tattooed with a giant "L". If my opinion matters at all, I think it shows a great deal of strength on your part that you were able to make what appears to be the most responsible decision for yourself and move in with family even though you knew your pride would take a hit. If you stopped for a moment and thought about all the really crappy decisions you could have made to keep your apartment and how badly those could have worked out, maybe you could see how not loser-ish you are.

    I had to swallow my own pride this week and see my doctor about hip pain. I have two chronic illnesses (not even remotely related to my weight) so I have to see doctors pretty regularly, but I still hold great fears for seeing a doctor regarding anything that could possibly be blamed on my weight. But I too swallowed my pride and did it. Ultimately, I'm glad I did.

    I know what you mean about not feeling depressed, even though you seem to exhibit a lot of symptoms. I've totally been there. I wish I had advice for you, I just knew there was something wrong with my thyroid and after a couple of specialists, ultimately my GP prescribed thryoid meds and that turned me around quite a bit. The only other suggestion I might have is making sure you're getting enough high quality sleep.

    I hope you feel better soon. This community needs your voice.

  2. Good to hear from you, Ivan. Thinking good thoughts for you on your journey back to blogging!


  3. @Kate- thanks for talking about seeing a doctor for something new. I have a terrific set of doctors who understand and respect my decisions about fat acceptance. Whenever I need to see a new doctor I go through that same anxiety you spoke about. I've been very lucky in that arena which is one of the reasons I chose to do what I did regarding my health insurance… All my doctors were under the same umbrella so all my information is interchangeable on the computer system and I think that works in my favor when I come to see a new doctor because they see I've been treated by this system for many years. Good luck with your quest for an understanding/solution/relief from the pain that you spoke about.

  4. Thank you for your frankness about these things. It's very difficult to be fat and have any sort of health difficulties, and heaven forbid you be diagnosed with anything that is supposedly fat-related or even just made worse by fatness. The shame and embarrassment can be very hard to deal with. Thank you for being frank about your situation, and NO, you do not need an "L" on your forehead!

  5. Hi, Ivan! I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. The reality is that life is not always perfect, even after FA comes into our lives. This is important to talk about, because none of us are alone, even though it might feel like it sometimes. I am moved by your courage to keep going in life, even in the face of feeling "uninspired." Hang in there, internet friend.

  6. Hurray for breaking through the 'shoulds' our brains are so good at tying us in knots with - it's good to 'hear' from you. (Moving back in with your parents sounds like the sane solution to the situation you were in - all the more so if it's lead to more 'good stuff' as you suggest)

  7. *Hugs* No need for shame. I know it's not easy (I had to move back home at one point, too), but you have to do what's right/best for you at any given moment in time.
    I find that when I'm at a point where moving/speaking/being heard is at it's most difficult, it also tends to be the most important.
    Moving your body is hard when you're in pain. But keep at it, it will get better with time and we're all right here rooting for you!
    You can do it! And we can't wait to read about it! <3