I didn’t realize how much I relied on body movement during my pre-pandemic lifestyle. Work-related walking, running errands, engaging in hobbies — I was constantly on the go. But, of course, that abruptly stopped in March 2020. There’s been a gradual increase in where I go and what I do, but body movement is definitely not the same. And my body reflects that…
I gained weight.
As someone over 250 lbs, gaining additional weight didn’t feel significant. Society hates fat people, and I have the closet of a chronic yo-yo dieter to show for it. I’ve learned not to worry about the number on the size tag and go by how it feels when I wear it. I also do several full-body selfie photoshoots each month. When my body changes, I am hyper-aware of it; it’s a constant struggle not to beat myself up.
My unexpected weight gain made me worry about returning to the office. Throughout the pandemic, coworkers would exercise on their treadmills during Zoom meetings. They’d congratulate one another for their discipline, even at the expense of their performance and participation. How would these people view their fat coworker who dared to get even fatter?
Society conditions us to view health as a privilege, referring to fatness as a form of abuse. Any visible increase in my size negatively impacts how others treat and perceive me. Verbally and physically assaulting fat people for being fat is acceptable in amerikkkan culture, resulting in various forms of trauma.
My fat isn’t a problem — society’s reaction to it is. People are hyperaware of what I eat, detailing my food’s portions, calories, and fat content. I’ve endured endless judgment and snide comments about my body, whether I do or don’t work out. The yells of “you go, girl!” when jogging outside, and the faux encouragement of “Don’t give up now! You can do it!” People respond to my body like it’s a spectacle; they comment on whether it’s acceptable or attractive. Any response to these casual violations of my personhood has been deemed an overreaction to their “concern.”
Let’s clarify that good Health is based on racist statistics. Health was meant to create a standard of “normal” that everyone compares to. Cisgender hetero able-bodied white men set that standard. The farther away you are from their “normal,”…