Dangerous Compassions

fat is ok

This morning on our walk, I said good morning to the weird new guy on the corner like usual.  And I waved.  He slightly smiled and waved back.  I was surprised and very happy; always before, I said good morning and he just looked at me weird.  This is a huge victory!  Oh, to be acknowledged!

Also, that I could walk outside was amazing.  I was paranoid five days.  Ming and I walked to the darling chasteberry tree that I love.  He took my picture.

[Chasteberry Tree on the corner with Laura-Marie standing by it, smiling.]
“I’m standing weird because there’s a bunch of glass right here,” I told him.  “I’m in love with this tree.”

[Sunrise from my driveway.]
The sunrise was gorgeous.  I saw some godlight.  The moon was looking good too.  I saw a huge cloud that looked like a thunderhead.

The thunderhead looked like where I thought the mushroom cloud would be, from the test site.  That made me feel weird.  I asked Ming to point for me, where the mushroom cloud could be seen from town.  He pointed norther.

another triumph

Another triumph is I found a lighter on the sidewalk.  I picked it up because I’ve been wanting to start buying lighters for someone we live with.  He has the bad habit of lighting his cigarettes on the stove and has left it on, accidentally.

Some people are talking about putting an electric stove in the back house, to keep the elder from burning down the house.  Or wasting a ton of propane.  But I thought it would be easier to just buy the elder lighters, so he stops using the stove.  It would be cheaper too, probably.

So I picked up the little lighter.  “Does it have fluid in it?” I asked.  It felt very light as I shook it.  Then I flicked it on, and a flame did appear.  “Wow!  It works!” I said.

I held it in my hand the rest of the walk and felt dirty.


I had a friend who had anorexia, and I was in love with her.  We were besties, long ago.  She had this deep understanding of anorexia that I could never have, and she had another bestie who she’d met in treatment.  They could talk about it a special way.  They were both very thin, white women and slightly younger than I, both from money.  I felt excluded and cautiously jealous.

From her I learned the concept of pro-anorexia, people who would glorify and enjoy anorexia, and help one another do it with encouragement, tips, and photos.  I tend to be an open-minded person, but I was horrified.  It felt shady and beyond what I could be permissive about.

It reminded me of pockets of internet where people help one another learn how to commit suicide.  I couldn’t think that was ok.  I tend to be “live and let live.”  But I had to admit how yuck I found all that.

The jealousy and the fear were all mixed together.  And my longing for this friend I loved and wanted.

thin love

I love thin people and never hate on them.  Fat people are very dear to me, and fat is ok.  But I’m good with all body types.  When I hear anti-thin comments, I cringe and sometimes panic.  Someone sees a picture of a thin woman and says, “She needs to eat a burger,” which is supposed to be funny.  That hurts me.  No way do I want to work toward that world.

If we love fat people and understand that fat is ok, we need to love thin people too.  And thin is ok.  We need to love all the people.

Some say thin people have privilege, and you’re allowed to hate on the oppressor.  But people with eating disorders are not the enemy.  They suffer a lot.

I will not pretend thin people are my enemy.  The enemy is capitalism.  The other enemies are body shaming, misogyny, gender hate, denial, ignorance, fear.

Thin people are not the oppressor, especially those who get forced treatment.  My bestie had been a very upset kid, being shuffled among abusive treatment centers.   She deserves zero hate for any of that, or the pain she bears now as a result.


I bring all this up because I was thinking about my own fat liberation.  Fat is ok, which is partly what I base my life on.

Many people say that fat liberation “glorifies obesity.”  Fat shamers say, “How can you say being fat is acceptable?  Science shows blah blah blah.  You are encouraging people to be fat.  That is irresponsible and wrong!”

It’s a sad perspective.  Like I have a responsibility to hate myself.  Yuck–who would think that.  The haters believe I should spend every spare moment of my life in an effort to lose weight, or I’m a bad example for the children of the world, who will see a happy fat woman and be brainwashed into thinking it’s ok to be fat.

Then the children will eat poptarts and drink ten sodas a day, never exercise, and die young of diabetes or a heart attack, and it will be All My Fault.

Of course, it’s way more complex than that.  Yes, I will teach any kid to love themselves.  No, body shame is never on the lesson plan.

I’m not the food police.  Fat doesn’t indicate health, and health doesn’t indicate of value.  But personally I don’t eat poptarts or drink soda, I exercise almost every day, my heart’s ok, and I don’t have diabetes.

Fatness is not what thin people often think it is.  Also, wasting my life hating myself was not a way for me to help the world.

fat threat

Yes, happy fat women are very threatening.  I might take a walk down my street to visit a tree I love and see the sunrise.  Then I might smile and say good morning to a weird neighbor, and pick up a dirty lighter from the ground.

I am very dangerous, to be sure.  Beware my peace activism and radical mental health work, my dancing, the advanced wordplay.  My hugs can devastate you!

I laugh at the people who are worried I’m “glorifying obesity,” as I know a lifetime of the reality of “obesity” and the complex ways fatness feels.  How it functions and is used as a concept.  What happens to me in doctors offices.  The way fatness and fear of fatness are used to make billions of dollars through opportunistic manipulation.

I laugh at people who want me to stop loving myself and being so happy.  Mostly concern for health is a ruse.  When I looked for resources online for fat cyclists, I learned more about that.  Fat cyclists are as valid as any other kind of cyclists.  Yet the hate I found was enough to traumatize me and drive me off the internet for a day.  “Wow, remind me never to google that again!” I told Ming, dizzy with emotional pain.

the realization

Then I was remembering myself years ago, horrified by pro-ana ideas that offended me.  Suddenly I had a glimmer of compassion for people who really do believe fat is bad.  I know fat is ok, but they don’t.  Convinced by the covers of checkout magazines, specious common sense, tv doctors–they really do think fat is the enemy, and they will live forever if they “eat right, exercise, and lose weight.”

Their ignorance is sad.  Maybe some of them really do care about public health.  But people who really care about public health have an understanding deeper than a puddle, I hope.

I don’t want to provide a comprehensive guide to fat liberation or the truth about fat, in this post.  Maybe I’ve said a weird amount.  You might already know how the weight loss industry is a scam, fat people are abused in medical contexts, and body shame is a pandemic of woe.


The new thing for me was compassion, partly based on the experience I had, with the pro-ana people.  I finally put those together and came to a new conclusion.

Fat is ok.  Thin is ok.  Mysteries about extreme thinness I will never know.  As mysteries about extreme fatness, I can know, and others may not.  I recognize all of that.

Fat shame could kill me; it almost did.  Doctors abused me into a medical phobia.  I had told Ming not to take me to a hospital if I was dying.  Luckily last year when I was dying, bleeding to death from a stomach ulcer I didn’t know I had, I changed my mind.  He took me to the hospital, and I lived.

I don’t usually have a lot of patience with people who fat shame.  Developing new compassions feels nice.  The end.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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