I’m still shocked and saddened by Tom Brokaw’s radio message. Here’s the link to my previous post, just in case you missed it. If I could sit down with him, I’d explain that this is what he needs to know.Weight is the easiest target. It’s the first thing people use to bring you to your knees. It’s the last socially acceptable form of bullying in our culture. People think it’s perfectly acceptable to gasp, giggle, snicker or point at an overweight person. They don’t think twice about making rude comments (online and in person).
No one bats an eye. Sure it makes some people uncomfortable, but by and large no one says a word. Often we join in – smile, fake an uncomfortable laugh or actually make mean comments because we don’t want to be the next target.
The only people offended are fat people and it’s been previously established that they are less than the rest of us and don’t have any feelings. So it’s ok, right?
NO! It’s definitely not ok.
The truth is that most people feel some shame and discomfort about their bodies and/or their weight.
The funny thing (funny “interesting” – not funny “ha-ha”) is that you don’t have to be overweight to feel the shame. Many people feel the fear and shame of BECOMING fat because they don’t want to ever get there. As if it’s a destination.
They don’t want to be teased. They don’t want the shame. They witness everyday what other people say about overweight people and they DO NOT want to be included in that group.
The root of most of the pain is what will other people think? What if someone says something mean to me? What if they say something mean about me? What if they don’t think I’m beautiful? What if they really see me?
These are the exact types of scenarios that run through our heads every day from the moment we wake up until the minute we go to bed. We worry about OTHER people and how they will treat us and we let that determine how we treat ourselves.
So we hide. As best we can. We hide in baggy clothing. We hide by staying quiet. We hide by not taking chances. We hide by not standing up for what we believe in. We hide by not living our dreams. We hide by not taking the job or going on the date or taking the trip. We hide. We miss out. We are miserable.
All because we live in fear of being ridiculed, bullied, belittled or shamed.
We live in fear of what someone else thinks. We live in fear of what someone else may or may not do. We live in fear to protect ourselves. But we aren’t protecting ourselves – we are hiding and living small. The hiding is not safety. It’s further torture to our souls.
The truth is that we cannot control other people. As much as we’d like to, we don’t have that power. We can only control ourselves and what WE think. But that’s another blog post…
So messages like Tom Brokaw’s are dangerous because it tells people that it’s acceptable to shame someone if their physical appearance doesn’t meet our society’s definition of beauty.
Who decides that’s the definition anyway? The media perpetuates it. Children absorb it. Adults strive for it.
It’s not realistic. It’s maddening. It’s crazy making.
If you buy into all of that crap.
People are beautiful and worthy no matter what size pants they wear.
Feeling good about yourself, just the way you are, in this moment is the only way to live. You have to love yourself in order to want to make any lasting change. Love like this, is an inside job. It can’t be dependent or rely on anything from the outside world.
Fix the inside and the outside will follow.
My mission in life is to end body hatred.
I am not confused.