I take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the day and how lucky I feel to be on this ride. I don’t take my mobility or the weather for granted.
Holy F Even Cartoons Are Creating Body Shame These Days!
Just before Mark and I left to drive up to Ventura for another few days of R and R riding the beach, I killed time by watching the Simpsons, a long running cartoon that skewers American culture, family stereotypes , fads and every other thing you can think of. It centers around Homer, a beer-guzzling, donut bingeing, somewhat good-hearted, somewhat clueless idiot, his long-suffering blue-haired wife Marge, and his three kids. I usually enjoy the Simpsons, and since I’ve been studying voice acting, I watch as many cartoons as possible to mimic the voices and study the line delivery.
But imagine my chagrin, when this episode centered around Homer’s fat ass being stuck in an auditorium chair and his ripping the entire row up as he tried to rise for a standing ovation for a performance of his kids. He then went on to exclaim about “Don’t fear me”, inferring he, and his fat-assedness were indeed monstrous. Homer then was persuaded by Marge to go to Fattie’s Anonymous to get help losing weight, and instead, comically landed in a support group for being proud of your size. This group glorified gaining weight as wonderful, were shown as blubberous idiots in denial of their health, and even as Homer has the wondrous realization that for once he could be PROUD of who he actually was, the group is arrested for protesting, can’t fit in the cell, the leader dies at 23 from heart failure as he attempts to rise from his scooter chair, and the funeral gag showed about 25 urns of ashes being needed for this big fatties’ cremation. The end result? Homer says to Marge, “I’m sorry Marge, I’ll never try to be proud of myself again. I’ll yoyo diet until I get it right”. Then we see the years flash by as Homer balloons and shrinks, becomes buff and big and small and flabby, until finally he is buff and his now adult kids are proud of him when Homer is about 65 years old. Yes, I admit the Simpsons had good jokes in this episode, and this show skewers every group eventually. But I couldn’t believe how depressed I was by it. For the underlying societal expectations could not be more clear.
- You are a sloppy monster (not one of us) if you can’t fit in a seat
- You should be ashamed of yourself if you are not trying all you can to get thin
- Large size equals ill health and death
This really bugged the hell out of me and I am struggling to let it go. Now, it is NO surprise to me that in my culture, body fat is considered bad in every way. It is no surprise that fat people are considered “less than” and somewhat stupid – after all, ONLY an idiot would not address this BURNING HEALTH ISSUE. So what if there are eating disorders blooming all across the nation based on these ideas? After all, isn’t it BETTER to be THIN at ANY COST? I say no, but then again, I am not thin.
I am putting my energy into living my life outside of the focus and compulsion of trying to change my body. Unlike Homer, for the the last year, I have not yo-yoed “Trying to get it right”. I have instead accepted my body, even while I WISH I could fit in seats better.
The only positive I can see from this cartoon episode is that I identify anger at these ideas and portrayals vs. at myself for being one of the skewered group. This is huge. I don’t feel compelled to change so as not to be laughed at by a cartoon stereotype. I don’t accept the stereotype. I don’t dispute some of what the stereotype is based upon. I can also take a joke. But what this episode represents makes me very sad. Not for me, but that I live in a society that cannot accept size as an actual usual difference among humans.
Love you K from the Pantages
This damned Simpsons episode could not have come at a worse time. As I have ranted during my show, my pair-shaped butt and large thighs do NOT fit into coach seats on airplanes OR in the small, historical seats of the Pantages Theater in Hollywood where Mark and I have season tickets. Note that Mark weighs much more than I do, AND he’s about 7 inches taller. And HE can fit because his weight is in his tummy, not his ass. I really DO feel like a monster when I try to shoehorn myself into these seats and it’s even worse when I have a left-hand neighbor giving me the “Oh my god you are fat” glare. To be fair, this has only happened once – but that was enough.
Now It’s time to consider re-upping for next season or not. Not thinking that anything could be done (outside of me losing about 40+ pounds), I called the theater to explore possibilities. I was lucky enough to speak with a friendly, compassionate, and cool dude who I’ll call K. According to K there is a small chance that I can at least purchase the seat to my immediate left as well, later on when the season tickets are all re-purchased or not. There are some seats in the theater that have armrests that come up (but these would not work with Mark’s need to be on an aisle). So bottom line, I need to decide if the thrill of seeing the shows are worth the physical and emotional discomfort of the theater’s seats.
I loved speaking with K as he was so funny and compassionate. I told him, “I just don’t have an historic Hollywood body. I’m much more a midwest kind of lady”. We also talked about Kinky Boots and diversity and other topics. K never made me feel badly and followed up with compassion. In his email outlining my options, he added a PS,
“Remember, you are PERFECT as you are.”
Off to Ventura
Let’s leave rant-ville and focus on the fun possibilities in life. Fat ass or not, my strong legs can peddle me all over the place! I love to see the coast line, and given the weather many are suffering with Winter Storm Marcus, I am glad to be riding with MY Mark instead.
Since I’m blogging, I’m combining my status here:
BB (Body Balance) number 9 Sleep: 9 hours divided (good first 4, good next 4, good last 1) Tummy/Gut: balanced. Hungry after 1 hour of waking. Small breakfast satisfied. Will eat again before our ride. Energy: High. Mood: Happy and grateful (except for the seat fitting rage)
BB is my personal criteria, and I don’t think too hard about it. I ask myself at the keyboard, what is my BB? A number between 1-10, including halves, pops into my head. I write it in my post Then I figure out why it is higher or lower and gently make note.
If you are interested these are my measures.
- Sleep. Quality and Amount.
- Tummy/Gut – If I ate what my body asked for, usually above and below the belly button feel balanced. Ate too much, below the belly button feels more full. Ate too little, the reverse.
- Am I hungry within 1 hour of waking? I have found that I feel best if I am hungry within 1 hour of waking. This tends to make my eating day even and not heavy on food in the evening. But I don’t eat if not hungry unless I’m about to ride or hike. I’ve learned I need to fuel these morning activities, or I’ll bonk.
- What is my energy level? Subjective, but telling.
- A quick look at my mood.
The Bravery Coach
TheBraveryCoach daily tweet is a morning mediation on how I either did, or can incorporate an aspect of bravery into my day. It is cheerful. It is esteem building. Those who want to follow these on Twitter may, by searching for the hashtag #bravery or by seeing my profile: