Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 4th recap, and...

Yesterday was lovely. We went to the parade in Piedmont, as we had done last year. It was a lot of fun, and even bigger, as it is the town's Centenniel. So we found a place for our chairs on the parade route (no easy feat!), then went for the community pancake breakfast. It's always so interesting to meet people and chat with them in a venue like this.

Then we headed off to our seats and shortly the parade started. Lots of bagpipes, dogs, small children, interesting old cars, and a couple of stagecoaches. The funniest group was the "lawn chair brigade." It was lovely.

We had lunch in the park, afterward, listening to the music and watching the crowd. Then, after so much heat, we headed back home for some lovely sex and a nap. We ate dinner at S' house, then headed to my place to watch The Patriot and eat our yogurt & strawberries in blue bowls, so we were officially smarmy!

Last night was hot! But still it was lovely to have someone to snuggle with and it made my day to wake up with S and be all cuddly in the morning before I went to work.

Sadly, my work has been a bit stressful today. I'm probably experiencing a bit of the post-day-off blues, but it's still frustrating. Hippy Chick gave me some lovely support and her best social worker pep-talk.

My frustration of the day was increased by reading this. So I've written a response, which I'm posting below. Just a warning, it's a bit long...

Dear Mr. O’Neill:

I just read your opinion piece, Fat Bastard, and felt a need to write to you to congratulate you on the most outrageous and rude stereotyping that I have had the privilege to read in print recently.

Stereotypes are often perpetuated by people who have no personal connection to the group that they are stereotyping, so I thought I would step forward to give a face to fat. My name is Spins and I live in the Bay Area. I am a social worker and a therapist. I am fat.

I am not going to go into a long spiel about how I exercise and eat right. I’m not going to try to justify my life to you, or my body. I’m sick of having to do that all the time. What I will say is that my father comes from a long line of fat folks, and that I grew up the short, fat kid in a house with a tall, skinny sister, so obviously it isn’t just about what you are taught to eat.

Let me tell you what this example of a “devolution of the species” does with an average day. I get up in the morning and go to work. I work with people who are chronically ill, many with illnesses attributed often to obesity. But the majority are not obese. They are just sick.

I help people with their benefits, with dealing with the stress of having an illness and having to face the medical establishment every day. I help people access resources because we barely provide enough in benefits for people who have worked to survive in the Bay Area. I share the grief of losses and the joy of new hope. It is, in short, an emotional roller coaster. After that a couple nights a week and on Saturday mornings, I see individual clients dealing with the stress and overwhelm of day-to-day life.

When I come home, I may sit to watch a television show or I may go out with friends or my partner. I like to do lot’s of strange and interesting things…swimming, belly dancing, music, theater, hiking, going to readings, singing.

Because I am fat, I have had to deal with people like you all my life. Believe me, I know that I’m fat. I think I got the hint when a classmate left an anonymous note in 3rd grade with the words “Fat Pig” on the one side and the picture of a pig on the other. As an adult, I realize that this behavior is not unexpected from children. Children need to be told that being a bully is considered antisocial behavior. I would think that an adult would know better.

I am no one’s “living metaphor” of anything, let alone “a rapacious, gluttonous, nation of swine.” I am a person, who takes pride in the energy I put into the lives of other people. I am a woman who loves, despite the messages I am inundated with on a daily basis, her body and her life.

Before you decide to write another article based so grossly on stereotypes, why don’t you try to get to know a person who represents what you think of as the stereotype. Once you have that person in your life, think of them as you type the words “Fat, dumb and ugly” and see if maybe, just maybe you might be compelled to look for a different analogy for the way in which our country squanders our resources.



1 comment:

hammer said...

that's a good letter. good for you!