Monday, October 19, 2009

Responsible for Me

After a very thoughtful discussion on Friday (thanks to all who participated) I wanted to take this week to get back on message with this blog; i.e. body acceptance, HAES and fat issues.

Sometimes HAES has nothing to do with food and fat...sometimes it's just a matter of giving your body what it needs.

A while ago I posted about how I've brought the sun indoors to help with my SAD. JD commented the other day on the statement that I'd somehow abandoned my environmentalism in the quest for lumens. He said, essentially, "How is this against your principles? You're not wasting electricity if you're using it to improve your health."

That made me pause. I realized that in feeling guilty for all that wattage I wasn't taking my actual physical needs into account. It's not a matter of "oh my furniture looks better in incandescent light", it's a matter of "Hey I can function like a real human being if I use incandescent light in the winter."

I was essentially feeling guilty for taking up space.

Isn't this just internalizing the message that fat people take up more than their fair share? As a fat person I've been blamed for everything from global warming (because it takes more gas to haul my fat ass around) to world hunger (because if I didn't eat that slice of pizza, it would automatically displace itself to Kenya. Besides fat people eat more, dontchaknow).

When it's an obviously exaggerated claim like that I'm well able to spot it and refute. When it was a more subtle internalization, I had to have it pointed out to me.

Part of the problem of any prejudice in society is that it does become internalized, and the targets become their own enforcers. Do we avoid seeking medical attention, sometimes, because we feel like we don't deserve the doctor's precious time? Do we not complain or stand up for our well being in general because it would be a hassle?

But if we abandon our responsibility to ourselves in order to accommodate the time and resources of others, who are we living for?

Don't get me wrong, there has to be some compromise, give and take. If I need a doctor's appointment I can't demand that everyone else move their appointments to clear the time most convenient to me. What I can demand is that the office I am paying for medical care be able to see me and treat my concerns in a reasonable amount of time. Because if my mind or body needs medical care, I have a responsibility to myself to obtain it.

If my body needs light, then my responsibility to the planet does not trump my responsibility to my body. I can compromise by finding energy savings elsewhere, recycling, planting trees, etc. But I need to own up to my right to self-care, and turn up the lights.

1 comment:

Alix said...


When I was heavier I was always bracing for the lecture from doctors when I would go in for an appointment. I was fortunate not to be confronted with that, but it always seemed to be looming. It was only when I raced to my doctor fearing a cardiac episode (turned out I was over-replaced on thyroid meds which made my heart speed way up and palpitate) that the weight subject came up. There were no lectures but a matter of fact question: if you're so concerned about your health, what are you doing about it?

Who me?

That's when I had to take a hard look at myself and make some decisions. We all have to have personal accountability in life and the only thing that matters is being true to ourselves. We take from the planet what we need and hopefully leave something in return. But most important is quality of life. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you do... your first responsibility is to yourself and your right to happiness. NO ONE else has the right to decide that for you or make judgments on the share that is allowable or appropriate for you.

Soak in that light because you also radiate it.