Saturday, October 19, 2013

The F word

I have a confession: sometimes when I walk down the street, shop at the grocery store, or am biking around Phoenix and I see a person who is obviously overweight, I immediately think to myself: "Wow, that person is F-A-T!" I am ashamed to admit it even if that person really is overweight. 

Should we call these people out on their weight? What should we think about them? Should we judge them and say: "Why can't they just loose weight?" If we see them in the grocery store and judge them for what they put into their cart. "You really should not be eating those chips or drinking that cola." Maybe we should go up to them and say "You should really lose some weight" or give them diet advice. Even if we do not say it, are thoughts just as bad as actions? 

As a person who was teased for the majority of his elementary school and all of his middle school years for being fat, I feel ashamed to think the same thoughts that my bullies thought when they saw me. 

The thing that bothers me with these thoughts are that they are so automatic for me and society in general. Pictures of fat people on Facebook continue to pop up, and the reaction is usually mixed.  For example, back in the summer, the above picture of a man falling off his automatic scooter as he reaches for a pack of soda made the rounds on Facebook and the inter webs. 

Comments were all over the place from "What a loser" to "What has America become" to "He[?] is so pathetic" and finally "Why doesn't he lose some f-ing weight!"

Honestly I did not know what to think when I saw this picture. My emotions were mixed and torn between "Wow, I am glad I am not like that" to "I hope he is alright." 

I thought about my reaction to these situations and I realized why they occur. For me, I think that they pop up so automatically because seeing those pictures or people makes me feel insecure about myself. I am still afraid of becoming like that or like them, that I put up this wall of humor and ridicule to separate myself from that pain as much as possible. I create an illusionary "self." They are different from me; I am somehow better than they are. Both of these statements are obviously not true.

They suffer just like I do. They have feelings just like I do, so instead of seeing their differences, I should greet them with compassion and an open heart. That is all I can do to help them. Criticizing whether in my own mind or to their face does nothing but build walls between me and them and inflates an artificial ego.  

My initial reaction of disgust is not the problem until I begin to nurse and entertain these thoughts further instead of simply letting them go. Hopefully in time and with mindful practice, I will eliminate my own fears of being overweight and with them, these thoughts. Then, I can remove at least that F word from my vocabulary. The other f word is entirely fair game though...but thats just my two watts. 

I would love to hear your comments on this, so message me, leave them on facebook, twitter, or below. 


  1. I enjoyed reading this Chris.

    I hope people will soon detach themselves from the false sense of security gleaned from such downward comparisons - with a person fatter, balder, more wrinkled, or poorer than themselves. Just as we reassure ourselves with fleeting glance at our reflection in a parked car's window, we've somehow evolved to employ such comparisons to bolster our sense of worth. It's one reason why so many people enjoy watching Homer Simpson be himself - "Thank God I'm not that fat, bald, or dumb!"

    Such thoughts imbue a smugness that not only sets us content, but dispels compassion where it was needed most. And so I agree with you: Eliminate your fears, and if you get the chance, share your personal aspirations with all the Homer Simpsons in the world - keeping in mind that every person is, in some way, your teacher.

    1. What a great comment! Everyone is a novice and everyone is a teacher! Love it! Thanks for reading :)

  2. Good article dude, been there on all fronts. We shouldn't judge based on appearance but rather their own opinion. Someone might be comfortable and totally happy, not everyone lives to be fit, or even healthy and who are we to judge? People should be judged based on their actions. If someone knows they're fat, hates that fact but does nothing about it but complain, then maybe they do need a kick in the ass. It's important to look at their opinions of themselves before offering ours up.