“We all have to do our best with the body that we have. And leave everyone else’s alone.” This is the last line from a powerful @HuffPost article that a friend shared. The article (Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong) is about the experience of being fat and how we treat people who are fat. And how we’re getting it wrong when we blame people for their weight. I highly recommend looking it up no matter how much mass you carry — after all, we all have bodies, and we all experience other people experiencing our bodies. I’ve had two babies, and the #postpartum period has been the only time in my life I’ve really had an “overweight” BMI. Luckily, I didn’t experience any direct, hurtful comments about my body during that period (though I was constantly braced for them). But now that I’m below my pre-pregnancy weight again, I have noticed some things. How many more strangers smile at me. How many other moms chat me up at the park. How many more men hold doors open for me. The world is nicer and easier now that my BMI is firmly “normal” again. The contrast to my experience as an overweight person feels stark and helps shed light on part of why that time felt harder. I realize that my experience is limited and my heart aches that weight has any impact on our social interactions at all and especially for those whose pain is greater than my own. It’s not fair and it’s not right. And it makes me take stock of the ways in which I treat people differently based on their size and vow to do better. Mine is just a small sliver of experience. What is your experience? Tell me about a time when folks made your body their business. And please share any tips for how to respond!
Published by Emily P.G. Erickson
Emily P.G. Erickson is a writer with a master's degree in psychology. Her service journalism and personal essays about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood have appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Romper, Elemental, and elsewhere. You can find the latest from Emily at www.emilypgerickson.com. View more posts