The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Not Disabled, Just Fat

on March 27, 2012

I take the Go bus to work every day and most days one of a few kind souls who shares the bus with me daily saves the front seat for me.  Now I do prefer the front seat, as in Go bus etiquette the front seat gets off first and it’s a little roomier, but I realized that they don’t save or vacate the seat for me just because of my charm and good looks.  It is the seat for disabled passengers and they must consider me disabled.

I have to admit I have never refused their kind offers.  One it seems rude and two I do prefer sitting there, but I want to make it very clear that I am fat, not disabled.

Excess weight can damage knees and hips or cause a variety of health issues which may themselves be a disability, but being fat is not a disability.  I once met a guy who was interested in dating me and we talked about our lives and our dreams and then I asked about his job and he said he wasn’t able to work.  I looked at him and saw no obvious physical issue and in our conversation I hadn’t detected a mental health issue so I asked why he couldn’t work and he very clearly told me that he was too fat.  His arms appeared to work, his legs, his mouth, his ears, his eyes, but he considered himself disabled and it boggled me.

Some years before that conversation I volunteered in a hospital downtown and a woman came in for some tests. She was on a stretcher of sorts that had big wheels like a wheel chair at one end and even though she could not sit up, she was able to move herself about with minimal assistance.  This woman who was disabled, who did not have control over much of her body worked in telephone sales.  That may not be the most lucrative job, I really don’t know, but she was in the world, living her life, and being productive.  An able-bodied man telling me that he couldn’t find a job solely because of his weight needs a reality check.  I did recently come across this article http://www.workopolis.com/content/advice/article/2096-the-skinny-on-salary-how-your-weight-affects-your-paycheque which shows that those who are obese make, on average, less money than our thin colleagues, but they said less, not none and a lot of that is no doubt based on negative stereotypes of fat people being slovenly, lazy, dirty and unintelligent.  Certainly losing weight will help, but so will getting out and being productive and breaking down the stereotypes.

We are all working to get healthy and whether or not that leads to weight loss and a smaller pant size or just being able to walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing we are active, engaged members of society and we need to prove this not only to others, but to ourselves.

– the Goddess

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