By now, nearly everyone has seen or heard of comedian Nicole Arbour's "funny" video "Dear Fat People". Here it is if you haven't seen it yet —
This Woman Had The Perfect (And Most Compassionate) Response To Fat Shaming
The internet gives everyone a platform to say whatever the hell they want, because most people aren't never going to see it. But in our quest to be heard, people often go too far.
Nicole went a bit too far.
If you could put this video in a pot and reduce its sugary nonsense, I'm assuming you'd get this message:
"I want people to stop sugar coating the obesity epidemic because something needs to change. We have a serious issue on our hands and it scares me that our country isn't taking it seriously."
Unfortunately, Nicole didn't say it like that. She decided to say that people who are overweight smell like sausages, sweat Crisco and then proceeded to re-enact what it's like to have to sit next to an overweight human being on a plane.
This video is reinforcing the perceptions of anyone struggling with body dysmorphia, and that f*cking sucks.
The video didn't make me laugh; it just made me really sad. Why? Because I've never felt shittier than I did when I weighed over 200 pounds. I've never felt more lost, helpless and self-loathing in my entire life.
I didn't gain weight because I decided to eat whatever I wanted. I gained weight because I was grieving the loss of my brother and was struggling to move forward with my life without him. I didn't walk around with a Twinkie in my hand. I shattered and struggled to put myself back together.
Do you want to know what it took for me to lose the 75+ pounds I gained after Scott passed away? It wasn't simply eating healthy and exercising regularly (though that was a large component) — I got into therapy.
My story is much more complicated than I'm letting on and it's much bigger than just me. Here's what I will say: some of us get dealt much tougher cards than others. That's why you can't judge a book by its cover.
The hardest part wasn't losing weight. It was overcoming body dysmorphia. Even after I lost the weight, I'd look in the mirror and see someone significantly heavier. I didn't wait for others to judge me, I just assumed they were doing it. (Which is crazy because it was all in my head!) This video is reinforcing the perceptions of anyone struggling with body dysmorphia, and that f*cking sucks.
I don't think Nicole had any intentions to offend or hurt people. But the issue with this video is that it lacks empathy. Obesity is much more complicated than just simply wanting to lose 10 or 20 pounds.
Sometimes life gets really f*cking hard and you do whatever you can to survive. We all cope in different ways but if you are unhappy with the way you look or feel about yourself, get help. Help is out there! You aren't alone and it's not impossible! If you want to make some sort of change, all you have to do is believe in yourself. Give yourself time.
There's no such thing as success stories; everyone is a work in progress.
Photo courtesy of the author