Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Which I "Like" on Facebook a Woman I've Never Met

Today, I read a bunch of news online, as I do every day, and one particular story really, really grabbed my attention.  It was the one about Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor in Wisconsin, who went on a four minute tirade about an email she received from some guy, basically telling her she should not be on tv because she's obese and it's a bad role model for little kids who are watching.  She called him a bully, ripped him a new anus, kept her composure and did not cry, and just all around let him have it.  I, however, was watching it on video and applauding her with tears running down my face.  I went straightaway to facebook, found her page and "liked" it, and left her a note saying she was beautiful inside and out, to which some numskull dude replied "Really got a crush, eh?"  PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID!!!! 
Anyway, all afternoon I kept seeing things about it on the news shows and elsewhere, and there was all this debate about is what the email said really bullying and was she being overly sensitive. 
The jerk didn't say that he was concerned about her health and wished she would take better care of herself, he essentially told her she should quit her job because her body wasn't good enough!  And then even on her facebook page, where people are telling her how inspiring her words were, etc... there are people making comments like "She's not a role model, but she's a 'roll' model!"  It just makes me hate the human race.
I used to be skinny, a long, long time ago.  I can remember thinking I would never, EVER let myself get out of shape and that I was always gonna look just as I did when I was 16.  I thought being fat was gross, and it certainly was never my intention to turn out this way.  I never threw up my hands and said "I don't care."  It just sort of happened.  I hit 19, and gained weight.  I got thyroid disease and started having it treated, and gained more weight.  I started having babies, and not only gained weight, but also got all the weird things that happen to your body when you have babies, things drooping where they ought not be drooping, fat redistributing where there used to be none, etc... 
There was a time when I thought I should just lay down and die because my life was over, because of my weight.  I was fat now, so why bother living?  There was a party where I spent my time in a bedroom curled up in the fetal position sobbing my eyes out, because I felt I couldn't enjoy myself because I was fat.  A wise and chubby relative of mine had to talk me out of my funk just to pry me out of that bedroom and back to where all the people were. I look back now at pictures from that time period, and I wasn't even really fat!  Compared to where I am NOW,  I was stinking SKINNY!  And I let my worries ruin a perfectly good party.  I have spent countless hours worrying about going places or doing things, feeling not good enough, crying about how I look, having ACTUAL NIGHTMARES where I'm doing something I love and then realize I look stupid cuz I'm fat... it's a waste of life to spend all that time that way!  YES, it's good to be thin, and YES, it's very unhealthy to be obese.  I'm still fighting to whip it to this day, and I will continue to fight.  I'm not at all saying that we should all just quit trying to be healthy and eat a bunch of chocolate cake.  But I'll tell you this, as an experienced fat person:  I've tried diets, I've been a total workout freak, I've tried diet pills, I've seen doctors about it, and I've had varied degrees of success, up and down and back and forth.  It's a neverending battle.   But it doesn't do ANYONE any good if I refuse to do anything fun until I'm at my perfect weight.  If I never put on a bathing suit, or dance at a party, or buy a nice dress, or ride a ride at the fair, etc... until I look a way I'm happy with, then I'm gonna waste my life waiting.  And if I were fortunate enough to have found a job I love, reporting the news on TV, and some jerk wrote that I should stop doing my job because my fatness might be contagious to people watching, I can only HOPE I'd have the wherewithall  to rant for four solid minutes on television about what a jerk he was and where he should shove it.  I'm sure my first impulse would be to think "He's right, I'm not good enough, I should quit."  and to curl up in the fetal position and bawl my eyes out.  But Jennifer Livingston didn't.  She stood there with poise and said what she needed to say, and for that reason, she's my new role model.  And not my "roll" model, Mr. Poopforbrains! 


  1. I agree Shelly. It is a waste of time to constantly worry about weight. Work at being healthy not skinny. love your blog

  2. Amen sister! Agreed... Fat is not healthy and I'm certainly not saying that I'm fine with being overweight. I'll never "embrace" it and be comfortable with it. BUT I have quit hating myself for it and quit letting it control my life. Like you, it really opened my eyes when I looked back at some pictures where I was maybe 15 or 20 pounds overweight and remember how very unhappy I was and how totally worthless I felt on some vacation or at some event because of it. So many wasted years! I have come to realize that everyone, even skinny people, have things they are insecure about. I also realized that you can end up drawing more attention to your weight when you try to hide it. Think about it... Are you more likely to think " poor fat girl" about the one in a modest swimsuit playing in the pool with everyone else, or the one that is baking in the sun sitting by the pool fully dressed? I mean I certainly don't think you should flaunt it - no bikinis please! But you really can't hide it either. Just LIVE with it while you work to improve yourself!

    1. And that's what you told me when I was bawling my eyes out in Heidi's room! Lol! "You can't sit in here and cry while everyone else is having fun, cuz then you're ACTING like a fat girl. Make yourself look as good as you can, and go have fun!" Of course, then after that, you had to say "IT WAS DRYROTTED!!!!" LOLOLOL!!!

    2. I remember that! That chair WAS dryrotted.

  3. Very well said Shelly and right on target. Having been morbidly obese for years, I used to have a picture on my fridge of myself when I "thought" I was fat and I honestly was not. I think the reason most of us have gained weight is the constant dieting. Go on a diet on Monday, blow it on Wednesday, pig out until Sunday and then go back on a diet on Monday. Hello? How many of the same pounds did we lose and gain back every week plus one more? I decided I was going to live my life to the full and if people didn't like it, they didn't have to be around me. I wasn't going to let anyone else discuss my weight with me unless I opened the dialogue. You are truly a beautiful wife, mother, sister, friend and woman - inside and out. Don't ever let anyone make you feel less than that. Love you.

  4. I gave this one time to die down a little, because I knew how strongly you felt about it!

    I absolutely agree that the guy's email was insensitive at best and showed a gross lack of knowledge about his fellow humans at worst. (No one chooses to be obese...except a few kooks in a very select group...) But bullying? Not so much. He sent a private email to a public person, probably without much thought.

    She, however, put a great deal of thought...and time...into a public tirade against a private figure, complete with finger pointing and name calling. (He's a "bully".)

    The irony, to me, is that her actions were more "bullying" than his.

    That said, she's a strong, attractive woman, and I'm sure she deserves her place on the air. If thin news anchors make for a thin populace, it hasn't been working so far...99% of 'em are tiny, and the American population just gets heavier and sicker. How about a more realistic view of women all around?

    My vote goes for the Dove girls...all shapes, sizes, & colors. Real humanity. If young women could see people who look like them in advertisements, self-acceptance might take a turn for the better.

    1. Ok, here's where I disagree with you. He sent a private email, but it wasn't to tell her "Sweetie, I'm worried about you, and I wish you'd take better care of your health." He told her she wasn't fit to do her job because of her weight. The woman runs marathons and eats healthily, has thyroid issues. Now say that she DIDN'T have those issues, and she COULD lose weight, like me for example. Is she supposed to quit her job? Is she supposed to be off the air until she diets down to the point where he deems her small enough and THEN get her job back? Should she just hide in her house until she's the perfect size? Does she really owe that jerk, or ANYONE for that matter, an explanation of why she weighs what she does?
      He said nothing helpful, nothing kind, nothing showing any concern for her. He just told her off for being fat, without knowing anything about her or why she's the weight she is, or how she feels about it, or if she's trying to do something about it. Told her she was unfit as a role model.
      I'm sorry, but whether that type of thing is said in private OR in public, it's bullying. If some kid said to Dalton in his ear "you're a little *%@@#&! and I'm gonna kick your butt!" Is that not bullying? Just because it was said in private? The man was trying to intimidate her out of doing her job, and make her feel bad about herself. To me, that's bullying. And the fact that she was able to stand up to the bully and talk right back to him and defend herself, to me, that's great. WHen people online etc... got too angry at the guy and wouldn't let it die down, she called them out on it and said to not turn around and bully him in return. He's started the fight, she just took her shot back at him. I think it's awesome that she didn't just crumple up and quit her job and never show her face in public again, cuz that's the effect it would've had on me if I were her.

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    1. So this morning my girl and I were getting "our" makeup on.. She has a wretched case of poison ivy that's left her entire face very red and swollen. She was checking it out in the mirror when she says "mommy wook! My face isn't so fat any more!" (Which startled me for a sec cuz we don't use the "f" word at our house) Then she is quiet for a second and says "some peeple are fat but that's ok mommy". Made me proud of her AND me for doin my job..

  6. Ok, I have found myself flipflopped on this issue. At first, after just hearing this, I thought, "how dare he!" and I immediately took her side. BUT since then I have been trying to find the actual letter that he wrote. All I could find was this, "It's unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn't improved for many years. Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular," the letter read.

    "Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you'll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle" Granted, its not overly kind and IF she is in fact suffering from a thyroid disorder, but is fit and healthy and runs marathons, then he is guilty of judging without knowing all the facts. However, I DO NOT think he had unkind motives or that it remotely qualifies as bullying. She is a public figure, and it appears he was pointing out that in her role, she should be advocating a healthy lifestyle. He never says she shouldn't be on the air, or be enjoying her life. He doesn't call her the F-WORD as Heidi called it. He isn't making fun of her or trying to demean and intimidate her, but expressing disappointment at what he feels is her failure to set an example of being healthy over what he thinks has been a long period of time.

    He is right about obesity, it is NOT okay to be fat. But there is a difference between thinking we are fat because we don't look like a skinny model in a magazine and actually being fat, or obese because we are at an unhealthy BMI. I agree with Betsy, that the Dove models are a good example of women who come in all shapes and
    sizes, but are still HEALTHY and acceptable weights. Alot of times, we like to use words like full figured and fluffy to gloss over the fact that we are plain and simply fat and unhealthy. Several years ago after I had Isabella, I was 20 pounds heavier than now, and I was having all kinds of health issues and I hurt my hip and had to go to physical therapy. I knew I was heavier than I'd ever been...I told myself I'd go to weight watchers after I lost some weight (DUMB). I am thankful, that my physical therapist and doctor encouraged me to get serious about exercising and eating right and losing weight...not to look skinny but to be healthy. Yes, I knew I needed to, but I needed someeone else to talk straight to me. If they hadn't, I may have eaten and pitied myself into gaining another 20 pounds.

    Weight has always been an issue with the women (and men...look at my dad lately) in our family. Lets face it, most of us don't enjoy exercise and we love to eat. I applaud Heidi for teaching Sophie it isn't okay to make fun of people b/c of their size, and that people come in all shapes and sizes. But fat is not a bad word, it is a real health concern, and it isn't okay. It shouldn't be used to demean ourselves or others, but lets be honest here. We wouldn't pollute our bodies with cigarette smoke, lets not abuse our bodies with letting our weight get out of control. The best example we can set for our daughters and granddaughters is by getting serious about eating healthy and exercising, not so we can be skinny, but so we can be healthy. We all love each other and we are all beautiful people, regardless of our size, so lets take care of our bodies so we can be healthier and minimize as much as possible the physical ailments we might have in the system of things.

    1. Well alrighty then! :)
      I have absolutely no knowledge of the news woman "situation" (very bad habit of mine.. Being COMPLETELY not in the know) but now that you're quoting the letter from the man it really doesn't sound as bad as I imagined.. It sorta seems like he was actually concerned about her health. I've always been a believer that celebrities should be fit. I think it's part of their job as "role models". However since I've never had a struggle with weight (thankfully and strangely to me) I can't accurately comment in either direction.. I agree with Paige though that my goal is not to teach my children that "hey be fat it's fine" but to teach them to think about what they eat and be active and healthy. And that people come in all shapes and sizes.. As proof in my 2 VERY differrent children's body shapes!
      That being said, to hear one of my kids say the "F-word" will always make me bristle.. Just a little.

    2. I know what you mean, Heidi. For example, David thinks its cute to pinch my almost 5 year old who only weighs 30 pounds thighs and call them little ham hocks. I HATE HATE HATE it, because I see a 16 year old insecure girl thinking she looks like a pig if she has meat on her thighs instead of sticks for legs. I try not to tell my kids I'm fat, just because I want to lose 10 pounds, even though sometimes I feel fat. But I do say that I go to the gym because I don't want to get fat. Maybe I shouldn't, I don't know. If I ever heard them make fun of someone or use fat as name-calling, it would not be pretty for them though.

    3. She read the letter, I think, during her rant, but it sounded much meaner somehow when she read it...maybe I missed the point. It WAS still kinda jerkish, cuz he could've said something like "I am really concerened about your health" or something to make it really obvious that that was his intention.
      Also, I am SUPER sensitive about this very subject, as I'm working so hard on it myself right now and not really seeming to get anywhere. I just had a weekend of cheating, which made me feel terrible, and I'm back on the wagon. But I've been really, really good for almost a month now and NOT consistently losing weight. It'll go down, back up, etc... And I saw a pic of myself the other day and I look HORRIBLE, and it's really devastating to a person's psyche, I gotta tell ya. It hurts bad enough when you see it yourself, and to have someone else point it out to you...well, that's almost unbearable. So I still feel really, really, really-really sorry for that newscaster.
      But being fat isn't ok, and it IS completely unhealthy, and every bit as bad for you, if not worse, than smoking. And not just being fat, but the eating of unhealthy food, even though I haven't lost much weight, just the FEELING after eating fast food (swelling, lethargy, stomach upset) or sugar (swelling, mood swings, joint pain, etc..) show how much what we eat changes us, and it's our responsibility to take care of the bodies we were given.
      As someone who knows all of that, though, and struggles so hard to put it into practice, changes aren't made quickly, and sometimes despite all our best efforts, they don't come at all. And sometimes, you lose weight because you're struggling to do so, and then you get discouraged and go off the wagon for awhile and gain it back, and then you get reinvigorated and try again, etc... This is the story of my life, and I know it's what lots of people go through. And I firmly believe it doesn't help at ALL to have anyone, while you're already fighting this struggle with every bit of self-control you have, make unkind comments pointing out all your failures. Trust me when I say that any fat person already knows they're fat without having anyone send them an email to let them know! When you're REALLY overweight, like me, the fat is ALWAYS on your mind. You live with it every minute of every day, and you think about it ALL THE TIME. Having someone else say "I've noticed that you're overweight" even if it's well meaning, can be enough to put you right over the edge!

  7. You, Mrs Shelly King, are my new favorite person in the whole world! Well said sister!!

  8. It's hard to separate obesity the health issue from obesity the cosmetic issue. The cosmetic issue is nobody's business. The health issue is killing people right and left.

    And the extreme measures we take to cure the cosmetic issue, (pills, surgery, injections,) kill us as well. Another danger: I've recently seen (for the first time,) some of those dramatic weight loss shows where people drop 100+ pounds in just a few months time. Realistic? No. Healthy? No. Dangerous? Oh my goodness! It's horribly irresponsible to show people that heavy working out for hours at a time & losing weight that fast!!!

    Unfortunately, as women in a society where the "ideal" is ridiculous, (models have body fat levels that are so low they no longer menstruate, for example,) then nobody can reach the "ideal" and everyone is miserable.

    And if we are miserable, we're going to overeat.

    My fix? Post-Armageddon, I'm guessing no mirrors will be around & we'll all eat food out of the fields. In six months, even those of us with severe weight problems will be as lean and powerful as athletes.

    Until then, the best thing we can do is try to keep our sanity. Eat healthily, get some physical activity & don't judge others.

    And step awaaaay from the fad diets!!