They shoot fat people, don’t they? (3/11/2015)

It must be open season on people who are overweight.

Last week, a lady named Katie Hopkins publically called Kelly Clarkson fat.

I had never heard of this Hopkins person before, but after Googling, I found out she is a British journalist whose claim to fame is making offensive comments about other celebrities.

One site called her a “professional troll,” and another hailed her the “Most Hated Woman in Britain” – titles earned by her comments like saying Kelly Clarkson must have ate her backup singers, and that with an 8-month old baby, that wasn’t baby weight but “carrot cake weight.”

Kelly handled the situation with her typical spunk, saying the reason the woman was so hateful was because she didn’t know Clarkson.

“I’m awesome!” Clarkson said in an interview, responding to the comments. “It doesn’t bother me. It’s a free world. Say what you will. I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and feeling good, that’s always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family-I don’t seek out any other acceptance.”

Her response was a lot classier than mine would have been.

When our looks are attacked, our typical response is to retaliate with something more vitriolic and hateful towards the accuser than what was slung at us.

Someone calls us fat, we sling back they are ugly.

The body-shaming doesn’t just apply to women, either.

A man, known as #DancingMan was made fun of for dancing.

Why? Because he was overweight.

He was having a good time, dancing, enjoying his life and some bullies made fun of him to the point he stopped.

Thankfully, a group of women saw it and are putting together a huge party so the man can come dance as much as he wants, free from shame.

It’s sad that the only progress we’ve made in the last 20 plus years is that fat-shaming now includes men.

My first exposure to it in the media was the episode of “Designing Women.”

“They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?,” when Suzanne went to her high school reunion and was mocked for being heavier than she was before.

She tells her sister, Julia, if you are fat, it’s like you don’t matter anymore, especially if you are a female. People are sympathetic towards everything else -unless you are fat, and then you are supposed to be ashamed.

I completely relate because after Granny died, I was depressed.

Horribly depressed – I never thought the old gal would die and when she did, none of us expected it.

We had at least two or three good fights left in us that needed to be had. But we didn’t.

And like Granny, I wasn’t going to talk about it or cry over it. No, I ate.

I ate stuff that I was severely allergic to, not supposed to have, and things that hurt me. But biscuits with butter and jelly reminded me of her – they weren’t as good as hers, but they reminded me of her.

The smell of them baking to a golden brown made me flash back to sitting in the kitchen with her, or her making biscuits on Sunday after church to go with her fried chicken.

I smeared my emotions with plenty of raspberry jelly and choked them down.

And immediately realized people treated me differently.

I was fluffy, a little bit chubby. I wasn’t as thin as I had been a year ago.

I felt horrible, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

People were judging me, and delighting, I am sure, in the fact I was a chubbykin.

I don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone – because I am that ashamed.

“People don’t care if you’ve gained weight or not. People don’t care about that. You’re being silly,” Lamar, my bone-thin cyclist husband will tell me.

No, I am not.

As long as there are people who think it’s OK to tweet, comment and bash about a person’s weight, people care.

Maybe care is not the right word.

Maybe it should be a word that doesn’t imply any sort of compassion, because that is not the motive.

I worked with a gorgeous woman once – she still is.

She was not skinny, but she never claimed to be and it didn’t matter.

She was larger than life, had one of the most loving hearts in the world, and was really, stunningly gorgeous with her blonde hair and huge brown eyes.

We were at work one day and a lady approached her and said: “Oh…girl. You’ve done and gone and gained all that weight back you lost. What were you thinking?”

My friend looked up and replied: “I may be fat but I can lose weight; you can’t lose ugly.”

Her response – while given in the heat of the moment – made me wonder.

Why do our looks have to have that influence, that control over us? Aren’t we more than our outer appearance?

What if, instead of seeing someone for their weight, the way they look, we saw their spirits and saw them for their contributions in the world? Wouldn’t that make the world a better place? And not just for women, but men as well.

If we stopped focusing on those petty, catty, superficial issues, I bet a lot of things would miraculously change, too.

No one likes a bully (10/23/2103)


No one likes a bully. But bullies have been around forever.

I can remember the bullies when I was a little girl. I am not even sure what happened to me would be deemed bullying or if it was just kids being kids and exhibiting Darwinesque traits of picking on the weaker, chubbier one.

“Fatty fatty two by four, can’t get through the kitchen door,” they would taunt as I walked down the hall.

Before you feel sorry for me about that, think of all the horrible things that can rhyme with “Sudie” – and my maiden name gave them even more fodder, lending itself to comparisons to products used to treat hemorrhoids.

But I survived. I learned that when these little monsters saw my pressure points and which buttons to push, they did. They fed off my tears, my embarrassment, my shame.

Once I developed the ability to laugh at myself and not let them know they were hurting me, the taunting and fat jokes subsided.

Well, that and I had about a decade long battle with eating disorders. Guess when you look like frighteningly skinny, people can’t make fun of you for being a fatty.

When I grew older, I thought maybe being bullied had me stronger in some way – had made me more compassionate to the differences among us, had taught me how to stand up for myself and other underdogs, how to deflect and more importantly how it felt to be mistreated.

Maybe it did make me stronger, but I never got that “thick skin” I have been told I need, and if anything, it makes me angry to see someone bullied.

But boy howdy, when it’s your own child, you really get upset –like unleash the locusts mad.

And that was the point I had reached.

There had been children that had picked on him, that had hurt his feelings, said things that made him upset. Typical mean kid things.

But then my child had mentioned things, little snippets, of how another child was acting. I listened and thought, incorrectly, that Cole was being his tenderhearted self.

See, unlike me, who got to the point my mouth outgrew me and usually came back with something that could silence a politician, my child does not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Even when they are destroying his.

He finally broke down and told me what was going on and I was in shock.

Not my child.

Some really bad words came out of my mouth. I don’t think they were all in English either. I am sure there was some languages I didn’t speak at all that came out.

I wanted to cry, scream, punch something but more importantly, I wanted to protect my child.

How could someone do something like this to my child? How could another child be so mean?

We wonder what makes a bully, what makes a child want to inflict any kind of harm to another child.

We tell children to tell someone – what if that person does nothing?

We tell children it is wrong – and yet, it still happens.

It happens on a daily basis, no matter what steps we take to inform, educate and prevent it, bullying still happens.

As a parent, I tried to see the other parents’ perspective. How would I feel if the tables were turned? I would be shocked and upset but for different reasons.

But when it’s your child, it’s hard to be objective or see beyond their hurt.

I felt conflicted – I have raised my child to choose kind over right, to think of the other person and to do the right thing, but not everyone else shares those ideals.

Sometimes, they may try to but it doesn’t stick. It had stuck with mine and he didn’t know what to do.

On the other hand, I was furious.

“I’m so mad I could spit fire,” I told Mama.

Mama was ready to spit, too.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

I had been fortunate that we had been able to intervene and get Cole moved to another class and steps and measures had been taken to keep him from the child. But why did my child have to be the one made to feel in the wrong? Why was his schedule and life turned upside down when he had done nothing wrong?

“I hope this works, Mama,” I said.

I was more worried about my child and how he felt through all of this. He didn’t understand why someone would do this when he had done nothing wrong.

We talked about it, a lot. It would randomly come up in conversation when we were enjoying ice cream cones in Dahlonega, or when we were walking at the park.

I worried about him. I wanted him to be safe. I wanted him to always know he always was loved, protected and he could come to me with anything. And that I would listen, really listen to what was said and what was inferred.

But my child was worried about the bully.

“Mama, what happens to bullies?” he asked.

I bit my tongue and refrained from saying the outcome I hope befell them. “I am not sure,” was my truthful answer.

“I don’t know why he did that to me, but I worry about what made him do that,” Cole continued.

Here he was, worried what made a child want to bully someone.

“Do they grow out of bullying?” he asked. “Do they stop bullying when they grow up?”

I thought about that and said, “No, Cole, usually they grow up and they don’t change, they just become your co-workers or your boss and you have to still deal with them.”

He thought about this for a few moments. “Then what happens, Mama? If they are grown and still bullying, what happens to them then?”

I smiled gently at my son.

“It will be just fine, Cole,” I began. “Because then, they will be an adult and Mama can deal with them.”

In fact, I’m already making a list.