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Killing With Kindness



Whilst sitting in the "green room" waiting to be called on set (actually, the name was quite apt as we were sat in a stuffy snooker room in the back of an old gentleman's club...baize green everywhere!) I had another moment of diving into people's psyche concerning us fatties (for those of a sensitive nature, scrub that and read "bariatrically challenged" or "those of a less than slender approach").The moment that sparked my grey cells was when, as usual, I preempted the jokes and jibes that could be thrown at me - by putting myself down. I seem to recall it was some throw-away comment about squeezing in to a too-tight top which made me feel like a homosexual piglet in a boob-tube.As I uttered the defensive barrier, a very lovely lady leaned over to me (amongst the other actors laughing) and said "you shouldn't put yourself down like that...you're not fat."For a moment, I listened to her words and for an even briefer moment in time, I actually believed her.I like to consider myself an intelligent man and, being one hundred and fifteen pounds over my ideal weight, I have used many mathematical formulae and a sprinkle of the laws of physics to deduce that I am indeed fat. In fact, my calculation led me to the category of "morbidly obese". As much as I hate that label, that is what I am. And I look it.So what made that woman, who I must sat was a little chunky herself, advise me that I was not fat? Was she mad? Did she stem from a foreign country and was actually trying to say "you are not fit"? Was she being sarcastic and making fun of me?I believe she, like countless other of my friends and family over the years, was just being kind. She saw a stigma in the reference of fat, just like most people across the world do. She, unlike some of the less-than-sensitive people I have met in my life, handled this with an assumed kindness. A certain flattery that was meant to pat me on the back and say "there, there, you'll be OK".I would be an awfully cynical human being if I said that I didn't appreciate that kind of response. After all, it is well intentioned and far preferable to the kinds of insults one normally receives from the less civilized and less educated people in the world. Also, she was obviously under the impression that my put down servered no other purpose other than self-abuse. But, as us overweight people know, it is far better to beat the others to the punchline than to have to sit through the humiliation when others cast their "fatty" remarks. But, forgetting that aspect, does it really help the situation when someone pats you on the back and says "never mind, you're not fat"?Having grown up fat, been educated fat and gone through my adult life fat, I have heard many, many people accuse me of not being "fat" or "too fat" before. People who are close to me. People who care for me. And people who are just embarrassed about the word or concept of "fat". But, I have now come to the conclusion that they have been part of my problem.Had everyone I had come in contact with over the years behaved like the Neanderthal beings that have caused me pain, embarrassment and tears over the past thirty six years, I believe I may have started to do something about it sooner. Had they publicly humiliated me, called me names and lessened by character because of my weight, I may well be slim, athletic and proud of myself. I may well be one of them.With every denial of my weight issues, came a psychological acceptance. They cared for my feelings and, in doing so, aided my fast ride to diabetes, circulation problems, countless other health issues and even early death. They were indeed killing with kindness.Now I have decided to undergo the (not so controversial of late) Lap Band procedure, I write this with a certain historical perspective in my mind. From here on in, I am going to be slimmer. I am going to be more athletic. I am going to be more proud of myself. I am going to be more like them. But, I am doing it under my own volition. I have chosen my time.Had the world been a darker place where, the people who care for me had been more cruel (my closest friends, my family, the people embarrassed of the "F" word), then I would feel unsettled. I would not be the mentally well-adjusted person I am today. I would be miserable and entirely alone.Kindness and understanding is an essential part of ensuring our loved ones mature and develop on the outside as well as the inside. I am grateful for all the blatant lies people cast at me, accusing me of "not being fat" through my life. I understand that the comments were, in the main, meant with care and love. However, I am also strangely grateful to the bastards (and I cannot stress that word enough - but more of that in a later blog) that littered my life and helped point out the fact that, even without mathematical formulae, I was obviously fat.My Blog - Banded BenMy Site - Benedict Francis


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