Don’t be mean to fat disabled people

Some disabled people are fat.

Some fat disabled people have mobility impairments, and need to use wheelchairs and scooters.

Some fat disabled people need to sit down a lot.

Some fat disabled people need to park in handicapped parking.

Some fat disabled people need to sit in the disabled seating on busses.

Some fat disabled people need to use the bathroom stall that has grab bars.

Some people act like fat people are somehow “not really disabled, just fat” as though the two are somehow mutually exclusive. They’re not. Fat is not a cure for disability. Fat disabled people are as disabled as thin disabled people. Fat people have every right to exist in public and use mobility aids and other adaptations.

Some people act like being mean to disabled fat people will somehow force them to stop being fat and disabled. It won’t. Being mean is not a cure. If you yell at a fat disabled person for needing to park close to the building, it won’t give them the ability to walk further safely. It will just mean that their day got worse because someone decided to be pointlessly cruel to them.

Short version: Fat disabled people exist, and have a legitimate need for access and accommodations. Being mean to fat disabled people for having access needs doesn’t cure their disability. It just makes the world a crueler place. Don’t be a jerk.

Being with family can do weird things to you

Something to be aware of if you’re with family for the holidays/break/visting/etc:

If you’ve been working on self-acceptance lately and making progress, some aspects of that are likely to be harder when you’re around family. When you visit family, you might feel bad about things you’ve learned to feel good about in other environments. That might be very frightening. It helps somewhat to know that it’s normal, and that most people struggling with self-acceptance go through this.

It will be easier when you leave again. And, in time, as your self-acceptance solidifies, you will likely learn to hold on to it more consistently when you’re with family. This takes time and practice. It’s not your fault that it’s hard. It’s not a failure and it doesn’t mean you’re doing self-acceptance wrong. It just means that it’s hard.

An example: If you’re fat and you’ve been learning body positivity and feeling good about yourself and your body, that’s likely to be harder to maintain while you’re visiting family. Most people aren’t in tune with that particular kind of body positivity. And some families are actively awful about it. You might feel worse during your visit, and feeling worse may linger after your visit. But it’s a temporary setback; it’s not permanent and it’s not your fault. It’s just that these things are hard, and close relationships complicate things when you’re trying to learn to live by values people you’re close to don’t share.

It can help to actively stay connected to people who share your values while you’re visiting family. (Eg: take time to read body-postive blogs; talk to your friends; write emails.) It can also help to journal.

And, in the words of Laura Hershey, it helps to remember that you get proud by practicing. Feeling good about stigmatized attributes you have takes time and practice. Feeling good about those things even when you’re around family members who feel bad about them is an advanced kind of pride. It takes a lot of practice to level up and feel ok even in that context. It’s hard, and that’s not your fault. You’re ok, even if you feel bad right now.