The Implications of Being Fat & Disabled

Throughout my journey with mental and physical health; I’ve documented it through blogging. It’s been a way for me to put my feelings into perspective and also educate those who may lack knowledge or information in their own care.

When I first received the diagnosis that I had thyroid disease, and learning how hypothyroidism affects the body; I was so relieved to know that I wasn’t crazy. I know had a root cause for my weight gain, joint pain, hair loss, dry skin, weird menstrual cycles etc.

However, when I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, there was no feeling of relief. This wasn’t going to be treatable with over the counter pain meds as a quick fix. I need surgery, and until I lose enough weight (over 100+lbs), the surgery is not going to happen. (Refer back to hypothyroidism and you’ll see the irony in that.)

This pain is mine to own for awhile.

For a year and a half I tried to hide a progressive limp, continued to walk places with my coworkers and in stores even though I was in excruciating pain because I didn’t want to have to admit that I had a problem.

I hid it because I knew if I had to tell people what the problem was, the first thing everyone would think is that my weight was at fault.

And that’s just it, whatever happens with my health; my weight will always be the prime suspect.

No matter what my medical record , lab results , or x-rays say about my health; the world sees me as problematic.

People have accused me of killing myself with my weight gain, with no understanding of my health issues. My arthritis? My fault, even though it is a result of hip dysplasia. People do not care about truth, they care about assumptions and perceptions.

So what does that mean for someone like me?

It means I carry the burden of  being an undesirable in society. I’m met with a range of disgust or pity depending on the day and who I encounter. For so long I’ve been struggling with my perception of self because society’s disdain is so pervasive when it comes to fat bodies; but disabled fat bodies? We must deserve it. It is our fault.

Just recently I’ve been pushing myself to get out of the house more and utilize mobility aids when I need to so that I can have some semblance of normalcy back in my life. I started photographing using my cane if it’s a day that I need it, utilizing the motor scooter in the store when I shop,parking in the handicap spot because I finally put my placard to use. These things are permissible when you’re an acceptable size. When you are my size; you’re disability is your excess adipose.

While I want to be at the point in my life where I’m nonchalant about this stuff; I’m not quite there yet. I know that being a fat black woman with a disability puts me at a disadvantage in life. I’m more than cognizant of how I am viewed when I show up and exist in this world.

I’m not out here on a crusade though, I’m just sharing my reality. And maybe if you’re reading this, you’ll stop and think before you make an assumption about a fat disabled body the next time you see one.

I should never have to justify my disability to anyone, explain my health record , prove I workout or apologize for smiling in spite of living in a fat disabled body.

No one should.

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Meri Skye Ceram Criss-Cross Neck Fit and Flare Dress via Dia & Co

Until Next Time,

AP Young signature with kiss print.