Just old does a fat person have to get before they are able to die of old age?
The Fat Lip Readers’ Theatre
I’ve been thinking a lot about my own demise. Oh yes, I’m going to die. One day. I probably spend more time thinking about my own death than most people in their thirties who don’t have a chronic illness or spend their days base jumping. I think about it a lot, actually. At least once a week; sometimes everyday. I think about what a good death might look like for me. At what age I might die. Will it be slow? Will it be prolonged? Will it be of a fatty disease?
My thoughts about my death are heavily (pun!) wrapped up in my fatness. Because I’ve lived my entire life [as a fat person], being told by everyone – family, friends, doctors, strangers, trolls – that my fatness will kill me; that I’m a ticking time bomb. Common refrains include,
- But what about your health?
- Sure, you’re ok now. But wait until you’re older… *sigh*
- I’m just, worried, you know? I hate to think of what this mean for you later on.
And these concerns are shared by family, friends, doctors, strangers, and trolls alike. I cannot think of something ever said to me by a stranger or troll that hasn’t also been said to me by a loved one. Living your life under the threat of “one day” is less than awesome. And being reminded, for your own good, by those around you, makes it even worse.
I’ve never assumed that I was alone in this, but thanks to an upcoming horrific infotainment offering on the BBC3, lots of fatties are talking about how not even our deaths are free from public scrutiny and shaming.
Because we think of some illnesses as fatty diseases, like Type II diabetes, we get to say, ‘I told you so’, when a fat person does develop this condition. I mean, it was inevitable, right? (Of course, this also means that we don’t often screen non-fat people for these fatty diseases, and it has been suggested that there are a lot of undiagnosed diabetics who aren’t aware they have a disease to maintain). When fat people develop cancer or heart disease, it’s expected. When non-fat people develop these things, it’s tragic.
Let’s say I develop Type II diabetes. Or cancer. Or heart disease.
Haters are gonna rejoice.
They’re not gonna care if I developed these things because of heredity, or my behaviours, or because living a lifetime of discrimination is damaging, or because of my fat. Nope. Fatty got what was coming to her, and that’s all that matters.
But let’s say I live to 100. Will they rain down apologies on me, as they’ve rained down dire warnings? Probably not.