What do I mean? Why is it a big piece of news for me?
I woke up at 5 AM this morning, obsessing about a brief article in the Globe yesterday and a careless comment made by someone who I know loves me and I was all bent out of shape. Got out of bed, came to this desk and began digging around on the internet to see if the N.Y. Times had also printed the item, from the Associated Press. As far as I can tell, they had not. I got more and more outraged and worked up. Maybe part of feeling ill was induced by lack of sleep, but the rest of it was from drinking poison.
Poison, you say? What? Well, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this quote previously. It is attributed to the Buddah. If I have, sorry, it deserves repeating.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
It hit me hard the first time I heard it. I’ve found it tremendously helpful in situations with other people, where I needed to let go of anger that wasn’t bothering them, only affecting me. So clear, so simple, so true.
Well, this morning I understood it differently. For a couple of years now, I’ve been writing and processing my hurt and anger re: a lifetime of fat shaming and stigma and the evils of the Processed Food Industrial Complex in all its parts. This has been a cleansing and healing journey for me. But I have remained stuck in the anger more than I want to be. In a funny (not hah-hah) way, it became comfortable to be swaddled in outrage, which is only one small step removed from the longtime familiarity (comfort) of living in shame. Not.
Each time I respond with visceral rage to the ugliness and ignorance (and in the case of this Globe/AP piece, sensationalizing spin of the media) of others, I dig myself in deeper. Ranting and railing against their behavior perpetuates my experience of feeling trapped and abused. ‘They’ may have been or may be victimizing me, but I’m the one who takes on the label of victim. I believe that articulating and expressing my anger was/is liberating. It was/is an important step toward freedom from being locked in self-blame. But now I need to step out of that anger box and stop wasting my energy.
The PFIC is the enemy and exposing, for myself, the links between its various elements is really important. But it is not a battle, a war that I can win. Not an enemy that I can conquer, no matter how many facts I uncover, allies I discover, insightful connections that I make or words I write. That’s just how it is. I can still ‘fight the good fight’, as so many other, inspiring people have done and continue to do, confronting both local and global issues. But as an individual, I cannot move forward in my life if I keep drinking the poison.
So, it’s a new day. Yes, I’m disappointed that the Globe editors chose to print an article, dramatically (and somewhat misleadingly) headlined: Global Obesity costs hits $2 trillion. They chose to emphasize the serious weight of the economic impact, rather than the sociological aspect of the issue. I am so sick of that bias.
I went to the source, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, wanting to understand how the $2 trillion figure was calculated. Can’t say I was able to decipher that information, but what I did find was an extensive and nuanced study, entitled How the World Could Better Fight Obesity. It is available for download, if you are interested. The PFIC is in there, on the list of things that need to change. I wish the media would not choose to inflame bias and stigma with crappy headlines and lifting phrases like ‘a stark prediction’, when the report is, in fact, an honest look at what is and what could be done. Grr. Breathe.
As for the person who loves me, who for some reason chose to describe a group of people as including ‘…two really fat people’ and in response to my reaction, stated: ‘That was the most obvious thing about them.’; well, I’m stymied. I’ll try to accept simply being puzzled by the choice and logic. As I toss away the poison potion, I’ll hope to release the hurt. That is my intention. I don’t want to hold onto any more hurt and anger. No more. Not swallowing it, not carrying it, not wasting time and energy on the victim life any more. Let the anger fuel forward motion.