By now everyone has seen or heard of Nicole Arbour's "funny" video "Dear Fat People". Have you seen it? You haven't, well here it is --
Alright, let's keep this short because everything that should be said about Nicole's beautiful word vomit has already been said.
There's a lot of opinions on the internet. That's the beauty of the internet, everyone gets to hop on a soap box and say whatever the hell they want because for most of the world, the only people who are going to see it are a handful of people who will simply ignore it. But in our quest to be heard, people often go too far. Nicole went a bit too far.
If you could put this video in a pot and reduce it's sugary nonsense, I'm assuming you'd get this message:
"I want people to stop sugar coating the obesity epidemic because something needs to change. We have a serious issue on our hands and it scares me that our country isn't taking it seriously."
Unfortunately, Nicole didn't say it like that. She decided to say that people who are overweight smell like sausages, sweat crisco and then proceeded to re-enact what it's like to have to sit next to an overweight human being on a plane. The video didn't make me laugh it just made me really sad. Why? Because I've never felt shittier than I did when I weighed over 200 pounds. I've never felt more lost, helpless and hated myself more in my entire life.
I didn't gain weight because I decided to eat whatever I wanted, I gained weight because I was grieving the loss of my brother and was struggling to move forward with my life without him. I didn't walk around with a twinkie in my hand, I shattered and struggled to put myself back together.
Do you want to know what it took for me to lose the 75+ pounds I gained after Scott passed away? It wasn't simply eating healthy and exercising regularly (though that was a large component), I got into therapy. It took lots and lots and lots of therapy for me be able to work through what I'd been through. It wasn't easy! My story is much more complicated than I'm letting on and honestly, it's much bigger than just me. There's parts of my history that I don't wish to share because it's not my story to tell. It's incredibly complicated but that's life! Here's what I will say, some of us get dealt much tougher cards than others. That's why you can't judge a book by it's cover.
The hardest part wasn't losing weight, it was overcoming body dysmorphia. Even after I lost the weight, I would look in the mirror and see someone significantly heavier. It not only made me self conscious, but it made me feel terrible about myself. I didn't wait for others to judge me, I just assumed they were doing it. (Which is crazy because it was all in my head!) This video is reinforcing perceptions of anyone struggling with body dysmorphia and that f*cking sucks.
I don't think Nicole had any intentions to offend or hurt people. You can tell by her tone that she only means well. But the issue with this video is that it lacks empathy. Obesity is much more complicated than just simply wanting to lose 10 or 20 pounds.
Sometimes life gets really f*cking hard and you do whatever you can to survive. We all cope in different ways but if you are unhappy with the way you look or feel about yourself, get help. Help is out there! You aren't alone and it's not impossible! If you want to make some sort of change, all you have to do is believe in yourself. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to admit that you aren't happy or that you need help. Give yourself time. There's no such thing as success stories, everyone is a work in progress.
And for the love of God can we forgive Nicole? She made a mistake and now she is learning a very, very valuable lesson. She's not alone though! Most of us fail to think critically about what we put online. Everyone needs a refresher course in sensitivity, not just Nicole. The next time you want to tweet something, think about who's seeing it. The internet is a really wonderful place but it can also be incredibly hurtful. Always ask yourself what your intentions are. The simplest tweet or Instagram can haunt you for the rest of your life. (And this is coming from a girl who has this platform because she went viral for taking selfies with hot guys during a half marathon...The irony is not lost on me.)
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.