Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Fat shaming

So I brought a new character to the guild, because my shy, reclusive nun can't push characters to do anything, can't speak her opinion, and can't generate drama. My new character is a cheerful noble, a knight, a fop, gay, and fat.

Not an hour after I brought him in, he got his first mean 'you're fat' remark. Not one fucking hour. I was a complete idiot to not think that in-game characters would be just as mean and dicky as real life people are. And fuck it, I spent six years at home, missing all my friends' birthdays, weddings, performances and parties; I went to the movies four times, I only left the house to shop for food or see the doctor, because it hurts so fucking much when random people tell you things about your weight. And there, I'm coming out of the shell, I'm daring to go out, I even went abroad, so I thought I could play a fat character and prove myself it's okay to be fat, you have a right to exist.

Right to exist my big fucking overweight, self indulging, spoiled, lacking self control ARSE.

Not an hour. Not one hour. And he really didn't even do anything provocative yet. And I just exploded. In guild chat I said something relatively calm, but I was suddenly sitting here and crying horribly, the wonderful day's energies and enthusiasm gone at once.

I remember the old man from some shop by work who saw me eating and said 'you really shouldn't eat, you know'; I was 100 kgs then. Then I lost 32 of them, and some woman was blocking the narrow sidewalk on the street by positioning her baby's cart across and not along. I told her as much, to which she said 'if you weren't such a fat cow, you could pass' (I couldn't. There were about 5cms of free sidewalk). I was 68 kgs and I absolutely flipped. And then, three years ago; a random woman yelling into her phone right by my ear caught my look and snapped 'fuck you, fat bitch'.

When you're four, it's what kids do in kindergarden. 'You're black', 'you're ginger', 'you're fat'. But grownups doing that - strangers - sheesh, you know, it drives me nuts in any argument when someone stops answering to the point and starts insulting the speaker with irrelevant shit, but like this - I just - I can't. I can't. So I stayed at home for years.

And then this happens, in the guild. Why didn't it occur to me, even once, that this is what would happen? 'Cause I trusted my guildmates? My own NPCs say racist shit when need be ('stupid dwarf', 'ignorant space goat' and so forth), so why didn't I expect them to be just the same? Why didn't I expect them to be just as shitty as real world people? What was I fucking thinking?

I know it's all in-character, and I think I don't really blame the players; but I feel so hopeless with the human race, suddenly. My own guildmates, some of which are friends, happily and ignorantly employed this; they view this as a little mean, but just as legitimate as calling someone a moron. It's not considered half as bad as racism.

And why? Because I'm fat? Because I didn't have the luck to be born with your awesome genes, or have received a more responsible upbringing? Because I was conditioned from home to use food as a pain killer? Do you even know, you ignorant shit talkers, how fucking hard it is to employ self control and discipline every single day, every hour, just to keep in a healthy weight? Of course you don't, you never had to do it. Oh, you could say 'I must lose five kilograms', but the truth is, you can certainly afford more than 1300 calories a day because you're fucking lucky; you don't grow mental with hunger once you had simple carbs, because you're fucking lucky; you don't compensate with food because you're fucking lucky; and you don't. Fucking. Need. To employ. Will power. Every. Single. Day. Just to keep a relatively healthy weight. Do you even know what it fucking takes? Have you ever tried using on this finite resource, will power, for three fucking years? Do you even know what an insane grind it is? Think that you have to go to a job you absolutely loath and makes you cry for three years, but you're not allowed to cry. Think of a migraine for three years, but you're not allowed aspirin. No, you have to use your willpower. How long can you hold?

And then, people who know you for half a minute, random people on the street, or people who know you in-character for half an hour, just go 'lol, ur fat'. Just like that. As if we fat people didn't have it tough enough already.

And it kills me that I'm so hurt, I'm crying, I'm miserable, I'm furious, but I have nobody to blame. Nobody to scream at. It's not their fault; 'it was the tiniest jab', they'll say, 'you're overreacting', they'll say, 'everybody does it' - all true, sadly - and besides, conflict is a welcome thing in-character, it makes things interesting. But it was the casual normality of it that broke me, and the fact that my guildies, my friends, feel it's perfectly legitimate to stoop to this kind of behaviour, that is the reason it's five hours after it happened and I'm still crying. And I can't yell at them for hurting me; they did nothing wrong. So I'm exploding here on the inside. I just want to break every bit of glassware in the house. But no, you don't do that, Bell, right? You're a nice, composed person. You're perfectly capable of taking something that hurts like a ton of bricks and be reasonable about it. Go and choke on it. Here, have some carbs to go with it, that'll make things better.

(I didn't eat. I actually feel kind of like throwing up. Gods, I wish I had an outlet for this).

I know I can't change the world. I know the only thing I can change is my reaction to people being mean childish assholes flinging the first irrelevant insult they can think about. But you know what? I bloody didn't, I simply, stupidly, naively, didn't expect my guildmates to play such shallow, four-year-old mean assholes. And I've just started braving out of this shell; and now I don't want to stick my head out of the house ever again. If my own guild mates play characters who aren't supposed to be dreadful antagonists, just normal people, fling this out - I don't trust anyone. And I certainly fucking don't want to come online and play. Why go out of the house? Why go into a virtual world? It's the same everywhere. Saying such things is legitimate. God fucking dammit.

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