Ah, the weight one. I’ve been dealing with that one all my life, even after losing nearly 100 pounds. I’m taller than average, hourglass figure, a little more heavily built – and carrying about 40 extra pounds. People have said some truly horrible things to me over the years in a variety of places and situations, both related to me and complete strangers.
Going in for any kind of check-up is awful. I’m a vegetarian who works out 4 – 6 times a week. I’ve run 5ks in the past. My cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar are excellent. But most doctors see a heavier woman and assume you’re a fat, lazy hog who has never heard of this nebulous food category called “fruits and vegetables.”
They tend to think you’re uneducated, careless, single, asexual and so on. Worst of all, if you do have certain health problems, they chalk it up to you being fat rather than probing further. The birth control pill caused my blood pressure to become high – which was ignored by my doctor, who simply shrugged, “You’re fat, so naturally…” A week after stopping it, my levels were back to normal.
The vegetarianism thing is a sticking point. Of course I think it’s the ethically superior decision – if I didn’t, I’d probably be eating meat. That’s why we all make the decisions that we make – if you’re monogamous, you’re probably doing so because you see it as a better than not being monogamous. That doesn’t mean you’re preachy – you’re living your life as you want.
People can be very critical of the decision. I was surprised, though, that my family has been receptive and supportive of the decision. Fewer people resort to automatically defending their decision to eat meat when they find out I’m a vegetarian; many ask why I did it, and it’s not in an accusatory way. It’s pleasant.
I’m an atheist, so that one’s always a treasure. People inviting you to their church, people saying that we’re such a “Godly and devoted couple” (I guess because we don’t fit the stereotype of fire-breathing, child killing atheists). It is funny how silent a room can get when people find out that we’re “non-religious” (my euphemism for ‘atheist’ for most people). There’s usually a pause, then an, “…Oh,” before they abruptly move on.
All in all, a lot of potential landmines working against me.