Sticks and Stones

I’ve always been “husky” as they called it when I was younger. One of my earliest memories is of my Aunt B talking about my chubbiness and how it will come off when I get older, when it didn’t come off she bullied me for eating too much and called me fat. This started when I was six. My stepfather and sister were also often part of the bullying regarding my weight and my nickname was Mrs. Piggy. There’s a lot to unpack there. 

When I went to live with my father it got much worse, not just the teasing and bullying from my highschool peers, but also the control and bullying from my father. I was my smallest in highschool weighing in at 165 lbs and still called “fat” from those around me.

I still struggle with my weight to this day, each year fighting to lose pounds only to gain, I feel cursed by my heritage. But what is worse are the memories of hateful words that play over and over in my head. 

I suffer from PCOS and other ailments; I have scientific evidence that the weight gain is not because I’m lazy or eat the wrong foods. Yet, I still go back to the hateful words and I constantly bully myself; “Why can’t you spend an hour after work in the gym? You’r so lazy” and “you’re so lazy you can’t even keep your house clean.”

I can say that the overweight population has unfairly been persecuted for their weight,and this injustice has not been looked at as a social issue, even though in 2012 Yale Rudd Center published a report about the Social Justice Issues surrounding weight bias. 

Due to my weight it’s hard to get proper medical care; I spent the past 3 years trying to get my fibromyalgia diagnosed only to have five different doctors tell me it’s because I’m overweight, and if I lose weight and “walk more” I wouldn’t be in pain. 

I’ve been passed over for promotions, publicly called out, harrassed and bullied by strangers, ridiculed in restaurants and on planes and have cried while walking home because of the words a stranger has said to me. Words cut deeper than any sticks and stones would have. 

I know that we have the power to create justice and equity with the very words we say. Every day! Till weight is recognized as a protected medical condition, and weight bias a social justice issue,  I ask that we be kind to everyone. 

I didn’t know how I wanted this reflection to end, certainly not in the stream of tears that are currently rolling down my cheeks. 

~Candice C. Carver

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5 Responses to Sticks and Stones

  1. Peggy A says:

    Hugs to you, Candace. I feel your pain
    I was extremely skinny much of my during my childhood and early adult life. My classmates made jokes about me quite often, such as calling me Olive Oil from the Popeye cartoons, or asking me if I had to run around in the shower to get wet. Once a guy on whom I had a secret crush told me that I should go to the majorette try-outs after school that day because they needed some more batons. I took weight-on tablets, and drank milkshakes every day trying to gain weight. Nothing ever worked. Finally in my last two years of college I started to gain some weight, but much harm was already done to my self-image. I agree with you that this type of bullying is very harmful. I see you, Candace, as a beautiful, kind, and industrious woman. I love you for just who you are!

    • Candice C Carver says:

      Peggy, I’m so sorry that you went through all that bullying. I don’t know why people are so cruel, I feel some people don’t realize the harm that’s done.

  2. Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones says:

    Candice, this is so important, and I am so grateful that you’ve shared your experience and lifted UP this social justice issue, around which many Unitarian Universalists are now doing wonderful work. Bias–implicit and explicit–is rooted deep around many issues and identities, and the systems of oppression that result–like the difficulty getting adequate and respectful medical care–are real.

    We can change this in our community and our lives. I’m so glad we are in this together!

  3. Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones says:

    Oh, and also! Don’t let me rush past the terrible harm and hurt you have experienced! I am so sorry that has happened to you! We are holding you in Love!

  4. Lydia M Patrick says:

    How beautiful you are in so many ways! My mom used to call
    me a fatty. She would say women like us would shine with our deeds and godliness. I couldn’t eat a slice of bread without a comment about it. I am still learning that ALL of that came from a place of pain within her -and because no one allowed her solace – she didn’t know how to give it to me. You are beloved and wonderful and size is always relative. Thank you for being brave enough to speak to this issue we have still to deal with in society.

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