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Friday, March 14, 2014

Is Fat Really The Worst Thing A Human Being Can Be?

You know how they say if you don't want to hear something that will upset you, you shouldn't eavesdrop? It's kind of the same with Google, I think.

I was going to write an entry about how good Lola (aka bebe pone) has been doing and how nice it is that March is here and horses are shedding and stuff, but then I fell down an internet rabbit hole.

I read an article about how Google search's main page has changed, and for a lack of anything else to search, I punched in "A Fat Girl A Fat Horse". I do this from time to time to see what sorts of keywords pull the blog, etc - as a matter of marketing and knowing how people are finding me. The fatal error I made was that I then checked out "images". Of course there were tons of images that I had posted on the blog (fair enough), but then I caught sight of this picture:


Pretty much cropped off below my knees, used on a site called Memegenerator where people put words on stock images and then post them on Facebook and think they're clever. I saw a couple on the main search page but then clicked through to the memegenerator site itself.

I won't post the memes that were generated using this picture, but I will tell you there were 9 pages of them, the least insulting of them being "Dave's Girlfriend" (trust me, Dave should be so lucky!). Many of them insinuated a sexual relationship with this horse, most of them were about the horse's back breaking,

I'm not immune to this stuff. I often put on a brave face but the instances that hurt me the most are when I don't have the opportunity to engage in a sensible discussion with someone, when things are said or done in a "hit and run" style that are clearly meant only to hurt. So I was incredulous, then I was hurt, and then I regrouped. It didn't take long, maybe 30 minutes, for me to lift my head back up and remember a few things.

If someone isn't human enough to ask me more, to find out the story, before passing judgement or worse, trying to pass my existence off as humor... well, I don't have time for that. Waaaaaay too busy being fabulous!

The truth is, friends, the internet is a wondrous and horrifying place all at the same time. It is a great place to network, find people with similar interests - support, friendship, and all of the things that build us up and make us happy and healthy. The internet is also a mostly anonymous outlet for hateful people to spew their vitriol with little to no consequence. People get to air alllllll their ugly out there, and other ugly people can find them and give them a virtual high five and perpetuate that ugly.

Now, about that picture. Though some anonymous assholes on the internet have used it for the butt of their joke -- that picture represents pride, it represents happiness, it represents freedom and the beginning of a whole change of heart about how I felt about myself. Angel has been gone for almost 8 years now. I am so much different now than I was then. Amanda then probably could not have looked at this and realized that the problem is with them, not with me. Amanda then probably would have had a crying jag (I didn't even shed a single tear this time!), and then done something self destructive which probably would have involved rage-eating or some other type of overindulgence. Amanda then couldn't have, after the initial shock and sadness, felt sorry for the people who have nothing better to do with their life than to make fun of an anonymous person without knowing a single thing about their life other than their body size. Amanda now has got this in the bag.




Edited to add: Now that I am over being shocked and upset, I think the thing that bothers me the most is that they used an image with my beloved deceased Angel in it in this way. I think the humor of it on images of Bronwyn and I wouldn't have been as tough as the one-two punch of not only seeing the cruel words used but also my dead horse.

Edited AGAIN to add: If, by sharing my image of me riding Angel, in the four year life of this blog, I have inspired EVEN ONE reader to STOP putting things off until the time is right and their body is perfect, then this grief has all been worth it!

21 comments:

  1. *hugs* people are cruel, especially when cloaked in anonymity.
    Love how you've sat up and looked at this from so many angles, way to be the bigger (no evil dig/pun intended) person. "Old" Amanda was awesome but this "new" worldwise Amanda is Kick Ass & a bigger source of inspiration to remember to be the bigger person in all aspects of life.

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  2. People can be so mean, and the internet is there to help them hide behind a screen. There are bullies of all ages out there that want a reaction out of the innocent people they are trying to hurt. Good for you for keeping your head held high (as you should, I think it is a wonderful fun picture!) and being well above the hate and negativity. The world needs more "Amanda's" and less hate. You're awesome!

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  3. I'm taking a line from Aoife above...

    the "new" world wise (emphasis on wise) Amanda is Kick Ass & a bigger source of inspiration.

    The people who have the time to search out photos and add cruel remarks are sitting on their ass in front of a computer with nothing better to do. You are wise enough to consider the source (feel sorry for them) regroup and let this roll of your shoulder.

    I am sure you have inspired more than one rider to get out there and not only ride but live their lives.

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  4. I can't say it any better than the people who posted above but I can add that you have definitely inspired me and are slowly inspiring my mom to get out and enjoy things that we missed... riding and swimming being two of the top ones.

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  5. This is just awful. I'm so sorry it happened. I shudder to think what people say about me and my riding sometimes, but I just can't dwell on it.

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  6. Wow.

    I wish we could make people stop this, wish we could make people realize how hurtful these things are...I made my own meme with your picture...just like your mom. You know what, we might not be able to delete the awful ones, and we might not be able to stop the bullying, but maybe with enough of us, the next time you google your picture, all these positive meme's will come up instead!

    So I say we all go on that website, and make you a new, motivational meme, about how awesome you are, how great that horse was, and we can stand up against this sort of thing together.

    You got this handled. ;)

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  7. Ugh, that's just horrible. Good for you for not letting it get to you...that would be hard for me.

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  8. What an inspiring post! The web is full of trolls that have nothing better to do than degrade a photo of a happy girl and her horse. I LOVE your positive attitude!

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  9. Wow people are nasty... really nasty. I am sorry that you had to stumble on some of the low life of this earth.

    What a testament to you for being strong enough to share this and stand up for yourself- awesome girl awesome!

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  10. I've never read your blog before, just found it actually, but just wanted to stop in and say I'm so sorry people can be so cruel. I know it isn't my fault but I just want you to hear an apology from someone.

    I have never had to deal with being overweight but when I was a kid I was teased horribly for other things to the point that I completely shut down for a while. I know how much courage it takes to put yourself out there knowing there will always be those people who will try to make you feel bad about who you are.

    This post was most definitely inspiring to me, thank you!

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  11. I also have never read your blog before, and I'm not normally one for getting emotional, but I cried. This is just so sad, and you are so awesome for handling it this way!

    I am not only shocked, but baffled by the trolling that happens online. And who are these people to judge? Holed away, making fun of a picture of a happy girl on her horse enjoying the sunshine and the outdoors. It's pathetic.

    Way to go on being so strong and wise about it.

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  12. Not sure if you've gone back to the meme site, but I think you should check out the first page... ;)

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  13. I always remember Fat is not what I am, it's something I have. After all I have elbows but I'm not Elbows.

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  14. There are a lot of sad small people who spend all their time on computers and criticize and demeaning others. You are right to pity them! They are cowards who are too afraid to do/try anything themselves and would rather sit in the safety of their homes and get cheap laughs from other people.
    Sending hugs and good vibes to you!

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  15. Demean not demeaning - typo! Oops!

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  16. I used to ride when I was younger and had been thinking about starting up again, but I was too afraid to because I had put on a lot of weight due to an illness. After finding your blog, I called around to different stables and found an AMAZING trainer. I took that leap because of what I read here. Otherwise, I would not have had the confidence. I would have waited a long time, or maybe never gotten back into it at all. I am LOVING it. So thank you!

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  17. Mission: Accomplished. After over a decade of being convinced that I can't ride without injuring horses - horses I have always loved.... I've decided to look for a place I can ride... just once. That's where I'll begin. I'm terrified. And as such, expect a Facebook message from me real soon asking for a little advice on how to get started. But the point is that your blog (as I've told you before) is the ONLY reason I ever found out that being plus size doesn't mean you can't ride and it doesn't mean you'll hurt the horse! I let one stupid guy's comment to me as a young teen end my interaction with horses for all this time. So yeah. You're doing good.

    As to this meme generator bullshit - I'm so very very sorry. That's crap. I'm sorry it happened to you. I'm expecting it at some point myself. Being in the fat positive world in any way, shape or form - particularly as a pioneer or voice in a community that isn't stereotypically body positive exposes us a lot. <3 You have my support, always. You are badass. Keep it up! <3

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    1. That is SO awesome, Lisa! Please keep me updated on your adventure. :)

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  18. Actually, I found your blog when I was looking for advice. I am a big girl (270 at present) and I just started riding again. I am leading a very large paint horse, and due to my disproportionate size, I need very short stirrups and extra long reins. I decided that before my next lesson on Wednesday (taking a few lessons to get to know the horse and brush up on my skills) that I would Google "obese horse riding techniques" I was hoping to find skills that I can use to be gentler on my horse, and how to compensate for my weight in my riding style. Well, I got through 4 pages of Google before I gave up. There is no above posted out there, only many many words of hate and how I don't have the "right" to ride since I am big. Well, if my hormones and thyroid would work, I might not be so big, or maybe if my asthma didn't kick up every single time I walk more than 5 blocks...I wouldn't be so big. But having a horse to ride and the skills to do it is a huge motivator for me to work hard and lose the weight (even if I can't forget my inhaler).

    Do you have any advice for another big girl to ride?

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  19. Girl, go on facebook and look up "the militant baker"! i'm all over her stuff about body revolution. you two should share blog pages!

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