Why This Blog is Anonymous, or On Not Coming Out

Recently I told a few more real-life friends about this blog, which caused me to do more thinking about why it’s anonymous.

And really?  What it comes down to is this: I don’t want a potential employer’s first hits on my name to be:

…and so on. Cowardly, maybe, but true.

Ah, you may think, won’t they realize how big you are when you interview?  Certainly they’ll realize I’m very fat.  They usually don’t attach a number to my size, though – and if they do, it’s high 200s or low 300s.  My experience is that most people who know me in real life do not realize my actual weight.

Why not?

  • Many people do lie about their weight, which tends to muddy the waters and skew people’s estimates.
  • When I do divulge my weight, I’m usually told I that I “carry it well”, which I think translates to having posture, cleavage, and wearing clothes that fit.
  • The other reaction is that I’m not letting it stop me from doing things – I go dancing, I have a sex life – so am I sure I weigh 400?  It’s like “400lbs” is one of those mythical, must-be-stuck-in-bed-or-playing-pro-football-or-sumo-wrestling sizes that normal people aren’t, right?  People my size appear on TV, not in the next cubicle.

I also thought anonymity would put an emotional distance between me & any hateful comments. (So far I’ve only had one. Yay.)

The funny thing is that, when I came out at work about being bisexual, I rationalized that it wouldn’t matter because I already “different” from my coworkers.  I’m a very fat woman in a male-dominated profession.  That’s obvious, right?  And yet, it is not completely obvious just HOW fat I am.  And I find I don’t want to be publicly “out” about my weight.

29 thoughts on “Why This Blog is Anonymous, or On Not Coming Out

  1. I get the same thing about my weight when I tell people how much I weigh. It’s like “No way, you can’t weigh that much.” As if I actually weighed that much I would need a forklift to get me off the couch or out of bed, in their minds. Since I don’t work anymore, and won’t be going to back to work, I don’t have to worry about an employer finding me online and deciding not to hire me on that basis, so I can be open about who I am IRL. But I can definitely understand the need for anonymity when you’re working or looking for work.

  2. I can understand the need for anonymity. It’s like, when people find out just ‘how big’ you *really* are, something changes.

    It seems much more acceptable in todays climate to be some “weird” sort of sexuality than it does to be *THAT* big.

    Hopefully, this will change.

  3. I get the same thing about my weight when I tell people how much I weigh. It’s like “No way, you can’t weigh that much.” As if I actually weighed that much I would need a forklift to get me off the couch or out of bed, in their minds.

    Indeed. A common reponse is, “but you’re so normal!” You know, because most fat people are space aliens or something. :)

  4. It seems much more acceptable in todays climate to be some “weird” sort of sexuality than it does to be *THAT* big.

    At least in my corner of the US, working in the software industry. If I were working at a conservative law firm in Salt Lake City or Atlanta, I might have more trouble with the sexuality!

    Hopefully, this will change.

    Yes, indeed ;)

  5. I opted 40 years ago to be very public about my objections to size discrimination, and also my FA taste in women, beginning with the NY Times and NBC television, but I had to make many career and professional concessions to do so. As a biomedical engineer, I found that few employers were happy about having an activist on board, even though my work was not affected by it. Fortunately, 30 years ago, I found a client that didn’t care. And now, at 67, I am retired as an engineer.

    If you have to deal with the corporate world, there are times that anonymity makes a lot of sense. I totally respect your decision to keep your privacy, in order to be able to safely share your ideas with the rest of us. The case you made for it is very well written.

  6. After years of keeping my “identities” on the internet surgically separated, so that my “fat stuff” would not be linked to my “remote viewing” stuff would not be linked to my “programmer” stuff, on my 43rd birthday I said you know what? — screw it. And I linked them together and mentioned it on a few blogs.

    It took less than 30 days for someone in the RV field to attack me for being fat. Gently? No, more like this:
    http://tinyurl.com/dames-the-dolt

    I actually felt like I had really come a long way personally, that it only bothered me slightly, not so much, and that I was far more willing to have it stay online and be READ so people could see what a jerk the guy is than to let it be taken offline so he could (as usual) delete his insanity and rudeness and pretend, retroactively, to be a mature and sane adult. There was a time when someone saying 1/100th that crap would have completely mortified me and made me never want to go near anybody who’d seen it again. Now it just made me roll my eyes, and while it was slightly embarrassing, it mostly just made me feel like, “There you go — give your enemies rope and they hang themselves with it.”

    PJ

  7. I think if you’re going to write about anything personal (sex, medical issues, family stuff) it often makes sense to be anonymous. You don’t have to apologise for it, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Personally the reason I’m anonymous is so that I can be honest without second guessing myself and worrying what an employer or family member might say if they were to find the more personal stuff.

    Also totally agreed that people often have no idea what other people around them actually weigh, and they often react with shock when they find out the truth. I’m sort of average sized, but people generally underestimate my weight by about 20 pounds. I think it’s the boobs, honestly. But even at an average size I’ve had people react oddly and treat me differently when they realise that I’m heavier than they assumed. It’s wierd how attached people are to the numbers, and how they value them more than what they actually see with their own eyes.

    • They think numbers are more objective.
      *rolleyes*

      Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

      Then again, visual “confirmations” carry their own set of messy biases.
      If one more person says “What are you?” to me before the onrushing madness of the holiday season is over, there’s a very good chance they’re gonna get smacked.

      Sorry to be so ranty. I’ve had a day.

  8. ^^^ i’ve gotten that reaction aswell! It’s interesting that people view “oh, you don’t look THAT heavy” as a compliment (either giving or receiving). I’m rather suprised when people lie about their weight though. I was once tasked to collect information for ID cards from a group of teenagers (the military required that the ID card had the person’s weight on it: in kilograms!) Most people don’t know their weight in kilos (not here at least), so I had to convert whatever figure they gave me. Some people came up with numbers that truely astonished me! Most ourageous was the girl who estimated her weight as 150kg and the girl who estimated hers as 40kg. Suprisingly enough, these two ladies were probably 20kg apart in weight. I had a chuckle, then asked them to restimate in pounds.

  9. You know, you look like you could be me, from that photo! :) I’m about 350lbs. Because of this, I feel like I won’t be afraid of numbers. Thanks.

  10. Even my doctor doesn’t believe I’m as heavy as I am. She weighed me (I’m 5′ and about 180lb), shook her head and said “You’re not very overweight, you’re just really short. With a big chest.”

    I’ve always been fat, so I don’t let it put me off doing the things I like, eating the food I want or dressing attractively. And then, somehow, it doesn’t seem to matter to other people so much either. There seems to be a stereotype of fat people as shovelled into ketchup-stained sweatpants, not bothering to comb our hair or cut our toenails and if we don’t conform to that, we’re perceived as being lighter than we are. Very strange!

  11. I am anonymous for very similar reasons. I don’t think an employer could objectively hire me and think I am competant if they knew I have eaten entire batches of brownie batter and whole pizzas by myself. Binge eating disorder and professionalism do not, in many employers’ minds, mix. So sad, because I am a great person with excellent work skills, yet I have to hide my eating in order to be respected.

  12. I am so upset with myself and I don’t know what to do anymore. I had an active life now all I do is get on the computer and play games, what a life. I am no longer physically able to work and it hurts me to do the simpliest things such as a bath, cook for myself and so forth. I don’t want to be anonymous I want some help and yes I know that I did it to myself andI am now crying for help to get it off. I am so proud of any women who loses the weight naturally without the surgeries that they are offering now. Well if anyone can help a fat lady lose the weight get in touch with me to help me become a PHAT LADY (Pretty Hot And Tempting Lady) again. To all of my full figured women or even fat women keep your head up and keep the faith.

    • I can’t say i ever had an active life, but i was definitely trying harder than i am now. WTF? I lost the weight naturally–i.e. eating really very little– and now more than half what i lost has found me again. I would recommend finding a good TOPS group, if you are looking to lose weight. Worked for me, stopped working when i stopped going. Best support and unconditional acceptance. And cheap! I’ll stop sounding like an ad for them, but i do believe in it. And i’m going to find a meeting time that works for me and get back in my groove.
      Take care sweetie.

    • Deborah, sweetie, have some big ol’ internet hugs. I’m having a very similar life right now in terms of the computer and games and inactivity. Except it’s not much to do with my weight and a hell of a lot to do with my clinical depression interacting with unemployment and some other life stresses. Try and do something to feel better – feeling helpless and down is so horrible.

      My personal things that I have to force myself to do when I feel bad are getting outside, and getting some exercise – even a plod around the block can help lift my spirits a bit. Sunshine and movement. And concentrating on the pleasurable, and being kind to yourself. Maybe if you can feel better about yourself, then you can think of caring for yourself with better food and exercise and so on. Swimming is often good for not straining the joints. And you might lose weight, or you might not but just feel better anyway.

  13. I wish I had told fewer personal friends and aquaintences about my blog. It sort of inhibits me, knowing they might read it. I am more or less anonymous, although a determined weirdo figured me out once. Not that there’s anything shocking there, but whenever you reveal so much of yourself, it’s good to have a kind of shield.

  14. i have to say, i think you are an astonishing woman. this is a great blog and you are absolutely beautiful, inside and out (and especially in shorts and a tank top) :) keep well!

  15. I just found your blog and I look forward to reading it. I just started mine, and am doing it all anonymously for now.

    I gained over 200 pounds over the past 7 years due to an illness, and most people that know me do not know that. Very few people have seen me since I got sick, and I am totally in the closet about my current weight.

    I just wanted you to know that you are far from alone and that you can contact me at any time.

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  17. I have been living in 357 pound shame and was elated to have found your blog. Even my doctor won’t believe me when I tell her how much I weigh. She put me on the scale and said, “I don’t know where you put it.”

    You know, I think she should have said, “Yes, you are getting really heavy and I’m worried about you.”

    I feel like at my weight everyone, including the medical community, sees me as a lost cause…

  18. People always say the same thing to me… whether I was starving myself to 5’5 and 120 or whether I’m am at my current 190. I’ve started to wonder — could it be the muscle? Because hidden under my fat rolls is a six pack…. under that soft inner-thing flab — muscle. When I was my starved thinnest, I hated my thighs — but you know what, they weren’t going anywhere. They were leftover from my soccer player past, a result of my compulsive lap-swimming, dog walking, treadmill running calorie burning. I wasn’t made to be lithe. Fat or thin, the muscle is there — and right now, laid up with a broken leg, I am GLAD. I can balance on one leg for a long time. I can contort myself out of the bathtub with my abdomen muscles, I can strain to sit up without bracing on my legs.
    Muscle weighs more than fat, and they aren’t mutually exclusive — that muscle can be under the fat, still weighing more.

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  21. Ah, work. Before I’d ever heard of fat acceptance, I decided to make my blog pseudonymous because I didn’t want my employers/coworkers looking the atheism-related stuff on it, and to a lesser extent, the political stuff in general.

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