Fat. So?
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Fat. So?

Resigning from adulthood

I would like to turn in my adult card please, thank you. Seriously. I am done! It’s one big racket! Don’t fall for it!

All your life, being an adult is seen as the ultimate goal. Grownups know what they’re doing, they have control of shit like the TV and bedtime, and they have special things they drink. They don’t have to listen to anyone. And then you finally make it to grownupness and… it was all a big con.

Far from having control, the hardest thing about being an adult is accepting that you don’t really have control over anything much more than going to the bathroom. You might want to sleep early, but you have to work late. You might want to sleep in, but hey you have chores or a workout. You might want to eat cake but hey you have to be thin/acne-free/healthy/whatever. You might want to lie in bed and watch trash TV but hey you have to write seventy billion pointless, boring emails and pretend to care about stuff on Zoom calls.

Jokes aside though, the reason adulthood is the biggest con is because it is built on a certain idea of life that is deeply discriminatory and programs us to ignore, suppress and repress important parts of ourselves so we can conform to the con. Adults “have to” live a certain way and follow a certain trajectory. Get a “normal” job, a partner, children; own a house and a bunch of other shit; dress a certain way; display your income by consuming in certain patterns… I could go on and on. These are the markers by which you are considered an adult by other people but also, thanks to conditioning, by yourself.

But what do these markers actually do? They make you think that money or market value is the only important thing. For example, to display my success, I need to live a certain way, which will cost so much, which I cannot afford if my work is something that is not valued highly by the traditional market. To get an acceptable partner I must be heterosexual and display a certain purchasing power as a male, and look a certain way as a female. To achieve that look as a female I must spend money on all kinds of things, from under eye cream and vaginal bleaching to nail paint and a diet and exercise regimen. To be a good parent I must give my children to certain kinds of education — and set them off into career that will give them enough money to display all that purchasing power when it’s their turn to be adults.

Very often we trade off the hollowness of our professional lives by spending money to feel better: I can drink single malts and holiday in Europe because of this job. So it’s ok that I hate every second of it and want to die. Besides, it pays for all this stuff (that I don’t even know I want).

We tell ourselves stories to justify these paths: I can’t draw and I’m good at maths, so of course I’m an engineer. when in actual fact you probably spent very little time on and got very little approval for drawing but worked very hard on maths with a lot of help.

We expend so much emotional energy on silencing the voices of dissent, the same voices that tell us it’s not right that we’re seen as less because we’re fat, or short, or dark, or whatever. If we could just channel some of that energy into breaking the mould and silencing the loud voices of conditioning, we might live much better lives for it.

I, for one, am totally ready to retire. I can see no reason why I should have to spend time and energy on frustrating unrewarding work when I could be doing more for fat liberation, or painting, or making things with my hands. No reason that is, other than the need to pay rent and eat food and buy clothes… and you see me sliding back down into the pit there?



This is the blog for the Fat. So? Podcast, where Pallavi and Ameya talk about the joys and sorrows of being fat women in India.

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Ameya Nagarajan

Ameya Nagarajan

Fat activist, cat lady, cook, amateur anthropologist, podcaster, collector of people

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