Letters I’ve Written I: Anderson Cooper
8 November 2020
Dear Mr. Cooper,
When you said these words:
“That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world. And we see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over."
I saw fit to light you up because that is some rank-ass bullshit.
tRump is an odious human being. His size is not what makes him an odious human being. That fault lies in his behavior.
You have since issued an apology for those remarks, because, as you said, “that is not the person that I really want to be.”
I genuinely hope that it is not, Sir, because there are plenty of those kinds of people, and they do untold harm to innocent individuals whose only “crime” is not measuring up to modern society’s arbitrary standards of attractiveness.
I am a large person with multiple health issues, including mobility issues. I move slowly. If I were to fall on my back in the hot sun, I might very well resemble “an obese turtle flailing around on her back in the hot sun, wondering if her time is over.”
Is it really okay for you to ridicule people like me?
I rather wonder if people were only incensed by tRump’s mocking of the disabled reporter because the man is slim. Were he heavy, how many of you would have said, “yeah, but tRump does have a point—look how fat he is!”
I feel that it is as if you and I come from different planets, Mr. Cooper.
You are wealthy, able-bodied, and most people looking at you would consider you handsome.
My earnings put me below poverty level. I have multiple disabilities, and I am considered ugly. Doubly so because I am heavy.
Fat is not the worst thing that a person can be, and that is what your initial statement implies.
Fat is not a hallmark of laziness, slovenliness, or any other negative thing. It is a neutral state. Why should people be treated abominably because they have a surplus of adipose tissue?
You will never know what it is to have people yelling at you that you are “eating yourself into an early grave,” even though your food intake is no more than that of your smaller counterparts.
You will never know what it is to have people tell you that you “just need to exercise more” as if you could just turn your mobility, pain, and weakness off.
You will never know what it is to realize that the only reason any time a man is propositioning you is because he thinks you’re desperate enough to have sex with anybody who asks, or because he’s doing so on a dare.
You will never know what it is to have people not want to hire you because they assume that fat people are “always taking time off” because of their poor health. I am unable to work at a regular job anymore, but I rarely called in sick during the last twelve years of my working life. I did call in sick a lot previously, but it was not because I was fat. It was because I had untreated PTSD and nowhere to turn for help.
While everyone was patting you on the back for your “obese turtle” comment, I was seething.
You see, I may be a mean old bitch who doesn’t give a rip what a rich pretty boy news anchor or his fans think of me now, but I still struggle with the eating disorder that onset when I was twelve years old because I was terrified of getting fat. I did everything I could not to get fat. I exercised obsessively. I missed a lot of moments with my son when he was little because I was at the gym for up to five hours a day trying to get ridiculously thin.
That gym put up “motivational” pictures of celebrities talking about how they were up to a “gargantuan 132 pounds” before they obsessively dieted and exercised themselves down to “a slim 102,” or something equally unsustainable.
I weighed a good deal more than 132 pounds. If that was gargantuan, what the hell was I?
I tried to hate myself thin for 33 years, Mr. Cooper. It didn’t work. You see, my endocrine system conspired against me, starting with my thyroid, which fried itself when I was in my early teens.
I worked for many years in very physical jobs taking care of people or serving food and drinks while not taking care of myself.
My working life mostly ended in March 2017. I was working as a home health nurse caring for medically fragile pediatric patients. I was very, very sick with a bad respiratory infection, but the coordinator from the agency that I worked for insisted that I go to work because I had contracted the infection from the patient that I was working with so it was reasoned that I could not re-infect that patient.
My diabetes was getting worse. I had not yet started using insulin. My coordinator was always telling me that they were going to get rid of the other nurse on the case, who had lupus, and replace her with me, because she was always calling in. I didn’t want them to do that.
During the night, I fell into a very deep sleep. I do not remember doing so. I would occasionally doze lightly for brief periods of times during a night shift, but I was easily roused. That was not the case on this occasion. The last time I looked at the clock on my laptop, it was 4:00.
I woke from complete oblivion to see the patient’s father sitting on the edge of the patient’s bed glaring at me. It was 4:20 A.M. I gathered my things and left. I was fired, which I expected would happen. The patient’s mother lied and told the agency that I had been ordered to leave. That is not what happened. The patient’s father told me that I could finish the shift. I said that I did not think that would be a good idea and I terminated the shift of my own accord.
At this point, I think that I may have lupus because of my weakness and fatigue and the redness across my cheeks and the bridge of my nose. It is like pulling teeth to get tested.
I tried to work in a long-term care situation after my last case ended with a second homecare agency where I had been working. I only lasted one night. I felt like I was going to pass out and I was confused by tasks that I had handled easily during my clinicals, such as med passes and treatments. The nursing staff was running from the time they arrived and never had time for breaks. Because of my diabetes, I needed to be able to take breaks to check my blood sugar and eat. This was not possible.
Mr. Cooper, it is not people like Donald tRump who get hurt when people like you make cracks like the “obese turtle” remark. It is people like me.
Seeing everyone laughing because someone like you implied that fat is the worst thing that a person can be, and fat people are deserving of derision and scorn is very painful.
My life is already difficult enough.
I try to take daily walks through the little town where I live using my upright walker so I can walk for longer distances than I would be able to if I were compensating for my spine problems. It is one of the poorest towns in the state of Colorado. I would not want to live anywhere else. I do not want to return to the Denver area. I want this to be where I live for the rest of my life. Which, by the way, may be longer than you expect, given my horrible, horrible fatness.
My very fat great grandmother, who had obvious endocrine problems, lived to be 79. It was not any “disease of obesity” that killed her. It was acute myelogenous leukemia, a disease that kills people of all sizes. In fact, she lasted a good deal longer than a thin person would have. She went from 300 pounds to 95 pounds in the space of a year. Then she died.
But hey, at least she cut a svelte figure in her casket, am I right? She was no longer an obese turtle in the sun deserving of the scorn and ridicule of elite news anchors and their cronies.
Mr. Cooper, I hope that you mean it when you say that you don’t want to be the guy who made the “obese turtle” remark. I was extremely disappointed when that guy surfaced, because, prior to that moment, I did not think that you were him.
I’m willing to forgive, but I never forget. I have my eye on you.
This letter was published on the Sly Fawkes Feminist Media channel.
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I hope you sent it to the man in question as well. I really hope it.ReplyDelete
I suppose my best hope is to tweet my LBRY link to his Twitter. I can't find an email or snail mail address.Delete