It takes a lot of courage for me to get into my ‘activewear’ of whatever the fuck you call it nowadays. It’s no Lululemon, Lorna Jane or Under Armour, because those brands don’t make my size — you know, ‘plus size’, or as I call it, ‘fat chick clothes’. I mean, why would they? It seems only reasonable to assume that FAT people don’t need to exercise, right? Anyway, I digress. So, as I was saying, it takes me a lot of courage to step out in my exercise gear (top brand stuff — Target, Big W and K-Mart — because those stores know that FAT people exercise too!) because I know what I look like and it’s not an overly attractive sight seeing me in skin tight leggings, even if I do my best to cover my the cellulite riddled thighs with a little skirt thing I’ve had in my drawer since my son was born 10 years ago. But for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to get out and go for a walk each day. Most days I’ve done it and I feel so much better for it, both physically and mentally.
Since being away on holidays with my family, I’ve been out walking each day, along the beach walking path, down to a cafe, where I treat myself to a coffee before walking back. Each day I’ve tried my best to ignore the looks I’ve been getting from people along the way and especially those sitting at the cafe, sipping their lattes, when I wander up the steps and ask for a table. I’ve done my best to ignore the ever so subtle remarks they make to their friends, before they all turn and look at me then quickly turn back to giggle under their breath. I’ve tried my best to sit down and enjoy my coffee, just like everyone else, while desperately trying to hide my body, which doesn’t fit as neatly on the bar stools as other people’s bodies. I’ve tried, but it’s incredibly hard. I try to hold my head up high as I walk up to the counter to pay, knowing full well that people are muttering things behind my back and at the very least, staring in disgust at the FAT chick who dared to leave the privacy of her apartment and venture out in her fucking activewear in a desperate attempt to make some positive changes. I walk out, staring at the ground, wishing I could suddenly be invisible.
For the people reading this who have never experienced being ‘FAT’ or who have never been part of a minority, you may think me paranoid, but at 43 years of age, having always been the FAT chick, I can assure you, that is not the case. Over the years, there have been countless occasions where I have been on the receiving end of random abuse from passers by in cars or fellow pedestrians, as I’ve been walking along, minding my own business. Over the years, people haven’t hesitated in telling me how unacceptable they think I look. At 15 years of age, a friend said to me, ‘you’d be a real glamour if you weren’t so FAT’. Who needs enemies, right?
It would actually seem that being FAT is some kind of unforgivable sin, something that is so absolutely horrendous that people live their entire lives, trying not to gain weight. Even a kilogram here or there is some kind of life altering catastrophe, something that must be changed immediately, lest they be seen as FAT. The conversations I hear, on a daily basis, would lead me to believe that there is absolutely, positively NOTHING worse in this world than being overweight. I hear people talking about their own weight and notice their obsession over needing to lose a kilo because they celebrated their birthday over the weekend and ate cake. I hear people telling their children to stop eating or they will ‘get a fat tummy’ or that their 10 year old needs to ‘go for a run’ because their tummy has gotten big. For those parents guilty of such comments, do your children a favour and educate yourselves around body image and eating disorders and how comments like those can do unimaginable amounts of damage, leading to lifelong struggles.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be FAT either. I don’t want to be unhealthy, or struggle in my daily life to do things because it’s harder for me carrying all this extra weight. I absolutely, positively don’t want my kids to get FAT either, because I want them to be healthy and happy and to live long and happy lives so I understand why people worry about it. Nobody wants to be unhealthy or unhappy or the victim or ridicule, part of a minority. Nobody wants to have to wear ugly clothes in FAT sizes, or feel uncomfortable in their own skin but our obsession with our bodies is far beyond these things. Our obsession with appearance and our idea of what is and isn’t acceptable, has gone way beyond worrying about our health and happiness. To us, to our society, being FAT is the epitome of laziness, unworthiness and is pure UGLINESS.
For what it’s worth, I’m not out here in my fucking activewear trying to get skinny and fit your mould, because it’s not something I will ever be. Sadly, even if I were to lose dozens of kilos, you guys would still see me as FAT and dread looking like me. So forgive me if I don’t believe you when you tell me I’m ‘beautiful, just the way I am’ when you’re doing everything in your power to avoid looking like me. To all those people who mock me when I’m out walking, trying to be a healthier, happier human, FUCK YOU ALL. The way you make me feel some days, is enough to send me into a terrible space of self hatred and worthlessness that can last for days, impacting my entire world.
So with all that said, I’m heading out again, in my fucking activewear, to go for a walk, to try and hold my head high, as I pass by all the judgement filled assholes who, if they took 5 seconds to get to know me, might actually find that I’m a generous, kind and super courageous human who has overcome huge obstacles in my 43 years.