The other day, I had a “moment”. I was sitting on the bus, minding my own business and sitting pretty. This woman kept staring at me with the most disgusted look on her face. When she got off the bus, she said in a low voice as she passed me, “So fat and disgusting” and quickly got off the bus. What a coward! She made sure she got off quickly so I wouldn’t have an opportunity to respond. It always seems as if people do this when I am walking with my head up high, dressed impeccably and with a smile on my face and not a care in the world. It’s almost as if people feel threatened by the fact that I can be happy at my size.
Wait, let me rephrase that. It IS because people who are not overweight feel threatened by the fact that I can be happy at my size. I’m over here, very comfortable in my skin and it seems to make certain people very uncomfortable. For years, I used to wonder, “Is it me?” I was just so confused. You can really develop a complex by the negative treatment and looks that non-overweight folks can give. However, I have always been a person who does not accept things at face value. I like to know the reason behind actions. It helps me to understand and accept things for what they are. This helped me in not developing a serious complex and letting that affect my self-esteem.
I have learned in life through observing people and in my own personal relationships, that when someone is not happy in their own skin, they will definitely feel uncomfortable being around someone who is, especially if that person is larger than them. Even more especially if that overweight person is wearing something they would never personally wear because they have their own personal issues/fear of rocking such an item.
I recently cut off a friend because she is so obsessed with losing weight and refuses to go out with me anywhere aside from the mall and supermarket. She always seems surprised when I am having a love affair with myself or wearing a pretty outfit. It’s almost as if she thinks that because I am the size I am, I should not want to look pretty or take pride in how I look. I should instead be miserable and hating myself. I make her feel so uncomfortable. Yet she loves to shop with me because I am a master at fit, fabric and silhouettes (FFS). Being a plus size woman, many of us earn a PhD in FFS by being on a quest for years to find what fits us well. Well, she has been cut off from the school of FFS. If you’re only my friend when it is convenient for you, you are not really my friend.
I will admit that after the bus episode, I had a moment where I wistfully wished I could have a day where I was thin. Thin people don’t have to deal with this BS. I wished for a day where I could leave the house, not be stared at. A day where I’d be able to buy whatever clothing I want because my size would be available everywhere or be able to sky-dive without worrying about the weight limit. A day where I can walk outside, holding hands with a guy and not get dirty looks because they wonder why he is with me. These are not negative thoughts. Just wishes for a different environment because of how the public can be.
When I told this to a friend, he said to me, “Why wish for those things when you already have a great life at your size? Your life is not over. You make it work and that, to me, is inspiring. People will be people, no matter what your size. And for the record, all of that worrying about being stared at, is ridiculous. You are psyching yourself out before you even try. Now the other things like wearing a smaller size and sky-diving are attainable if you lose weight. It’s really up to you and what makes you happy.”
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the great life we possess already. We are human and have our moments. This reminder made me realize that we all have to look at the glass half full in life. Many of us spend so much time worrying about others, trying to change ourselves and striving for things we don’t have yet. While there is nothing wrong with having goals, there is something wrong with becoming so obsessed with those goals, that you don’t see what you already have. You only see what you DON’T have. When you look at the glass half full, you are seeing what wonderful things you already have. You are appreciating the moment. You are living in the now. You can’t predict the future but you can damn sure revel in the present moment and make it amazing.
So with this heatwave that we are experiencing in NYC this week, it's time for me to bust out my strapless dress, sleeveless shirts, shorts and all of that. I want to be cool and comfortable. It’s too hot to be wearing ¾ sleeves and covering up. I have never been one to cover up because I embrace my body, fat and all. And I am not going to even acknowledge the stares or whispers. That’s their problem, not mine. If I make you uncomfortable, too bad. Work on yourself first before you even step to me with that foolery. Your lack of self-esteem is not my problem or burden to bear.
I think that if we all spend more time loving ourselves instead of loathing others for having the attitude we want, the world would be a happier place. And I’d still have my friend in my life who, despite her actions, I believe has a good heart and just needs a little inspiration in her life.
I would love to hear your opinion on this. Please tell me your story. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be featuring some stories in an upcoming blog post. Let’s inspire each other and share.