…does this make me look fat?
I’ve noticed something lately and I’ve been ruminating on it for a while, but something that happened today brought it all bubbling up and made me decide I needed to express my thoughts to more than the inside of my head (which is a great place, don’t get me wrong, but does little to take these thoughts beyond the cavernous, echoing halls and hidden little hideaways and mental forts of solitude).
See, in case you aren’t already aware of this, I am a fat woman. Obese, large, fat. I make no attempt to hide that fact (and really? how could I?) I observe the world from inside this body. I observe the way the world treats this body and others like it (and yes, I mean the body and not me because mostly people only see my body and they never get down to actually noticing me so they act, react and treat my body a certain way, not me) and I notice a few things.
For one, where did this dichotomy come from where fat folk are yelled at to get off our lazy asses and work out, yet when we have the temerity to go to a gym and do just that, we get ridiculed and told to get off the machines and let people who really want to use them do it? We walk and get told to give it up, to go home and stuff our face, that we can’t be serious about weight loss or we’d be running. And gods forbid we should try running.
And yes, I’ve been told all of those things. I’ve had personal trainers tell me I was too fat to work out. I’ve had gym bunnies actually ask me to get off the elliptical I was working out on because “You’re going so slow you can’t be serious. Speed up or get off so the rest of us can use it.” I’ve also been told I shouldn’t sweat so much because it’s disgusting. (I mostly just blinked at her until she went away).
Now, it’s summer and I live in a second story apartment with no air conditioning. It gets HOT up in here. I also work from home, so I’m here all day in this heat. I don’t know if everyone knows this, but us fat folk? We tend to run a little to the hot side of things. My general clothing allowance on summer days is a sarong or shorts and a sports bra. Sometimes I even put on a swim suit and go down to the pool (shocking, I know).
My windows are open and fans circulate air and sometimes in the course of my day I walk past said windows and sliding glass door in my sarong or sports bra or swim suit. All my “naughty bits” (which…aren’t naughty in my opinion, but I think that’s a whole other blog entry) are covered. It is quite clear however that I am fat. My skin shows. My fat is obvious. But then….when isn’t it obvious? If I had no skin showing, would I somehow be less fat?
This afternoon, I actually had someone knock on my door to complain about me standing in the patio door in my shorts and sports bra. I had heard something outside and went to investigate, found two young kids (maybe 4 & 6) playing in the courtyard across from my apartment and stood to watch for a minute as their parents weren’t immediately noticeable (they were watching from the shade). All told, I was there maybe 5 minutes before going back about my business.
Let me pause here to mention that several hours later, my apartment is still 90 degrees and at the time of the door knocking was somewhere near 95. I was sweating. In my shorts and sports bra. Doing nothing but working at my computer.
Now, said door knocker was a woman in her thirties if I had to guess, five foot six or so, in a pair of shorts, tank top and sandals. I tell you this to explain that the only difference in our apparel was that hers covered her belly. Mine didn’t.
She started out polite enough and said that I shouldn’t be walking in front of my windows nearly naked. At this point, I knew it was going to be a longer conversation than I wanted to have through the door of the apartment, and I didn’t want the cats to get out, so I stepped into the hallway and pulled the door shut.
Apparently this was tantamount to scandal, that I would step out into the public fairway dressed as I was.She proceeded to tell me that I was “endangering the innocence of the children” who were playing in the courtyard (and who didn’t even have a clue I was there), and that if I didn’t put some clothes on, she was going to report me to the landlord.
I pointed out that my attire was perfectly acceptable for broadcast TV and that as such, no I wasn’t going to put more clothes on in the privacy of my own home OR just to respond to someone knocking on my door, but she was welcome to report me if she thought it necessary, however if the landlord actually said anything to me I would start going to the gym and mailbox dressed this way, and have my lunch on my balcony dressed this way, because how I dress and how I present myself in public is none of her business.
I don’t know this woman. I watched when she left and she went to one of the apartments across the courtyard, but I’ve never met her before. But I know this, it wasn’t the amount of fabric on my body that was the problem, it was the amount of fat she could see.
If it is perfectly acceptable for skinny women to cavort around on a beach in a thong bikini that disappears up their ass and they have to get a special wax job to not show off their pubic hair (another societal hang up that baffles me….it’s body hair people, no matter where it’s growing, it’s nothing to be ashamed of) and where the top barely covers their nipples, then it is perfectly acceptable for me to be seen in my shorts and sports bra.
I’m fat. I came to terms with that a long time ago. I work out. I try to eat healthy. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I will not put on more clothes and live my life a sweaty, sweaty mess just because someone is afraid of my fat.
I am not just my body. I refuse to allow anyone to continue to act as though I am. I am a strong, beautiful, talented woman who has lived in this body for 45 years. If you can’t handle that, keep it to yourself, I’m not interested.