“Go to the grocery store and pick up some things, please?” I posed to The Hubby.
Comfy at his corner of his couch, he looked at me, and I could see the annoyance in his face. He’d just gotten home. We have one car, I should have texted him, I should go out myself- all of these would be things that I should have done prior to asking this of him.
“Can’t you go?” he asked, his eyes fixated on the television.
I pursed my lips. He had no idea that I had stepped on the scale this morning and then cried. He had no idea that I had stayed up all night, while he slept with his back to me, and looked up the possibility that the meds I’m on had contributed to this influx of weight. He had no idea that today, I didn’t want to be seen.
“I just don’t want to go out,” I mumbled.
“But you were in the house all day, and I’m tired,” came the reply.
Now, you must know, my husband works hard. I know all wives say this, but mine really, really does. He works at least 10 hours a day, sometimes more. He is generally tired when he comes in the door, and understandably so. Most days, I’d jump at the opportunity to go to the grocery store, alone. Today? I wasn’t in the mood for the public eye.
“It’s stupid, but I just don’t want to go out today. Can you just do this? I’ll even make a list too,” I said, I could hear pleading in my voice.
I heard him breathe that breath of annoyance that means, “You are frustrating me, I won’t say it, but I’ll show you in my body language, and I’m rolling my eyes because this is stupid”.
Again, I swear, he’s not a jerk.
“I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to go out, because I don’t want people to stare at me. I don’t want people to judge me because I’m fat,” I blurted out.
That piqued his interest. He looked at me with wide eyes, and raised eyebrows.
“You are joking, right?”
I shook my head.
“No, really. This is a joke, right?”
I shook my head harder, and said, “No, it’s not, I swear”.
It wasn’t a joke. The last time I was at the grocery store, I heard someone say, “I don’t know how people like her do it. I could never be okay looking like that.” I had looked up expecting to see someone who was completely disshelved, walking home from a night of partying. No, they were looking at me, these two women. I quickly put my head down, grabbed the strawberries I was buying and scurried away.
The strawberries had mold, and my husband complained. I didn’t tell him why they had mold, I just shrugged my shoulders because as a grown women, how do you tell your husband you didn’t look because someone was insulting you in the produce section? This wasn’t the first time I’d been spoken about like this in public. I’d been enjoying an evening browsing a local wine store, when someone’s cart of wine had tipped over. I had bent down to pick it up for them, because, I do things like that for strangers, and the guy glowered at me, and muttered, “Fatass” under his breath. He was at least 20 years older than I. Again, I scurried away, head down.
I’ve had more than one occasion since moving where this has happened. Sometimes there are no words, but it’s the way people look at you, registering you for a half a second, and then pretending like you don’t exist. It’s smiling at someone, and having them completely ignore you, but hold the door open for someone else. It’s hearing the words dumb and stupid associated with the size of your butt. It’s hearing someone ask how someone like Him, could end up with someone like Me.
The Hubby did go to the grocery store that night, and we never spoke again about my confession.
It’s not that I don’t love who I am. Guys, I’m awesome. My pant size has nothing to do with who I am, I know this. You should know that I know this.
Yet. There is something incredibly demoralizing, after spending a morning feeling all kick-ass about who you are, and what you do, to walk into the grocery store, looking just like everyone else, and hear people judging you. To see them doing it. How do you carry yourself back to life when real life hates you because you don’t fit into a specific sized jeans? How do you find that self-love for yourself when everyone is telling you that you are not worthy of attention or love because you are over-sized?
He made these comments in 2006
explaining why Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t like fat girls. It doesn’t make it any less ridiculous, it makes me wonder why it’s taken us so long to talk about it. Yes, on the whole, he doesn’t seem to be someone I’d ever want to associate with personally, and his words pretty much drive that point home. However, the shock value of hearing someone speak those ugly words obviously hasn’t worn off. To me, as I read the first piece that went viral, I felt sick. My inclination that the world, some of it, is judging me as lesser than because of my size? It’s correct. It’s not in my head, and my lack of confidence because of that fact is not entirely my own doing. People hate fat people, some just aren’t nearly as ridiculously open about it.
This bullying of us fat folk is obscene. When I began gaining weight, due to medication, I noticed a size-able difference in how people treated me. Where I used to get jobs immediately, I was now getting the elevator look, and a pathetic smile. I wasn’t even fat then. My own Mother, when I had seen her for the first time in over a year or more told me, “Wow, you’ve really packed it on”. I spent the rest of our trip, a short one, feeling like I was pathetic. I heard about a good friend who told everyone how fat I’d become. She stopped wanting to hang out with me, and of course, I was glad to know she was that sort of friend. However, I stopped allowing anyone to take my picture because I didn’t want anyone to have ammunition. I didn’t want to give myself ammunition, and as such there are few pictures of me and my kids. Because I feel like I don’t deserve to be noticed, and sometimes, I don’t want to be.
Any time I mention fat culture to someone? I’m told I’m imagining it. Like, when I have mentioned to my husband after a social gathering that someone was ignoring me or making fun of me every time I spoke, and I got the distinct impression it was because he hated how I looked. It’d happened before, but this time the viciousness was rather apparent. The fat girl is smart? Shut the front door, it’s impossible. The (skinny) Hubby always rolled his eyes at me, because he’s never been denied respect based on how he looked.
The culture of hating on fat people, and making grand assumptions about why they are fat, or inferring that we’re unhappy because we’re overweight? It’s all a form of sophisticated bullying. It’s the same as the barbs the really skinny girls get about eating more burgers, or purposely self-harming themselves to be that skinny. It’s all bullying. We’re obsessed with how people look to the point that we equate happiness with size, or a lack of intelligence with how someone looks. Although, it seems no one is truly happy to tell us just what size is just right. We’re all wrong.
Unfortunately, I haven’t made it to that place where I can own my curves, and love them. I want to love them. I want to say, “I’m fucking incredible”, and just sashay, hands on my hips, out of the room any time someone says something terrible or ignores me, because screw them if they judge me for what I look like. I just haven’t figured out how to do that. Mostly because every time I go out, there is someone, or something (like a store) telling me I’m worthless because of my size.
Yes, I’m still buying into the fatshaming culture, because, the brand is alive and well. I admit it.
Little by little I begin to try to fix me, by changing how I view myself: Through someone else’s eyes.
I really don’t think we should be shrugging our shoulders at the things people like Jeffries say. Because, those words are harmful, not helpful, especially to the young people in our world. If I can barely decipher the culture of fat, as an adult, how do we expect our younger generations to do it?
Jeffries should know that his clothes, the ones likely made in a sweat shop in a third world country are not cool. He’s not cool, and us fat people? We are cool.
At least, I think I am.