Monday, October 24, 2011
A Quick Conversation I Tried Not To Have
I have always been a fat girl. Ever since being teased as a young girl, I have internalized those feelings and no matter what the number on the scale, or the size of my pants, or how athletic I have been I have felt the same about my body: uncomfortable, unattractive, trapped. It has only been recently, in the past six months or so, that I have begun the arduous work of digging deep and looking at my relationship with my body and working on accepting where I am today. Like with anything, some days are better than others; yet, at my heaviest, I have found more acceptance for curve of my hips, the softness of my belly, the fullness of my breasts. At my heaviest, I can still do yoga, row, workout on the arc trainer for an hour, lift weights, laugh, and love. I am capable in my body.
It amazes me, still, what people--strangers--find acceptable conversation to have with me because of my size. Over the weekend, during a beautiful Autumn afternoon, I went to the gym to help burn off some calories, but to feel good; working out or just moving my body always helps me with stress. A woman who I have seen at the gym in the past, was getting on a machine two away from me and the conversation I didn't want to have went something like this:
Stranger: "Who told you about these machines?"
Me: "Um, I've used these machines for a while. My personal trainer told me to get off the elliptical all together and stay on the arc trainer."
Stranger: "Once the weight comes down you won't have to be so careful about your knees."
Me--still working out with one headphone on--: "It's a good workout. I use the treadmill just to walk to loosen up or cool down."
Stranger--still not working out--: "Yea who told you about the incline on here? I can't get above 28."
Me: "No one, I just push myself." At this point she probably said something about weight and knees two or three times and I didn't really want to talk to her to begin with, especially since I was trying to finish up and talking to her was making me turn my neck.
Stranger: "I can't get over 28."
Me: "Well, have a good work out."
Seriously annoying. I'm here to workout, not qualify myself as an athlete or look for solidarity from strangers who make inappropriate comments to begin with. Just workout. I don't need to hear about your knees, or be told by you or anyone else for that matter, about what I need to be worrying about in regards to my body. I don't need to do anything. I choose to workout because it makes me feel better, because I want to be in better shape, and yes losing weight would be great, but acknowledging that I am capable now, in the body I'm in now is important. The message we are always told is that women are the number on the scale; their level of importance, their morality, their capabilities are all based on a number that has been defined for us, not by us. I am so tired of fat being so derogatory and also defining. If someone is fat, they are seen as fat before anything else. It as seen as worse then most things, as if skinny is somehow associated with capable, smart, kind; fat tends to be associated with being lazy, uneducated, incapable. Fat or skinny, this is only one adjective to describe anyone; it is not the end all be all.
Have you ever experienced bullying because of how you look? Whether you are skinny or fat, have you had people approach you to talk to you about your weight in appropriately? What are some of the stereotypes you have faced due to how your body looks? Comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org