I was out for a walk tonight and two guys were walking toward me conversing about, of all things, the weather. I smiled and said “hey,” as is my custom, and one of the guys stepped in really close to me blocking my path, stopped, opened his mouth really wide, looked me in the eye and said
So I stepped toward him, maintained eye contact and said
Fair warning – today is a serious swearing day on this blog. If you want to skip it you are totally welcome to come back for tomorrow’s post and we’ll see how that one goes. Otherwise, read the fuck on…
So anyway, the guy’s friend who had stepped well back, never said a word and we walked our separate ways, them picking up their conversation where it left off, me walking alone which gave me the chance to contemplate the situation. The best I could come up with was – What the fucking fuck was that about?
Was he one of those people who insist that fat people need to exercise but that we must, somehow, not look fat while we do it?
Was he just a run-of-the-mill fat bigot?
What could I have done to make it into a teachable moment?
Then I remembered something that I sometimes forget – It is not my job to make every awful fat bashing moment into a teachable moment. That person’s behavior was just messed up and my reaction was totally reasonable. In retrospect I wish I would have said DUUUUUUUUH! Oh well, hindsight being 20/20 and all that.
If you are fat in this fatphobic, war on obesity, body shaming, body hating, weight bullying world, there is an excellent chance that something fucked up (or many fucked up things) will happen to you. Maybe you’ll come up with a snappy retort, maybe you’ll make it into a teachable moment, maybe you’ll stumble over your words or stand there not able to think of anything to say. All of those are perfectly valid responses to total bullshit, and let’s be clear that these incidences – whether it’s some stranger yelling FAAAAAT! or your Aunt Gertie telling you that you don’t need that second helping of mashed potatoes – are total, complete and utter bullshit.
It is absolutely not your fault, you do not deserve it, you should not have to experience it ever. Make no mistake – the fact that something happens all the time, that it has become normalized in our society, does not mean that it isn’t some completely fucked up bullshit. Seriously.
Perhaps this mantra can help, trying saying it a few times (modified in any way that works for you of course): The world is fucked up, I am fine.
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