Today’s society needs an attitude adjustment when it comes to people who are not your basic size 0 to 10. Many people today look at a heavy person and immediately judge that they are slovenly, lazy and unhealthy and treat them with disgust. That disgust is shown in stares and remarks thrown at the person.
Years ago, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were pin-up girls and the envy of every man. They both wore a size 14/16. Today, they would be considered “fat.” Today we also see stick figures on the runways and in the movies. Thin is in and it seems that anyone wearing a size 12 or above are out. If you are not obese or have never been severely overweight, you just cannot imagine how an obese person suffers through everyday events.
I am an obese 55 year old woman. I have always been extremely heavy since I was a child. This article may make some people angry and I apologize in advance but I am just telling the truth. I am asking you to take a walk in my shoes.
As a child, I was laughed at and ridiculed. I was the last one picked for games on the playground and gym class in the later days was a complete source of embarrassment. I was called, “Fat Sissy.” “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me” is a complete lie! Oh I spilled rivers of tears due to the cruel taunting of classmates.
Most obese people have a great sense of humor. This sense of humor is developed as a protection mechanism. They pretend to laugh at themselves to cover up the tears. My sense of humor got me through my high school years. Yes, I did have boyfriends and I went to the prom and I believe this was because my sense of humor carried me through.
Every day of my life I have to confront fears of embarrassment due to my obesity. Will I have to sit next to someone on an airplane and have a tight squeeze? Will I fit in a theatre seat? Will I go to a restaurant and be crammed into a booth that is too tight? Will I sit on a lawn chair and break it? Will I have to squeeze between people in a crowd? I was once totally embarrassed when I went to a fair and couldn’t ride a ride because it couldn’t lock properly. These are just a few situations that I have to think of and plan for.
Being obese, I strive to look my best at all times, contrary to the beliefs of those people who think an obese person is slovenly. I spend time making sure my makeup is on, hair in place and that my blouse isn’t pulling too tightly around my body and showing bulges. I check my pants to make sure they fit properly and everything is in place. I do not wear shorts or tank tops in public. I do not wear spandex! I shower every day. Do not label me slovenly!
Laziness has become an obsolete word in my vocabulary. Yes, prior to Boot Camp, I was somewhat lazy but did not just sit around eating junk food all day. I swam, biked, etc. but not regularly. Now my trainer tells me that there are many “normal sized people” who could not keep up with my exercise routine and my lifestyle. I attend Boot Camp three days and do personal training two days a week. On the weekends I clean house, cut grass or whatever needs to be done. I rarely get a moment to sit. Do not label me lazy!
Even though I am obese, I am extremely healthy. “Why don’t you diet fatty?” I have dieted my entire life. I have gone up and down just like a smoker who quits and then starts again. I do not have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The only medication I take is for an under active thyroid. I go to the doctor regularly for check-ups and everything is fine. Do not call me unhealthy!
In addition, contrary to many people’s beliefs, I am not deaf and I do hear you when you make smart remarks about my weight and fat people do have feelings. Every single remark hurts me like a knife piercing my heart. I won’t cry in front of you but I will in private. I won’t share why I am crying with anyone because it is too painful and embarrassing. I am crying now as I write this article because writing this truth hurts.
It has taken me a long time, a series of Boot Camps and sessions of personal training to realize that the treatment I have received by others has made me feel extremely unworthy in life. I have a loving and supportive husband, children, family and many friends, but I still allowed other people’s opinions to rule me.
On the outside, I have the persona of being confident and secure in all that I do. It is truly a façade and I am beginning to realize this. I am a take charge workaholic who tries to do everything to make everyone happy to compensate for my sense of unworthiness. During this process, I always forget about ME! “ME” being happy never enters into my thought process.
I am mad. No, I am damn mad! I am angry that I have allowed this to happen to me. I guess some will say that I allowed it to happen to me. If you do, you haven’t walked a day in my shoes.
Please do me a favor. The next time you see an obese person, please don’t make them feel inferior. Walk in their shoes.