Tuesday, February 03, 2004


This may come as a shock to some people, but I'm not a tiny woman. Point of fact: I'm a bit on the large side. What may come as even more of a shock to people is the fact that I'm fully aware I'm a big girl. I see my image in the mirror, I look at the numbers on the scale, I read the size labels of my clothes. These factors - and others - lead me to believe that I'm more than a little Rubenesque. I'm not huge or obese, I carry my weight pretty well most of the time, I try to wear fashionable clothing that's flattering to someone with my size and figure. I've been both larger and smaller over the last ten years. However, the cold hard truth is that I am, well, fat. I may use other words to describe myself or others. Actually I prefer to use words that are less weighted (excuse the pun) in today's society or are more lyrical in nature. But let's be blunt: I'm a fat chick.

I've been pretty lucky, as fat chicks go. Unlike horror stories I've heard and read, I don't have strangers oinking at me as I walk down the street or suggesting that maybe I might not want that piece of cake or that mocha. Maybe strangers are less obnoxious in my neck of the woods. Maybe they're more understanding of people. Or maybe they can tell by the way I carry myself (head high, shoulders back, straight posture, full hips swinging with as much confidence as I can muster) that if they dared such a thing I - a gentle, peace-loving woman who fears confrontation - would gladly rip out their tongues with my bare hands, show them their still writhing, dismembered organs, then stuff them down their throats.

I'm not really sure.

I've wondered how I would react if someone I didn't know decided that I needed to be told how much better life would be if only I were smaller. Would I stare at them, stunned? Would I turn away, disgusted? Would I let them have a piece of my mind? Yesterday morning I found out.

I was standing at the bus stop, minding my own business, as I am wont to do, headphones resting on my ears, as they are wont to do. Two people walked up to the bus stop - a man in his 40s or 50s, I would have guessed, and a woman that easily looked to be in her 70s, if not older. The man turned to me and said something. I lowered my headphones and asked him to repeat himself. He first asked what time the bus came by, which I was able to answer, and then he asked how much the senior fare was, which I could not answer. I was pleasant to him, because even though I tend to be a bit of a loner on the bus, I still believe in being polite.

“I’m 65 and she’s 75,” he said proudly, obviously expecting me to stare in disbelief. I just smiled, said, “Oh?!” and replaced my headphones. He moved to talk to me again, which caused me to inwardly cringe because, though I’m polite, I’m still a bus loner and was not in the mood to chat at that time in the morning. Still I lowered my headphones again. It was then that the man decided to let me in on what he must have considered to be information of which I was unaware.

“You would be gorgeous if you lost weight.”

Leaving aside the fact that I already think I’m gorgeous most of the time, or at least pretty damned attractive (sometimes I’m not the most modest of people, though I'm not sure how much of it is bravado), I couldn’t believe that he thought 1) I’d be unaware of such a fact, especially considering I was dressed rather nicely and was obviously not trying hide my size and 2) that such a thought would be welcome from someone I’d never met before.

As he started to tell me how he’d been 45 pounds overweight I raised my hand to stop him from talking, replaced my headphones, and told him, “That’s very rude.”

Through the music in my ears I could hear him trying to continue talking about his weight loss. I stopped him again. “I didn’t ask your advice,” I said calmly, if a bit haughtily.

“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but – “

“You didn’t hurt my feelings, but that’s just very rude of you.” He didn’t try to talk to me after that.

Okay, perhaps I lied a bit. He did hurt my feelings a little (though it's satisfying to know that I'm less likely to let questionable comments be said without standing up for myself - something I would have done all too easily in the past). I know he was “just trying to help.” But for someone who apparently was once overweight, he obviously didn’t bring away any sensitivity from his experience. Perhaps he’s just a born-again thin(ish) person, wanting to spread the gospel of weight-loss to everyone he perceives to be in need of his help. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people that proselytize. Whether it be religion, weight-loss or anything else, that’s the surest way to lose my interest.

He should have remembered that most overweight people tend to be much harder on themselves than anyone else could possibly be, especially in a society such as ours that often seems to prize svelteness above all else. And such “attempts to help”, especially from strangers, are very rarely welcome and can be more damaging to an ego that has already been bashed and battered by people close to them.

Do I have weight issues? You bet your bippy I do. Am I trying to work on them, both internally and externally? Yes I am, the best I know how. I’m trying to find a balance, in this as in everything. I’m fully aware that if I were about 60 pounds lighter – at the least – I’d have no problem attracting men. I’d probably have to fight them off. This isn’t an over-inflated ego talking, believe it or not. It’s knowing that my current confidence, combined with my natural looks, a smaller body (not slender – my natural body type is hour-glass, which I prefer anyway) and a personality that I like to think is a good one, would be an unbeatable combination.

But I’m not willing to over-extend myself to get to that point. And, due to personal history, though I tend to dress rather sexily I also have a need to know that it’s my brains, humor and personality that are attracting the men in question. Besides, in the past I’ve attracted men that have admitted that they are not normally attracted to BBWs (that stands for Big Beautiful Women, BTW). I may not be able to keep a guy right now, but I’ve got to be doing something right.

Even though there are many times I feel that people are laughing at me behind my back. I know that's not the truth, but on those days when the self-esteem is a bit wobbly, it can feel that way.

Look, it’s all still very much a work in progress. I’m still very much a work in progress. As touchy-feely as it sounds (and I don’t blame you if you want to poke your eyes out, what with all the platitudes I’m spouting, but please don’t, that’s terribly painful and messy), I’m going to continue to love myself as best I can. I'm going to try to work on the issues that I need to work on - to try to be healthier; physically, emotionally and mentally.

And I'm going to ignore the comments of strangers.

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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