One of my most viewed/commented on posts (meaning that like 7 people read it) was where I talked about the book Fat!So? and my own body image issues (I almost typed “weight problems”. Geez, girl). No wonder, really, as women seem to always need to get something off their chests when it comes to this topic. Fat is such an powerful word in this country. Still. Always.
Fat!So? gave me permission to stop feeling bad about my body and what I eat. I needed this permission so badly and all in all, I felt better and less-burdened after reading it. Someone commented on my post that positive body image is an ongoing process. Somedays you won’t feel so good about yourself. Somedays you’ll hate your body.
Today was that day. For a little while.
I was on the train (doesn’t every bad NYC story start with “I was on the train”?) and a man sat down next to me, his legs wide apart, taking up my space. I rolled my eyes, but said nothing. He was clearly looking at my face because he said, too loudly for a quiet train, “DID I DISTURB YOU?” He wanted attention from the train, I could tell. He was looking to the other passengers. I don’t know, maybe he had a bad day and needed to explode at the first person he saw. Anyway, hunties, I’m a NY girl, so I immediately spat back: “Oh, you’re such a big man. We’re all really impressed, jackass.” Yes. I am no angel. I don’t let people mess with me.
The train ride went on, I went back to my book, ignoring him. He couldn’t let it go, because, even though I wasn’t talking to him, he kept looking at me and laughing and sucking his teeth at me.
Finally, after this super awkward subway ride, it was time for my stop and I could just tell that this sad mofo was going to say something to me. I stood up to leave the train, and he’s looking me up and down. I’m waiting for it. I‘m waiting for this man to say something. I’m one foot off the train and he screams, “You’re weird and FFFFFFAT!”
I gave him the finger. I didn’t have time to retort.
I got out onto the street. My face was red. I felt ugly and gross and terrible. For two blocks. I hate being angry. I’m not good at being angry.
No one’s called me fat before. At least, not to my face.
“You’re weird and FFFFFFAT!”
OK. I am weird. I got comfortable with that word around the age of 8 and haven’t looked back. I am a firm believer that normal is boring.
OK. Fat. Fat. I started chanting it under my breath. I started calling that guy a sad little loser in my head. He did have those stupid reading glasses that darken when you’re in the sun. Transitions lenses? Only sad dorks wear those. Sad jerk. Such a coward he couldn’t even call me fat to my face, because he knew I would verbally eviscerate him. Fat. Fat. Fat. FAT. I am FAT. Sothefuckwhat?
By the time I got home, I was fine. I knew I was going to write and feel better.
And I do. I feel better.
And I need to reread Fat!So?.
And if you haven’t read it, you need to. And if you have, you need to read it again.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid
P.S. Be nice. Just in general.