Sunday, 19 January 2014

"Oy fatty, don't shake our house down"

On Thursday morning I was out on my fifth ever run (to be precise it's half walking and half an attempt at running).  I was pushing myself and finding it hard but feeling proud of myself for doing something positive when ......

"Oy fatty, don't shake our house down"

I reckon the builder who shouted this thought he was being funny.  I bet the guys he was with laughed. I wouldn't be surprised if this funny tale of his was the giggle of the pub that evening. But I bet he has no idea how it made me feel. 

That one simple comment shook my world. It made me doubt myself, and I do enough of that every day.  It made me hate myself, and I work hard not to do that.  It made me question my endeavours, again. And luckily he didn't see it, but it made me cry and I hate myself for allowing those tears to be wasted on a complete stranger.

Luckily, at the end of my run, I was going to see a wonderful group of women who held me, heard me, loved me and put me back together.  But what if I'd have been heading home, alone with my thoughts and his words in my mind?  Then things would have escalated into a mighty beast of self loathing, doubt and despair.

I'm used to being stared at and jeered at and hearing nasty comments; it's normal for me.  Even when I'm clearly doing something to change my life I'm a target for verbal abuse. This is what it's like being am overweight woman in this country. 

Did you know this?
Have you ever witnessed it?
Do you think it's right?

Maybe not, but no one ever thinks to stop it.   Because it's socially acceptable, but why is that?  I think it's because obesity is seen as a self inflicted problem, not something that those living with it have to struggle with and against every day.

I've known I'm fat since I was a toddler.  I've known it was my fault since before I went to school.  Yet I now know it couldn't have been my fault at that young age; obesity is a condition I live with.  A mental health condition as severe as anorexia and a physical condition which massively inhibits my life.

I'm making changes; have been for five years and believe me it's a long long process to recover from obesity.  perhaps I never will; perhaps no matter how healthy I become I'll always be the person who lived with obesity for forty years.  You see the journey needs changes to the head stuff and the physical stuff and the social stuff. 

I'm determined to recover from my unhealthy life and thanks to an amazing new charity called HOOP (helping overcome obesity problems) I know this will happen. 


hedgewitch said...

This makes my blood boil. It's the same if not worse here in the US, despite our increasing obesity levels. You hit so many points in this--the false assumptions, the lack of knowing, much less caring, what it is to be seriously overweight. I have been struggling my whole life, since I moved out of the house where I was force-fed food instead of any kind of love or concern, and now in my sixth decade all I can say is I have held my own, I have made myself healthier, I have lost weight, but I would never say I had beaten the problem, so I completely agree that it is a lifework, and while we will never get the credit for what it actually takes to fight this fight, at least we know we fought and didn't surrender.Keep up the hard work and exercise and screw that idiot--he can make all the jokes he wants, but he can't take your accomplishments away.

John said...

Hello Emma,

I came by your post from a friend and felt compelled to comment. Firstly, I'm so sorry you were subjected to such a thoughtless and bigoted comment, for which there can be no reasonable excuse.

I would like to say that I am surprised by the type of behaviour you experienced and that this kind of situation is rare and unusual, unfortunately I fear many of us know it is not.

Your story is so familiar. You should know that you are not alone and your experience made me think of this. For all those in the arena.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

- from Citizenship In A Republic, Theodore Roosevelt.

Anonymous said...

Rise above ...he's an arse hole..