Sunday, November 27, 2011
Let's jump to it.
I went shopping this week. Now, I'm not the most patient of spree-ers at the best of times, but dodging the elbows of the Christmas shoppers is just plain mean. Regardless, after a couple of hours of clothes shopping, my patience was starting to wear thin (pun totally intented). My arms sort of ached, I'd taken a handbag to the shin from a woman who's life depended on the last pair of ballet pumps, and I decided to go home and call it a day.
I left the shop, down the steps as you do, and then I heard it.
I admit, I froze for a moment, thinking I'd imagined it, or I'd heard wrong...anything. Switch bag to other shoulder, wait to cross, foot tap.
"Hey, High Size!" A bit louder. And then it happened.
The laughter. The laughter of a group of 20-30 year old men, laughing together in a group, guffawing and snorting (and smoking, but that's besides the point). I felt my face redden, and after holding as still as possible, made a dash to the end of the walkway and out of view.
Straight away, my mind started going. And you know that once my imagination starts going, it's quite difficult to reign it back in, like a toddler who's spied a puppy.
All I could think about was my own humilliation.
It has been months. MONTHS. Months since I've semi registered someone snickering at the large girl making her way down the street. Years, even, since the cruelty of classmates. Or at least, I thought maybe I'd changed enough that even if someone looked at me in that way, or looked like they were thinking disparaging things about me, that I would be strong enough to move onward.
I was utterly mortified, and my bright and happy day had a bucket of cold water splashed all over it, ruining my neatly styled coiffure of confidence and black suede boots of strength.
A few deep breaths later, I gave myself the ultimate pep talk, involving things like 'stiff upper lip' and '22 years old". I got a bit stern, and doing the ramrod back straight approach, I left my little safety shop and went back outside.
I had to walk past the group again on my way back. I was determined not to cross over, because no matter how terrible I was feeling on the inside, you learn not to let it show on the outside. But there was this little nagging feeling in the back of my mind.
Why would they yell 'High Size?' From experience I *know* that no-one, when flinging insults at a quote unquote 'Fat' person, thinks up anything like that. They go for something more obvious like...well..."Fat!" It was a very surreal idea or their part.
I shuffled past, studiously ignoring them...although I did notice a new person had joined their group. They were looking at some clip of a match on the phone belonging to the newcomer.
"An' that's your football skills, man? I-sides no good, right?"
That was his nickname.
The man across the street...his nickname was I-sides. Sides like football, 'I' like...well, i don't know. His initial possibly? Whatever it was, it was all relating to this man, and his lack of apparent ball dribbling skills.
It was nothing to do with me.
The truth is, anyone could have walked by at that time, that person could have had any nickname. It was just unfortunate that it happened the way it did, and the person who heard his friends calling to him was one with a very sensitive streak and an imagination that should be locked up and the key thrown away.
So now...I feel a little silly. And quite egotistical, thinking they were taking notice of me at any rate. But mostly, very very silly.
I think if you are ever looking for proof of the phrase 'There will always be a fat girl living inside me, no matter what size I am'...this is going to be it. I don't think, no matter how much you change physically, years of being beaten down by other people and their behaviour, years of brain-washing yourself into believing you don't deserve the respect you do...that doesn't go away. At least, it hasn't for me. That's not to say it won't, but for now..apparently I'm still quite sensitive about it.
So while my red face fades and my arms shrink back to non-orangutang length, I'm going to have a good week. I'm decorating, which I love AND burning calories whilst doing it.
It's just a shame there are those little tree chocolates really...!