This series looks at what it is to be #FatinLondon. I cannot speak for every fat person in London. I can only speak for myself and the people who have allowed me share their quotes. This is in no way glorifying or celebrating fatness. I do recognise the health risks and dangers of obesity, so yes! Eat your greens, make the right choices and go to the gym. This is not encouraging ill health. I am simply sharing my honest, real experience as a fat person in what is sometimes described as one of the greatest cities in the world.
I have no intention of using rose tinted glasses or making it seem like being fat is this great adventure – it is not. This does not mean that it is depressing either. Some days are great and some days suck. Based on your world view, personality and a few other factors, your number of good days can outweigh the bad or vice versa. For me, thankfully, my good days are now better than my bad. Even though my bad days are more intense than my good days. When I was younger, my bad days far outweighed my good days but I learned, I grew, I studied the game and I now play it! Can I play It better? Of course I can!
When you live in such a glamourous city and do not fit the bill, ‘physically’, your life is very “interesting” – on a daily basis.
As a fat person in London who embraces the word ‘fat’ and understands it is not synonymous to ugly, lazy, dirty or unattractive, I encounter people who are willing to go out of their way to disprove my opinion. Why? I don’t know. Ask them. I also meet people who believe that it is and these sets of people have personalities among them who also go out of their way to try and convince me that it is because they believe this about themselves. I constantly filter my description of other people because while I am comfortable with describing myself as ‘fat’, it can ruin another person’s year.
I have a very honest family and this has helped me significantly. The subject of my weight is always coming up and suggestions are given to me daily about how to lose weight. Am I grateful for them? Certainly. Do I take their advice? What do you think? I am still fat…
My fatness affects every area of my life. When friends invite me out, my first thought is, “what will I wear?”. I go to the shopping centre, to a shop that I know carries plus sizes, and the customer service attendant smirks and says, “we do not have that range here. We only carry the ‘normal’ labels”. Or I enter a fast food chain, and the person next to me looks at me up and down and raises an eyebrow to the attendant, who either blushes or looks away. You enter a train and everyone looks away because they do not want to be squashed in their seat or people watch intently to see if you can fit in the seat. You meet a client and you can see the question in their expression – can this fat person do the job? These are regular occurrences in my life, as a fat person living in London (it is probably the same in other cities but I have the most experience in London).
Even though English people are known for their politeness, many do not extend that characteristic to fat people because, the majority believe that fat people can do something about it. Most believe it is their choice to be fat. Well, in many cases, it is. Yet, there are so many cases in which being fat is not a choice in the same way that smoking is not a choice. Food addiction, hormone imbalance, emotional problems, thyroid issues and many other reasons directly disprove this whole ‘choice’ argument but this is something I will deal with later.
In my case, it is undoubtedly my choice to be fat. I love food. I eat too much of it.
I remember coming home from University with a friend. I loved hanging back until it closes at about 12am. I was not studying. I was watching movies and playing games in the University library. To get home on time, I would always make sure I entered a particular train, at a particular time. This meant that I did not hurry or panic. I had a solid routine. That evening however, my routine was interrupted. I missed my particular train at the particular time and had to wait for a later train. This meant that if I did not hurry, I would miss the last train home from Camden. That day, I was delayed and had to sprint for the last Camden train.
As the train approached Camden, most people were eager for the doors to open so we could catch the last train out of Camden. So those for the Edgware train were already standing and waiting to bolt form the train as soon as it stopped. We are all standing there waiting for the doors to open and I turn my head to see this guy laughing with his friend about how I will miss the train because I will be unable to run to catch the last train because I was so fat. That hurt but I had learned to laugh at stupidity. Please understand that the night tube service did not exist yet so if you missed that train, you had to jump on the night bus (it is a very scary journey because London never sleeps. The extremely weird make up London night life). He was cracking his jokes on a full train. Everyone could hear it. Most on the train that early morning just shook their heads at me in sympathy, a few laughed and others pretended they did not hear.
Although his comments appear to make sense, they were not necessary and were, frankly ignorant. It was very rude. I despise people who talk about other people, in front of them whether they are fat or slim. I am first, a human being. (This is another thing I have noticed in London. As fat as fat people are, I tend to notice that if we are casually dressed and ‘normal’ i.e. not excessively well dressed or well made up, we (fat people) tend to be ignored). Anyway, the doors open and everyone takes off for the last train departing Camden and I am running. My main issue at that time was ensuring I got on the train. As everyone was running, I ran past him and this guy stops running and stands looking perplexed (ignoring the fact that there were people behind him, trying to enter this train and he himself had to get this train). He looked back to make sure he was not imagining that this fat girl over took him. I crack up and jump on the train and watch as he catches up and enters the train. I am still laughing when he boards and he nods at me, looks a bit embarrassed and raises his hands while his friends laughed at him for being slower than a fat girl. In his mind now, I am not that sluggish fat girl, I am a human being. Worthy of a nod – REALLY?!
This is very common for me in London town. I am very fat but thankfully, I can still move with the best of them – if I decided to. I AM very lazy but I am not sluggish – even though I am fat.
As a fat person in London, I am asking that you treat us as human beings. We may not react but we are not deaf. We hear what you say. We see the gestures and the faces you pull when we enter a room. Do not make assumptions about fat people. Every fat person is different.
If you insult me, depending on my mood, be prepared to be dressed UP AND DOWN. I will not walk away crying. I will not bow my head in shame. I will tell you about yourself. I may be fat but I have a very healthy sense of self (some might say I have a too healthy sense of self, lol!). Why not see the person behind the fat. Make your assumptions on something other than the number on the scale. I am more than I weigh. There is so much more than what you can see. Give fat people a chance Londoners. We eat a lot but we don’t bite! Lol! I hope you enjoy this series and it opens your eyes to more than a few things. I also hope you are a better person for it. This is me. Well, some of me, in this lovely city!
I hope you enjoy the ride because I certainly will!
What are your thoughts? When you see a fat person, what is your first thought? Feel free to be completely PIC (Politically Incorrect). Do you know fat people? Have they negatively or positively changed your mind? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!
Live long and prosper! 🙂