"She's huge. Fat b****."

This evening, as is becoming my habit, I switched off my work computer, changed into my workout gear and trainers, and headed for the gym. I did a nice little workout out - 20 minutes of cross-training, week 2 part 1 of the 'Couch to 5K' plan, and a little row to finish it all off. I finished up feeling pretty good - I'd been restless last night with nightmares interrupting my sleep, so mostly I was glad I'd put the time in and not flaked.

Anyways, I gathered up my iPod and towel and headed up the stairs to grab some water on the upper level of the gym before headed home. Just walking up the stairs, minding my own business, daydreaming quite pleasantly about actually getting a chance to relax an hour or so later, after my commute.

At the top of the stairs was a gang of six or so teens and twenty-something boys. And as I passed them, this is what I heard:

"She's huge. Fat b****." "What the f*** is she doing here." "Fat f****** c**, why's she in the gym?" *cue inane and childish snickering*

(apologies for the rude words, or the suggestion thereof, but I felt they merited reporting in the events of the story)

Well friends, what can I tell you. At this unexpected verbal abuse, I experienced several immediate reactions:

1. I wanted to cry. Years of bullying and self-hatred and feeling like a second class citizen and being treated like poo for the way I looked and just feeling so very, very ugly for so long felt like they'd just been stirred up.
2. I wanted to give up. Now, I *know* I'm fat. I'm pretty nifty at maths and I know all too well that I am firmly and horribly in the 'obese' camp at the current times. And I know the only way I'll ever get from here to the promised land of 'overweight' will be through a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. But in that split second where a group of people I don't even know tried to belittle me, I wanted to give up, come home, and find a spoon and a tub of something calorific.
3. I wanted to punch them. I never would, but at times my inner Jo March/Anne of Green Gables bubbles right to the surface.

You'll be pleased to know I did none of the above. Instead, I took my own advice. When I teach my boys about bullies I teach them many things, but the three things that sprung into my mind when I was the person facing it were simple and clear. Firstly, don't give them the satisfaction. I have an impassive face like woah when it's required. Secondly, it's not about you. When a bully picks on someone, it's rarely anything to do with the person they pick on. Sure, they called me fat, but if I was blonde they would have called me a bimbo....if I was skinny they would have said I needed a sandwich....if I was gorgeous they would have wolf whistled. Bullies are insecure, sheep-like folk, and I'm so glad I remembered that tonight. Lastly, if you're feeling brave, confront them. So when one of them slunk off towards the door and motioned that he was going to either block my way or grab me (you may be able to guess where. Charming, right?), I just gave him my best teacher look...and he completely stepped aside.

And I was safe in the relative security of the women's locker room. And I wasn't angry or sad. And I definitely didn't feel like giving up. I just felt a little bit sorry for those boys, who have such low self-esteem that their idea of fun is shouting verbal abuse at a random girl they've never met. I may be "huge", but I hope I'd never treat anyone like that.

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23 comments:

  1. What a bunch of wankers. Seriously those boys need to die in a fire.

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  2. What emeffers!

    Kudos on how you handled the situation. With the way they are building up their karma, they are going to grow up to be very unhappy men.

    I'm glad you didn't like them get you down, and rock on with the C25K.

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  3. Don't think too much about those jerks. They'll be reincarnated as pond scum or something lower.

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  4. That's just awful but I love how you handled yourself and that you didn't let them dissuade you from your training.

    Big hugs!!

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  5. Oh honey! What a bunch of assholes. You are lovely and not huge! I'll never forget some pricks saying "That chick has no tits..." then I walk by ... "or ass." That was in high school. I've made up for it in the boobs department since then!

    Have to say, I bet they all have really small dicks!

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  6. I'm very sorry that this happened to you. Bullies are cowards. That doesn't make it less upsetting, though. You rock on, Lady. You're worlds beyond them. Besides, anyone with such a cute mouse on her header has to be a neat person. ;-)

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  7. Go composure Claire. Good work. I genuinely generally don't hear comments even when they are directed arme unless someone points them out but it sounds like these would be hard to miss. You did so well. And your teacher face is terrifying so glad you used it.

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  8. Good job.

    It's hard when we're kids to understand that those who make fun of us are doing it because they have low self-esteem and that it has nothing do with us but with them. But when we're adults and finally understand it, it's ridiculous that it still happens to us.

    I know people in their 20's and 30's who still behave that way, and I feel sorry for them that they are so miserable. You are living in your life in such a fabulous way and that is the best revenge!

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  9. This makes me very sad and cross, but good for you for handling the situation with such grace.

    I sometimes get the piss taken out of me by teenage boys too. See I'm a transman, so I know all about how this feels.

    You are perfect just the way you are.

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  10. You don't look fat to me. Those are just some nasty kids and you handled it perfectly. {{{HUG))))

    (Coming over from Riot Kitty's blog.)

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  11. OH MY WORD! I'm shocked that that happened to you! Seriously, what nerve of those folks! And I can't believe people talk like that to other people they don't even know! Shocked! Totally shocked!

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  12. Girrrrrrrrrl you should have opened a can of whip-ass on them! Seriously tho. Impressed for perfect reaction skills. They all had small dicks and big insecurities obviously. You's a fabulous mamma, just coz they've got no taste doesn't mean you have to feel sorry for them ;) Mlle Wilson

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  13. That was horrible but it is just the teenage group mentality.

    As for why you work out, that is completely up to you. I work out but I don't look like Superman. Even though you work out you probably don't look like Wonder Woman. But you feel good and it is good for you.

    Keep at it.

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  14. Those guys disgust me! I'm not even going to waste my time trying to analyze why they're such assholes. Their time will come...and they'll know how it feels.

    As for you, my friend, I love your attitude...always have! You couldn't have handled yourself more beautifully.

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  15. Good for you for not giving up!! I once lost 50 lbs and then after that, was referred to as the "big girl" by strangers at a club. Nothing made me want to run to the peanut butter and chocolate faster than being called "Big" after losing 50 lbs! It totally messed up my motivation which I still have not gotten back. So keep on going girl! And f**k those rude bastards.

    -Goose

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  16. Claire, you are a true lady to ignore dumb asses like that.

    I know from personal experience what it is like to be called names at a gym. But the bottom line was that I was there for me, myself and I.

    Again, kudos and keep your head up!

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  17. That's terrible! Man, kids can be so cruel. I used to get bullied a lot too. I cried myself to sleep every night in Junior High. Jerks. Way to go for getting past the bad feelings so quickly!

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  18. An impressively mature and rational reaction, Claire! You seem to have a decent reserve of composure and insight to dip into when you need it, reading from most of your blog entries!

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  19. Hi, new follower here. I'm very angry reading this. Truly am.

    I'm a big girl and I go to the gym as often as possible and it's stuff like this that makes women flock to overpriced programs like Curves and female-only gyms.

    I'm so sorry you had to endure that even though you are a positive, mature chick. To be honest, something like this would have RUINED my day. I might have actually left, gone home and cried. Good for you!

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  20. JeanieAtTheHaven4:12 AM, March 18, 2010

    Makes me sad that there are YOUNG people out there like that....what kind of future does someone LIKE THAT have? (And how did they get that way?)

    Good for you for glaring the kid down. I just love that! You are also NOT HUGE. Stop it.

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  21. Never give up and hold your head high Claire :)

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  22. i very enjoy your writing way, very remarkable.
    don't quit as well as keep creating due to the fact it simply just nicely to follow it,
    excited to look into more and more of your current well written articles, regards :)

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  23. Welcome to my world sweetie (actually i am doing a blog about Just this! I Would LOVE if i could reference this article on your blog and link to it!!! Tell me what you think!)

    Remember to hold your head high and that you live a happy life, they just make fun of people because they hate themselves and need to draw attention on to others

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