Tag Archives: mean people

Grade 7 was my Nightmare

As most of you know by now, I’m overweight, and have been my entire life. It’s changed over the years, but I’ve always been bigger than everyone around me. Always. Because of that, I’ve spent a good portion of my life being people’s punching bag and the butt of many a joke. But Grade 7 was the worst. By far.

It’s bad enough moving into a new school with older kids, and not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going. It’s the first time we had to switch to different teachers for each class, and not have recess. Everything was different. And I was the fat kid.

I can vividly remember walking down the Grade 7 hallway, and having 3 grade 9 boys call me over. I can still see their faces, and I still know their names. In fact, 2 of them have tried befriending me on Facebook, and yeah, not happening. But I digress … they called me over which I thought was nice, or I hoped would be nice and well, it wasn’t. They looked at me and said, “do you like football” and I said No. They then told me that I should because when I got to high school, I was going to make an awesome linebacker. “The school needs a big mama on the front lines’. They laughed hysterically and left me standing there, alone. I refused to cry and give them the satisfaction of winning, but it still really hurt.

I spent the ENTIRE year being teased by these boys and their friends. Every time I walked by them, they commented about my weight. EVERY TIME. It was either names, or football references or “see you at tryout’s”.  I never responded to them, or even acknowledged their existence. But it was 3 years of heart stopping palpitations at the sight of them, and their words were etched on my brain.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the kids that did it, there were teachers too.

Our school had an event called The Turkey Trot. (How’s that for a stupid name)?  It was basically a really long run, and the winner won a turkey. Obviously, I’m not a runner and the promise of winning a turkey wasn’t all that exciting or inspiring for me, but it was what it was, and we were all expected to participate. Fortunately for me, I had sinus surgery 3 days prior to the event, and I had a doctor’s note to get me out of it.  Woot!! It said that I couldn’t participate as my sinuses had just been ripped apart and breathing would be an issue. But what this horrible teacher read was, “she’s fat and just doesn’t want to participate”, and he MADE me run the race. Made me.

So off I went. I ran for about a block and a half and quickly discovered that my doctor was right, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. So I walked instead. Soon enough, the other overweight classmate and I ended up walking as everyone else ran by us. We were trying, we just couldn’t keep up with everyone else. But we were trying, and we didn’t quit. Unfortunately, our teacher didn’t see it that way. He called us fat and lazy, and if I remember correctly, called my “running” partner fat in front of the whole school. Needless to say it isn’t a happy memory. It was the day my friend and I were humiliated in front of our peers by a teacher. The one person that was supposed to protect us from bullying was in fact, perpetuating it.  I ended up with a bleeding nose for 3 days, and we both had to bear yet another mark left by mean words and judgement.

Even with my friends, I wasn’t safe from bullying. I know that their intentions weren’t to be mean to me, but their words hurt me more than anyone elses. They were my “safe place”, but even they felt like it was okay to “say it like it was”. I hated phys. ed for obvious reasons, but hated the “track and field” unit the most. Especially high jump. Really?? High jump for fat people … not so much. I would do everything I could to not have to participate in this unit, anything. I would beg my Mom for notes, I would get a headache, I would do whatever. It wasn’t that I was lazy, it was that I just plain and simple couldn’t do what they were asking me to do. It was 60 minutes a day of people laughing at me. High jump, long jump, triple jump, sprinting, long distance running, all things not made for me. It was humiliating and horrible.

Well, my friends wrote me a note and handed it to me at the end of the school day. I had a 10 block walk home, and I cried for 8 blocks of it. The note said, “we know why you hate phys. ed, it’s because you’re fat and it’s hard for you. Everyone knows that’s why you don’t participate so stop being a baby”. I think they were hoping it would empower me somehow, but all it did was sting. They were right, but having this group of people call it out like that, left me feeling so exposed and vulnerable. I felt safer thinking that no one knew why I was hiding, and now my secret was out.

Why couldn’t people just leave me alone? Why did my weight matter so much to them? And why in the world did my being different give everyone license to say whatever they wanted to me?

Speaking out against bullying has kind of become “my thing”. I’ve written numerous blog posts about it, and if you’re interested, you can read them all here. I go out of my way to teach my kids that they are not better than anyone else, that their differences don’t make them more “normal”, and that I EXPECT them to always choose the high road – no matter how hard it is. If you’re around me and you start teasing people or make rude comments, you will get called on it. No one deserves to be made to feel like they’re “less than” ever.

I try to not see the differences in the people around me. I accept that we may all believe in different things and/or have different opinions, but that it doesn’t make one of us more “right”. I recognize that many of us have been deeply hurt by others, and that sometimes all we need is a listening and non-judgemental friend. I don’t pretend to be perfect and I most certainly don’t expect others to be either. I choose to not point out others weaknesses or flaws in order to steer the focus away from mine. I strive to be a light to this world instead of someone promoting darkness. I want people to not go through what I have.

It’s time for us to get real, and stop assuming that we’re better than someone else. Our looks, our beliefs, the clothes we wear or the churches we attend shouldn’t be fodder for cruelty. We don’t need to agree with each other, and we don’t even need to get along, but we do need to be decent human beings. Say it, believe it and model it to the world around you. We are “different” from each other, we are not “better”.

Today is Anti-Bullying day. I hate that we actually have to have a day to remind people to be decent human beings and think about others before they open their mouths. We shouldn’t need to put on pink t-shirts to “take a stand” and make a difference. I appreciate that it’s a reminder that we can do better, but please, no matter what colour shirt you wear, DON’T BE A BULLY.

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A Letter from a Fat Girl to the World

Today I was out buying some groceries and had the absolute joy of being surrounded by ignorant people. Not one time, but three times did someone make a comment about my weight. I heard these words …. “Who’d date that”, “Fat Cow” and “Holy, Big Mama”. I’ve heard this crap my whole life, but today was an award-winning day of stupid. Today I feel like saying something about it, so I’m writing them a letter. A letter from this Fat Girl.

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Dear Mr. & Mrs. Perfect that isn’t overweight and believe that based on that alone, that you are better than those of us that aren’t like you. I want you to know that you’re wrong. You are stupid. You are ignorant. And you are missing out on some incredible people, experiences and relationships because of it. You are the one losing out here, not me.

When you called me fat, it was shocking, I had no idea. Thank-you for telling me and because of you, I can now lose weight and get skinny. I wish I’d know years ago. Thanks Captain Obvious, I know I’m fat, you haven’t told me anything I don’t already know. Shut-up.

I am not a lonely loser and sitting at home pining away for a man. In fact, I’ve been married for almost 20 years to an amazing man, who just so happened to marry me in spite of my fat-ness.

And he looks like this ….     Kevin    … so there.

Yes, a totally buff and muscular body-builder chose me to be his wife. Shocking huh?  So maybe, just maybe I’ve actually got some value that’s greater than what I look like. Yes, he chose me, I didn’t kidnap him and force him to marry me.

I am not sitting at home eating cookies and cake all day, and in fact, I probably accomplish a whole lot more than many of you that are judging me. I own and operate two successful business, I have 2 of my own children, and am also a foster parent to a minimum of 2 additional children at any given time. I long for a day filled of eating bon-bons and nothingness.

I am beautiful. In fact, I get told that a minimum of 2 times/day by total strangers. I may not be skinny, but I’m attractive and people are drawn to my demeanor. I’m gracious, I smile at everyone, and I treat everyone with respect. I’d rather be known for that than skinny any day. If you would rather be skinny than a decent human being, your life is going to suck. A lot.

I have birthed 2 children, and as such, it’s changed my body. Frankly, until you’ve had a minimum of 2, 9 pound human beings push themselves out of your nether regions, you should probably just shush. Enjoy your 20-year-old skinny, perfect body and give me a call in about 10 years. Just sayin.

I live a VERY full and fabulous life. I am not lonely or sad. I live in a beautiful home and drive a really nice vehicle. I’ve written stories for magazines and have done public speaking engagements. People come to me for advice and help ALL THE TIME. Who knew a fat person could actually contribute something to this world? Craziness, I know.

I challenge YOU to look at the important people in YOUR life. How many of them are overweight?? I’m guessing more than a few, and somehow, you’re able to love them in spite of their weight. Why do you think it’s okay to treat me as “lesser than” based solely on my appearance. You don’t know me, what I believe in, what I do, where I’ve come from or where I’m going. The “extra body” that I carry does not determine my worth. I don’t judge you based on your slouchy pants, caked-on make-up, badly behaved children and bad breath. I see those things as exactly that, things. Things do not a person make.

I am SO very blessed to be surrounded by other stong, intelligent and world-changing women that ALL don’t fit the “perfect image” that society demands. Instead of judging me by what I look like, judge me for what I do. I’m okay with that, in fact, I challenge you to do exactly that. Call me on my mistakes and shortcomings, but don’t you dare judge me on the size of my clothing.

Thankfully, my parents raised me right, and I KNOW my value. I know my worth and just how awesome I am. But I also know that many overweight people aren’t like me and are struggling to just fit in and belong, so I not only wrote this letter for me but for them.

I am smart, I am caring, I am kind, I am helpful, I do things that other people refuse to do, I love my fellow-man, I’m a business owner, I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, and I’m a wife. I have a name and it’s not “fat cow”. It’s April. Never forget that.

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