Slim.

When I was in fifth grade, I broke my hand sledding. I was pushing off from the top, and someone ran over my hand with a metal old timey toboggan.  I had to wear a cast for 6 weeks.

I an attempt to make my life in school easier, my mom gave me a coral colored net beach bag to carry my books from class to class, and it was so exciting, because at that age, the most asinine things are awesome. Retainers, eye patches, Remy Shaw had crutches for a few weeks, and I envied the hell out of him.

One day as I was walking out of religion class, a group of three 8th grade boys were waiting in the hall for me yelling, save the whales, stop netting the whales!

To this day, I can’t figure out what is the most humiliating part. The part where three cute older boys I’d never actually spoken to made fun of my bag in the hallway in front of everyone, or the fact that, at the time, I had absolutely no idea they weren’t making fun of my bag at all.

I went home that night screaming at my mother, asking her why she sent me to school with a stupid coral net bag, especially when all the cool girls carried things in plastic Gap bags, never mind we couldn’t afford to shop at the Gap, or in reality, carrying your things around in a used Gap bag seems a bit homeless, WHATEVER, at the time, it was a big deal.

For the remaining six weeks, I struggled to balance my books with my bad hand, and I’m almost positive it slowed the healing process down a good month.

Funny side note, one of the three 8th grade boys asked me out in high school. I was apparently less whale-like then. And also one of them died.

It wasn’t until the next year, when nobody wanted to be my partner for square dancing (which is basically like child marriage in elementary school), that I began to realize, it was me that was the problem…not the bag.

The early 90′s were a hard time to have curly hair. And, glasses. And also, a weight problem.

It was almost paralyzing. I was afraid to maneuver about school, the teasing was humiliating, and I would spend entire days with my jaw clenched and my skin prickly, scared to turn the corner and hear how fat or ugly I was in front of my friends.

Now, I can sit here and think of a million and one witty things I should have said back to them. Pointing out their sub-par wit and glaring appearance flaws. And then running into them as adults, with poor hygiene and unfortunate genetics…except the dead guy, obviously.

But, that is how my head works, in the moment it’s hazey and stuttery and full of jibberish, but after, I could have the entire articulate fight with them in my head over and over, and spoiler alert, I win every time.

Yesterday, on the very long drive home from Florida, Andy and Wyatt had to pee, so we stopped off at some sketchy looking gas station off the highway. I decided to change Gigi’s pull up, but when I opened the side door, in pure Three’s Company style, the bag that had been leaning against the door fell out, spilling all it’s contents (you know, like my tampons, pads, pills, glasses, dirty underwear from the previous night in a shady hotel) on to the ground.

As I bent over to pick it up, in my black leggings (because Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral have a lax dress code), a man walked out of the gas station, and upon seeing me bent over in front of him, says, Hey watch it there, slim, and then starts laughing.

I jerked up to face him, and saw an overweight bald man in a tank top and frayed jean shorts, laughing next to a woman who looked positively humiliated.

Maybe she felt bad for being with a jackass who makes fun of a woman in front of her two small children outside a smelly gas station.

Maybe she realized we were basically the same size, and she was one break up or hillbilly divorce away from being on the receiving end of his bullying, if she wasn’t already.

Or maybe she was deaf.

I have no idea, but when I stood up to face the guy, all I wanted to do was call him fat and ugly and disgusting and probably *fingers crossed* impotent, but what came out was way more logical and boring.

Does that make you feel better about yourself, to mock women for their weight when they clearly weigh less than you?

I wanted him to say no, that he was merely mirroring his own insecurities on to me, and that he hated himself.

Yes.

Oh. Well, it’s really gross, and you should focus on other things, like being nice to people and making more jean shorts, I mean, when don’t those look good on grown men?

See? Jibbery nonsense. He said “fuck you” and walked away, and I spent hours staring out the window as we drove home, thinking about what he said, and how he probably would never give his words a second thought, even though I was stuck carrying them around with me the rest of my life.

Sometimes people don’t realize that part of words, you can never ever measure how deep they cut others, and how they never really go away.

Thankfully, I like scars.

 

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  1. says

    Just found your blog through Planting Dandelions and love this post. I’ll read more soon and already added you to my blog list.

    It took me a lot of years, I’m 62, and a most wonderful husband/life to be able to say that “I like scars” but I now know that those many emotional scars helped define me and taught me much about becoming the kind of person I am today.

  2. halcuri says

    I’m sorry, I don’t live in reality. I reread your post three times, convinced that you were making it up or embellishing it. I mean, seriously, people SAY that?? The only time I have ever witnessed a complete stranger say something inappropriate to another person was when I was in this play and some drunk homeless woman outside the theatre started calling my mother a bitch for refusing to give her money. But let’s face it, if you’re a drunk, probably drugged-out homeless chick hanging outside a theatre in a shady section of town, you aren’t in your right mind and I can forgive your vulgar rants because you’re, well, YOU. But some random jackass at a gas station making a comment about a complete stranger’s weight? I see more and more evidence every day that Darwin was an idiot – the weak and stupid are surviving and thriving, at least in the human population. Natural selection my big, fat backside!

  3. BrittanyNoelle says

    When I was 12 and my best friend was 11 we were playing outside with brothers that lived across the street from me. They we 13 and 11. I was a little older than her, and a little further in the maturing process. I was 4’10 and weighed about 8o pounds soaking wet, but I had just put on that weight in awkward places, probably because I was about to get my first period and grow a bit. She was an inch or two taller than me and super thin. It was summer and we wanted to play with their slip n slide so we put on my bathing suits and rode our bikes over. I was wearing a two piece with purple flowers. She was wearing my pink one piece. I can still remember the oldest brother (who I had a massive crush on) running down the front steps, looking at us sitting on our bikes and saying to me, “you should’ve let her wear the two piece.” I’m 27 now and I’ve felt fat every single day since then.

  4. AngieM. says

    i am so pissed right now.

    i would’ve said “shut up..limp dick” and then ignored him afterwards.

    what a HUGE asshole!

  5. says

    Found this post through Planting Dandelions.
    What if you had just gone off on the guy- “Who are you calling slim, a***e. I’m not slim, I’m curvacious, and bodacious. I’ve worked hard for this flesh- did you see my beautiful kids? I’m not some skinny runt- I am a WOMAN!! And if you aren’t man enough to be able to appreciate that? Well, shut up and walk on by!”

  6. Liv Anderson says

    I should be driving my baby brother to HS, instead I’m still curled up in bed reading your poignant blog. I love it (and maybe you).

    My brother is 2 years younger, and when I was twelve he was at a friends house who had a brother in my grade. He called me a whale. My brother hit him. The boy hit back, and Christian had bruises. (he’s now a starting football star, and total bad ass)

    I went up to him at school, in my daisy pants and poncho, and 1) hit him, and followed with the words that, “Whales are freaking adorable, dufus.” Then told him if he ever hurt my baby brother again, then he’d get to see what I could do with piano wire, which was a line from
    a dirty movie my older sister had let me watch.

    When our families have get togethers, the boy still refuses to come over, even though we’re 18 now.

    I’m still plus-size, and equally freaking adorable.
    (and have the best brother)

    • Brittany says

      After I hug you, I’m going to high five your brother. Because, YES, whales are freaking adorable! You are awesome!

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