I hate flying. I hate business meeting or situations which require me to wear a high standard of dress. I hate social occasions. I hate shopping for clothes. I hate packing for holidays. I hate formal situations. I hate being in crowded spaces. I hate being on a full bus. I hate being near strangers.
I don’t hate all of these things because I don’t like them specifically. I hate all of them because they remind me of how difficult it is to be fat person and how much people dislike/look down on/don’t consider fat people.
Tonight I’m trying to pack for my trip to Sydney with Natalie so that we can go to the Fat Studies conference. I’m currently attempting to put together enough outfits to get me through the three days without too much hassle. Sadly I haven’t been shopping for clothes a lot over the last six months, and I used to think that was due to financial issues. I think that is an excuse that I’ve been using because I didn’t want to face the real truth. I don’t like shopping for clothes because I fear and dread the outcome.
I know other fat people share this dread. I can’t walk into a standard department store and expect to find clothes that will fit. For many years, there was one brand of underwear that I could buy, and they stopped making them. Thankfully I’ve found another brand, but there is still only one that is in a style I want and that fit.
Business shirts are almost useless. If they fit me around the belly and shoulders they will not do up around the neck. I haven’t worn ties for years. Not because I don’t look good in one, because I know I do. It’s because I feel uncomfortable and choked trying to keep the top button done up. If I leave it undone, I look scruffy and may as well not have bothered.
I’ve never bothered to look for a suit because I know I can’t get one at a price I can afford. I would need to go to one of the expensive menswear stores and get one made for me. It’s now getting to be like that for business clothes as well. Pants I’m kinda lucky in that I’m short, so I get them taken up anyway.
Tomorrow I get the honour of approaching the attendant on the plane and asking for the extended seat belt strap. I will try to do this while getting on the plane, which should be great with other passengers around me listening in. “Oh, he’s too fat to fit in his seat” they will all think to themselves. People are too polite to say it, but they do. Because I do.
Even when I could fit in the seat belt it didn’t mean I was comfortable. I felt like I was squishing Natalie, who gets forced into the middle seat so that I can spill out into the isle or onto the side of the plane. Getting the tray table down in the ‘downright’ position is impossible with my belly taking up the space that the tray would normally use, so I end up with a diagonal table to use.
The argument is that I should have to deal with these issues since I don’t fit into the box that the airlines feel makes a normal person. Well, I still resent the fact that I’m just doing my best to get on with life. A tip for fat travellers: Never, EVER use the toilet on a plane if you can. It’s not worth the trouble.
Even in social situations, it isn’t so much that I think other people are looking at me and going “Oh, look at that tub of lard”. It’s me thinking, “Geez, I wish I fit into this shirt better.” I feel so uncomfortable that it is almost impossible for me to deal with the people I’m talking to. I get anxious enough as it is without the negative self-talk that goes on from this feeling of not fitting in. (Pun not included).
I am sick of it. I hate feeling this way. I hate hating myself. Yet it is so easy to fall into this pattern that has been a part of my life ever since I was a child. It is so easy to think that you can just push it to one side and not deal with the issues, but that isn’t true.
I refuse to push away my negativity without at least processing it. I take umbrage at the idea that I should just suck it up and deal with it. No, I will deal with it but I will deal with it my own way, by looking at my negativity as objectively as possible and working to at least make peace with it.
I will never like myself every single minute of every single day. Some moments I feel hateful towards myself. But I do know that I love myself and that because of that love I will get through.