My goal is to live authentically and honestly in all aspects of my life. Today I was reflecting on places where I still live like I have something to prove. I realized that most of them have to do with not living into the stereotypes of fat people.
What started me down this train of thought was being really physically tired and crossing the street. I started running, even though I was really tired and everyone else in the crosswalk was walking. because I didn’t want the people in cars who were waiting for me to think that I’m lazy because I’m fat. (This is not full proof – a couple of days ago it inspired a driver to roll down his window and yell “Run Fatty Run”. That inspired me to slow my pace to a crawl until he missed the light, then jog off down the block to my inner monologue cadence of “Wait Jackass Wait.”)
I tend to park as far away from a store as possible. With my workout schedule I don’t need the exercise, and with my life schedule I could use the extra time that close-in parking would afford me, but I want to make sure that people see me walking so they know that I’m not lazy.
As a dancer I live in constant fear of being “heavy”. A “heavy” follow is one who expects the lead to hold them up and move their weight. As someone who also leads a little, I can tell you that it has nothing to do with the dancer’s actual weight. In dancing you can be a 98 pound Mack Truck or a 300 pound Ferrari, it’s all about your technique. Just so you know it’s not entirely in my head - a very famous master dancer gave a workshop that I attended. He danced with every student in the class but me. When I pointed it out to him (gently and in private) he apologized and said “I would have been happy to dance with you, but I have a bad back”. What with the who now? I am certain that the other girls in the class exacerbated his back condition far more than I would have, but he had taken one look at me and made a determination.
Most of the time I’m able to live authentically so these are exceptions, but I honestly don’t know how I feel about them. In some ways I think it’s good to buck the stereotype, in other ways it bothers me that these behaviors are more affectation than authenticity which falls outside of the bounds of where I want to live.
I’m not that excited about living in a state of trying to anticipate what people might be wrongly thinking about me and figuring out a way to act that would prevent them from thinking that.
I’m curious if other fatties out there do this too, or if this is just my personal little neurosis?
Margaret Thatcher said “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to say you are, you aren’t.” Maybe this is like that? Maybe I have nothing to prove. Maybe if I just live honestly and authentically people will figure it out. Or maybe these kinds of blatantly non-stereotypical acts are important and help people question their stereotypes about me and people who look like me. I don’t have the answers, just the questions.