You called me fat.
Well, to be accurate, you yelled it from your too-small black car (compensating much), with the music and muffler far too loud for my taste. You actually slowed down, hit the button to lower your window, made the car behind you brake, and yelled “fatty fat ass” at me as I jogged along, minding my own business.
Maybe you didn’t think I heard you since I had my headphones in, but the volume with which you spoke could be heard by anyone within earshot – headphones or not.
Even though this happened months and months ago, I still remember it all. The smell of the hot summer day. The haze of the sun setting. The sound of traffic buzzing all around me.
See, the thing is, and the thing I’m not sure you’re aware of, is that I’ve called myself fat (and far, far worse) more times than you’ll ever have the chance to. What you’re also not aware of is that I was jogging my fat ass along to numb myself to the pain of my third miscarriage, to mute the sound of my infertility doctor telling me I’ve gained a “substantial amount of weight” since he’s last seen me, to erase the “not pregnant” line I kept seeing.
You clearly didn’t see who I was – you narrow-minded, attention-seeking, bruh who just wanted the approval of his fellow bruhs – but the point of this post isn’t to cast aspersions about who you are as you so callously did to me. Because the anger with which you called me a “fatty fat ass” could only have suggested that I was the worst kind of evil. And I would never want to make another human feel that way about who they are. Bruh.
What you didn’t see through your too-dark windows as you sped away, laughing with your friends, are my talents – as a mommy, as a wife, as a teacher, as an author. You did not see me drag my “fatty fat ass” out of bed at five every day to get ready for work and teach teenagers how to be good people (while maybe possibly teaching them how to appreciate literature). You did not see me help my children with their homework, reassuring them that they are not “too dumb” to understand first grade math. You did not see me fold five loads of laundry in record time – a real ninja-quality skill, if you ask me.
You did not see me cry to my husband because it felt as if the world was stacking the deck against me, only to take a deep breath and say, “I’m going for a run to clear my mind.”
No. What you saw was me chugging down the road, as best I could, trying to drown out the noise of my life. No doubt you saw my belly and breasts jiggle with every step. Growing and feeding tiny humans tends to stretch things out, makes them saggy.
My “fatty fat ass” body did that. It grew people.
This all happened in the blink of an eye, but I had the rest of my three miles to reflect on it. I believe you live in a world where you think your words are the pinnacle of truth. You believe what you had to say about me was more important than what I feel about myself.
So let me tell you – I am proud of myself for running as self-medication because there are far worse options. I am proud of myself for never giving up on the family of my dreams, because if I had done that, I wouldn’t be staring at my fourth son, peacefully sleeping next to me as I write this. The son my oh-so-sensitive doctor told me I’d never have because I needed to lose weight.
I am more than my weight – and while I may not believe that right now, no matter how much I try to convince myself of its truth – I know that I am far more than your words.
I ran again today. Months after your words slapped me across my face. And on that run a woman, with beautiful blonde hair, and a perfect smile, gave me a huge thumbs-up from her car as she drove past me – a silent way-to-go.
She made me think “What if we spent more time celebrating the things that made us happy rather than bad-mouthing the things that didn’t” (you know, like a mother mourning the loss of what she thought would be her last chance of having another baby – the horrible person she is for wanting to breathe the same air as you).
When I rounded the corner of my driveway tonight, two of my kids were waiting for me. They clapped for me and had a bottle of water waiting. My pace sucked. I was a hot, sweaty mess. My spandex shorts were stuck to my “fatty fat ass”, but none of that mattered.
What mattered was I showed them they are capable. By pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible (running 3 miles at 8 weeks post-partum after being home, on my own, with four kids for over 12 hours, for the third day this week), I showed them that I am strong, that I am not my weight.
I hope in moments like those, when my teachings go beyond words, that my children learn the value of being a decent human, that they learn to applaud accomplishments rather than frown on those who even dare try.
So to the bruh who called me a “fatty fat ass” all those months ago, where are you now? Would your actions have made your own mother smile?
And to everyone else reading this, ask yourself what have you celebrated today instead of bashing it. Maybe it’s time we all (myself included) tried to focus on the positive rather than the negative.