Story #26: “Those shorts make you look fat.” They announced in front of everyone.
I asked for feedback from people reading this blog, asking what you might like to read more about. Someone requested that I write about an embarrassing experience and how it has informed who I am today. I did a brainstorming session and came up with several ideas, but I don’t find them very satisfying. I thought about crying in middle school, messing up at a volley ball game, losing my virginity (who doesn’t want to hear that one?), being rejected when I asked someone to make out, laughing inappropriately, and this one time, when someone announced that my shorts made me look fat.
I guess I’ll have a slough of 3 body blog posts. Yesterday’s was about eating my feelings. Today will be about being called fat. Tomorrow will be about naked counseling. This was not an intentional theme. It’s simply panning out that way, so I’m gonna roll with it.
I will tell this story in a brief and basic format because I’m still connected to some of these people and I don’t want to call anyone out right now. Here’s the story in a nutshell –
I was participating in a fitness event, so we were all gathering together to talk about logistics or stretching or whatever. There I was, in a big group of friends and strangers alike and the group captain is giving some kind of announcement. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was sorting something out over in my corner, so MAYBE it was to get my attention, but who knows – all of a sudden I can hear this man’s booming voice declaring to everyone that my shorts make me look fat. I turned and across the sea of people saw his arm outstretched, pointing at me.
Honestly, I missed the context so I don’t know if I might have just been the victim of a joke. Regardless, there I was, in front of 30 plus people being told that my bright pink shorts made me look fat. I was so stunned and dumbfounded that I just laughed nervously (which I do often enough anyway). I stood flushed and embarrassed and the meeting went on.
Personally, fat jokes have never resonated with me. I find them cruel, unusual, and really passive aggressive. This happened a few years back and sticks out in my memory as a classic teen magazine story. So how has this informed who I am today?
Because I spend only spend 20-60 minutes writing these posts, I won’t launch into girls, women, and feminist issues around body image and fat shaming. I will share that it deeply hurt my feelings to see and hear this person say that I looked fat, especially in front of so many people. He probably was making some kind of joke, at my expense. I think all of us humans have enough damage and shame around our bodies. If you know me, know this: I am hugely ANTI BODY SHAMING.
You and your body are here to be loved. As fully loved as possible.
Despite considering myself liberal, open, and probably much more body-loving than many – I think my trend has become more conservative over the years. Yes, as a direct result of experiences such as this one. I’m not bullet proof and doing body confidence work takes a lot of practice.
I don’t want to become more conservative. I want to be more confident. I want to wear sexy clothes and feel good about it. I want to wear hot pink shorts and say “fuck you” to people who make stupid comments about how I look.
In recent times, this experience has informed me of the work that remains to be done. How can I prepare myself for situations such as this one? How can I be an ally when it happens to someone else? How can I prepare myself to call others out on their shit? I would love love love to be ready and confident to stand up for myself and others. This is the most important message for me at the moment. How can I stand up for myself and for you? How can I be the change that I want to see in this world?
What’s one of your embarrassing moments? What did you learn?
Yours in hot pink shorts giving zero fucks, XO ❤ LB