For the past three weeks I have not been allowed to go to work (it’s a very long and stupid story; the gist of it is I show up to work every morning and get sent home). Now, the school year (I work in a school cafeteria) ends this Friday but ever since all of this started I’ve been stressed out, depressed and pretty despondent. Which results in me eating more and exercising less. I can feel my body reacting negatively to this; my back and sciatic nerve are aching and my breath becomes labored easier. My job was something very active and helped me maintain a somewhat active lifestyle; I got lots of exercise at work. Now that that’s gone I have to motivate myself to exercise. Today I did that; I got up, did stretches, went on a power-walk, and rode the exercise bike for about ten minutes. These are all good things; I know that exercise is good for my body and my health and I love my body and want to treat it well.
What I really want to talk about is the sense of mild panic I experience when doing any kind of exercise outside, in the open, in view of people. It’s especially frustrating to me, since I’ve never really struggled too much with loving and accepting myself and not giving a shit what others think, to be experiencing these feelings. Even if nothing happens, when I see a car go by my mind runs wild with all the things that person may or may not be thinking about the fat girl on the side of the road. Why do I experience these thoughts? Because we live in a society that routinely shames fat people, regardless of what the fat person is doing. It doesn’t matter if they’re eating or working out, we’re going to make fun of them.
We’ve all seen or heard the jokes about a fat person in a gym, making a fool of themselves among the more fit people, simply by being there and being fat. It’s just HI-LARIOUS to see a fat person trying to work out. I guess the idea is that they’re so pathetic because they’ve let themselves get so fucking fat and now they’re trying to fix it; stupid fatty, if you’d have worked out all along this wouldn’t have happened. And that idea goes completely against the #1 fat-shaming bullshit excuse: We’re just worried about your health. If all the people who say they’re concerned for the health of fat people actually meant it there wouldn’t be such an atmosphere of shame and disdain that stops so many overweight people from going to the gym or to the doctor. If all the people who posited this supposed concern actually felt it, it would foster a more welcoming, safe atmosphere. I don’t feel secure just walking around the roads of the neighborhood I’ve lived in for near 9 years. I can’t imagine how some others may feel at the idea of going into a gym.
I want to treat my body well. I don’t really like exercising to begin with (outside of dancing and swimming); I do it because it’s good for my body and my health. I want to be able to exercise with freedom and without having to worry about what some asshole might think of me while I do it. I can dance in my room, I can ride the bike in the sun room, I can find a more private space of land (like the woods maybe or a barren field or some other abandoned space) to walk around in. But why the fuck should I have to hide the fact that I’m trying to be healthy?