That was shouted at myself and a group of friends enjoying a cold evening in the park last Thursday.
The only thing that makes this different than normal for me is the fact that my group of friends were people from the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA for short), and we were holding our weekly fighter practice. Some of us were dressed “funny” (in armor) and
beating on each other fighting each other with rattan swords. Others were in double layered doublets and poofy shirts and fighting each other with rapier swords. And a bunch of us was huddled together in mostly modern clothing (and coats — winter coats in March!), talking and trying to stay warm.
And this … person … decided to razz us for daring to be different than what society expects from us (doing so from the safety of his car driving away from us, mind you).
The response to his condemnation of us was immediate. Most of us laughed. Some yelled back “Thank you!” None of us gave him much more time of day than to just roll our eyes and shake our heads and laugh that this random stranger thought that his condemnation of us, that his opinion of us, mattered even the least little bit. That included me.
Yet I still have major issues when I hear some random stranger yell “FAT ASS!” out of a car at me. It tends to ruin my whole day. I obsess about the uninvited opinion of a stranger who tells me “You really shouldn’t be eating that” (no matter what “that” is) at a restaurant. I get extremely angry when I read people who write, “Oh, fat people are just lazy!” or “Fat people shouldn’t dress like that,” or “He’s so fat, he should never have run in that marathon!”
Yes, I know that part of this is due to the whole size acceptance thing, and the finally being totally fed up with constantly being on the receiving end of the criticism and bias and judgement. I’m tired of being discriminated against, and having doctors be lazy with me. Because you know that, no matter what is wrong with me, the diagnosis is always “fat” and then they don’t have to do anything to find out what’s really wrong with me.
But there’s another side. The non-political side, the more personal side. Emotionally, all the above really gets to me. It affects me for far longer than it “should” (considering that it’s non-solicited opinions from complete strangers, I mean). It gets to me in a place I have little defense against.
Call me a freak because I’m outside talking to friends and watching other friends amicably fight with each other, and I have no problems. Stare at me and whisper as I go by when I am dressed in my 11th century clothing, walking alongside my husband dressed in his generic 12th century clothing (t-tunic and trews, they were in fashion for so much of the middle ages), and I just shrug it off. See me working on a piece of SCA appropriate needlework embellishment of one of the t-tunics I was making for my husband, and say, “I don’t mean to be rude, but just what the hell are you making?” and I ignore your rudeness. Instead of being offended, I give you the 30 second intro-to-the-SCA and then give another 30 second blurb about what a T-tunic is and how I’m decorating it in a celtic knotwork design so my husband has something spiffy to wear at events.
But yell at me that I’m a FAT ASS, and my day is just shot.
I think I need to take my attitude about being called a freak because of my involvement in the SCA and somehow make it my attitude about people telling me I’m *insert epitaphs of the day, how I’m going to die, how I’m the cause of all the world’s problems because I’m fat*. I think I might have a better self-esteem if I do that.
Because yes, I am a freak. Thank you very much.
And yes, I am fat. Thank you very much.
And neither of those things are going to change. So get used to it. And get used to it not bugging me when you say that, either.