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Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello, my name is Ana and I'm SO sorry that I'm fat!!

There might be a possibility of me getting on an airplane soon (I'll explain later).
This thought terrifies me to my very core.
Not the reason for the possible flight, but the flight itself.

As an overweight person, I've had to endure verbal "abuse" and discrimination because of it. (I'm really not whining, its just been my experience and I feel like sharing). I know for a fact that I wasn't hired for a gallery job here in Miami, specifically because of my weight. Do I have proof? Well, unfortunately I don't carry a recorder with me, but the person admitted to me (unbelievably so) that because Miami is all about "image" and they cater to a certain "clientele" they had to take that into consideration - I'm not kidding.

When you're young...rude & cruel remarks can sting and scar you. But, you mature and learn that there are bad people in the world and hopefully you realize that not everyone will mistreat you simply because of how you look. Although now I've learned to accept these events as part of my "norm", I will still occasionally notice "looks" and remarks by some, who make no attempt to hide them. I either 'ignore' or 'confront' (depending on my mood - although honestly, its usually 'ignore' & 'accept').

OK, back to the airplane.

I've only been on a few flights, none of which were pleasant, whether it be because of nerves or physical discomfort. It also seems that every time I've had to get on a plane, I'm at a point in my life when I'm feeling a bit self-conscious about my weight. The idea of getting into those tiny seats, breathing on the head of the person in front of me, because they've reclined completely backwards, having someone's brat kick the back of my seat...well, its not a pleasant thought. But I've always gone out of my way ( literally). to NOT make the other person next to me uncomfortable as much as possible, going as far as apologizing for my very existence on top of risking my health by not moving and barely breathing (and forget food, are you kidding me???)

Anyway, I did a very stupid thing (bad Ana!): I made the mistake of doing "research" online about being overweight and flying. Why? Who knows why I do the things I do. Lets just say it was "just because".

Well, I came across a travel site that asked "should obese people pay more for their flights?" There were 360 comments left and of course, I read every single one of them and it has left me shattered.

The hateful, ignorant comments about "obese" and "overweight" people was horrifying! I won't get into details, but phrases like: "stop stuffing your face", "get out of Burger King", "I don't want your stinky, sweaty fat on me", "I run 10 miles a day and keep fit, why can't you?"...etc. were expressed. Those are the type of things that we all believe people are "thinking" and that our loved ones (bless them) tell us is all in our heads, well, obviously it's a sad reality. The hypocrisy we're surrounded by is evidenced by the fact that these people leave such horrible commentary, only because they are protected by virtual anonymity.

Someone please tell me to stop doing this to myself!


T.Allen-Mercado said...

I'm really sorry Ana. I am currently battling some recent drug-induced weight gain and I often (as noted in my sentence) feel the need to validate my very existence with an excuse as to why I've gained 20 pounds or somehow tell people that I'm still the same Tameka only now 2 sizes bigger. Still a size 6, I have had to face some truths about myself and why I'm so pressed to return to a smaller size. I'm not making excuses for people who are overtly rude and hateful towards overweight people...I don't know what I'm saying other than body image like race is a a brutal social construct and shamefully a large part of the human experience. For once, I have no advice, but I hope your travel is safe and enjoyable.

Ana said...

As always, thank you Tameka and I'm sorry for your experience.

There is a friend of the family who had to be put on a "steroid" type medication and she has gained weight fairly quickly because of it. This has been very traumatic for her, because she has noticed differences in how she is treated by some. She admitted to me that she had done/said the very same things that are now being "thrown" at her and she doesn't know how to deal with it.

Like I said, I've dealt with the weight issue since birth, so unfortunately I've been a bit desensitized to the comments.

It IS fascinating to me, however, how people are so compelled to tell me how I should exercise and diet. Especially the older ladies are always telling me that if I want a boyfriend I need to lose weight. It IS sometimes funny, but mostly its just annoying.

Can you imagine a perfect stranger coming up to you and asking if you've considered getting your skin whitened, "You you're not discriminated as much or so you can get paid what you deserve, etc.??" It's obviously just not going to happen, because its so inappropriate (to say the least). These people feel they're doing a good service or their "good deed for the day" by giving unsolicited and usually offensive "advice". They're totally clueless about how their insensitivity can scar a person.

Discrimination against overweight people is openly accepted and I don't think anything will change.

Anyway, I'd LOVE to have your size 6! Hell, give me a size 14 and I could do some serious damage!!


Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog and I just want to say how sorry I am that you came across such a hideous website!! Those 360 comments were obviously made by shallow, unfeeling and uneducated people. They are in no way representative of what 90% of the population actually think.

I have just spent ages reading through your blog and I think you come across as a lovely warm person who is clearly very very talented. If someone judges you for your weight...then they are clearly not worth wasting your time worrying about.

and if your really annoyed by the comments then I suggest you retaliate with something along the lines of

'Yeah, well your ugly - at least I can diet'

Don't let the buggers get you down!!

C x

Ana said...

"C"...I truly appreciate the "ages" you spent reading my blog. You now know more about me than most of the people in my life!

I don't know if I should congratulate you or apologize, lol.

Either way, I thank you for your time and for your comment. I think deep down I believe that most people are not like those who commented on that site...but its those few who leave the deepest wounds.

Anyway time has a way of healing some of those wounds, because today I'm over it! Lol.

Welcome to my blog! I hope you return.