When you’ve spent most of your life having people comment on your size it can really affect how much of a presence you think you have.
In my younger days I was just like many other fat kids in that being reminded of my size was a daily fixture.
Jokes about how I fight by sitting on kids. Jokes about how I should eat last since I’ll eat everything in the cafeteria. Jokes about how I sweat so profusely. Jokes, jokes, jokes, jokes. But there was more to it than that.
There were also nods to my size that came in the form of “compliments.” “Oh, you’re so nice, despite being so large and intimidating.” “What team do you play for?” “[Insert reference to Andre the Giant or some other large wrestler]”
Over time those jokes and “compliments” told me one thing. I’m an immediately recognizable and noticeable presence. As an adult, however, it seems like I’m getting a different message. A few weeks ago I was pacing around the office (sitting in a cubicle all day is murder: I have to move around a bit every so often) and I stopped at a coworker’s cubicle. I immediately started talking to her and she almost jumped out of her skin like something out of “Men in Black.”
After being told that I should, “Wear a bell or something,” and thinking about all the times that I’ve been told similar things (I get, “Don’t sneak up on me like that” a lot, too) I began wondering why I, a guy that has always had his presence shoved in his face by others would need to consciously make people aware of when I was around.
I’m not used to the idea of sneaking up on anything other than a corpse or the occasional tree. My size has always gotten people’s attention. It’s completely foreign to me to imagine that I could approach someone undetected.
Maybe I was beat over the head about my size so much and wanted to disappear so badly that I actually managed to do just that (to a degree). Am I the only big guy that has gotten this feeling before? Or maybe the constant mention of your size led to some other effect?
—Photo credit: Danny