When a man’s “Dear Fatty” post went public, it received an overwhelmingly positive response; Theresa Byrne reflects on how this stranger’s post touched some of her deepest fears.
I recently read a post on The Socialcrat (you can find it here). I loved it.
I may be in decent shape now because of my work as a martial artist, but I’ve always struggled with my own sense of body and self.
Shame. Embarrassment. Worry. Not good enoughness.
My dad was overweight and dieted all the time. He was judged for it, even though he’d run miles every night. Plus I thought to be cool, I needed to look like a Barbie doll; and with my eventual Amazon height and muscles, that was never gonna happen!
The first time I can remember that something felt “wrong” with me combined with that red heated flash of shame, I must’ve been in 4th or 5th grade. I had a neighbor that I was excited to befriend. She was a cool girl, I was a dork. She had lots of style and I had none. Most of her clothes came from hip places at the mall. We shopped at Target. Her parents were cool, and mine weren’t.
When she invited me over to her house to play cards, I was overly-eager, like a puppy. I thought that this was it, I was going to have an actual female friend! Yes! Up until that point (and for many years after) my best friends were male. They were just easier to get along with and understand, plus there wasn’t any of that fake-ness or two-facedness.
The problem with having best male friends is you get judged by other girls. Or their parents.
I ran over to her house, only to find that it seemed no one was home. The door was ajar, but as I walked around the house I couldn’t see anyone. I looked and looked, she had just called me a few minutes ago. I was confused, and thought how weird it all seemed. So I headed for the door.
At that moment, my neighbor and several other girls came falling out of closets and places. They’d been hiding. They’d been laughing their butts off at how funny their joke was: to call me and watch me run over. To see me looking excitedly for them. How funny it was that I was looking everywhere and was confused. They laughed and laughed.
I felt ashamed.
An outcast again.
My face burned that hot-scarlet color and I was mortified. I didn’t know what I had done wrong, and in that moment I decided that not only was there something wrong with me, but I probably didn’t look cool enough or pretty enough to be friends. I was obviously not OK.
So thank you, sir, for your post. Thank you, sir, for your kindness, because for those of us that have ever been hard on ourselves, you made the world feel just a little bit safer. You made my day!
And here’s to all of you that never understood why or how others didn’t understand or like you. Here’s to all of you that have put up with others putting you down. Making fun of you.
Here’s to all of you that are doing what you’re doing because you want to do it. Because you care about you and not what anyone else says.
Run if you feel it. Hold your head up high. Be who you are.