I moved to a new apartment in November, and the apartment has a fancy gym! It’s not a huge thing, A couple of ellipticals, treadmills, a stair climber, and the weight machines with the cables. Those are where I spend most of my time (When I’m not doing squats that is). Anyone who follows my social media accounts will have noticed my efforts at the gym.
The difference is staggering for me. I see it in my face, in my body. I see it in the way I move, and the way my body feels when I’m sitting on the floor. Working out has become my “me” time. My self care routine. I rarely talk to people while I’m working out. Texts go unanswered, Music just builds up in my ears and I rock out. In between my squat sets I wiggle to some Shakira. I’m excited to be there, and excited to feel the blissful discomfort of badassery. With every hour I rack up at the gym I feel a more blissful serenity when I go.
Unfortunately there are a few things that disrupt my bliss.
I’ll start with the one that is the least offensive. It’s the one I feel guilty about, because it’s the one that I should be proud of. I HATE when people tell me I’m an inspiration. I never see the “You’re such an inspiration” on the posts where I’m so frustrated that I could cry because none of my clothes fit anymore and I don’t have the money for new ones. I don’t hear that I’m an inspiration when I’m struggling. The only time I hear that I’m an inspiration is when I’m posting positive things. The times when I need to hear that I’m an inspiration is when I’m fixated on the negative. I need to hear I’m an inspiration when I am frustrated that the next 14 pounds I want to lose feel so far away. I need to hear that I’m an inspiration when I’m crying and frustrated.
When I post positive things about my weight loss or cancer, people tell me I’m an inspiration. I’d rather you be inspired during the bad days. Let the hard stuff inspire you, not the progress. Otherwise, what it says to me is you’re looking at my blog posts, workouts, photos and saying “if this sick/fat/crazy person can do it, so can I”. I don’t want to be part of a competition, I want to be part of a revolution. A revolution of body love and personal affection.
One of the things I’ve noticed during my time in the middle of this revolution is unwanted negativity. Once upon a time I heard a person (a Real Live Human Being) remark that fat people should lose some weight before going to the gym. How that is possible, I’m not sure. I regularly get looks of disdain when I’m working out, as though I somehow annoy people with my presence in the gym.
Sometimes I even take my shirt of and workout in just a bra. The looks I get then are ABSURD. I’m not working out without my shirt of for my health friends. I’m sans shirt because my shirts are now too loose for me to check my form and, as I’ve mentioned above, I don’t have the money to buy new ones.
I find it incredibly frustrating when until recently there was a distinct lack of workout attire for fat people. Specifically fat women (Unclear about workout attire for fat men. I’m sorry loves).
I hate getting the ugly looks at the gym. I’m sorry that my presence, my fat body offends you. Am I a distraction? I’m not bothering anyone. The only difference between me and the other shirtless girl (who is moving on the elliptical), is that I’m fat.
As a fat person, I’m used to hearing people comment on my body. Whether it’s disapproving looks, whispered or outright comments in earshot, or someone coming up to me and giving me their opinion on my body, I’m so used to it at this point.
That doesn’t make it okay.
If I had a dollar for every single person who told me that I need to eat less and exercise more, I’d be able to pay for college. I anticipate EVERY fat person has heard this advice. I would love to know who *HASN’T* heard this magical piece of advice. Beyond that it’s simply annoying. It’s annoying to hear “Watch what you’re eating” and “Eat less, exercise more” over and over. I would like to hear something useful. If it’s not a useful and practical piece of advice. Don’t fucking give it.
I’m so over people commenting on my body, and I’m over people deciding how best my body should be handled.
I wonder if this happens to fat men. I wonder if people randomly walk up to fat men and tell them how to lose weight. Tell them they don’t want to eat those fries, or that burger. I’m not hoping that it does happen to fat men, because I don’t want it to happen to anyone, but I kind of hope that it’s equal across the board.
The other day I was at the gym in the middle of my chest press when a gentleman approached me. The gym is small and the people who are regulars tend to be friendly with each other. We exchange pleasantries like asking how holidays went, commenting on the weather, etc. I had assumed that he was going to mention the same, as we were there at the same time every day for a few weeks.
I was VERY wrong.
This gentleman, while I was halfway through my chest press, decided to ask if he could give me some advice. I’m not 100% sure if I consented to hearing said advice. He began asking me why I was at the gym. I told him that I was there to build muscle and he informed me that if I lost weight by using the treadmill the muscle will follow. He then informed me that if I wanted to lose weight I would need to do two things.
1. I would need to watch what I eat, cut out all sugar from my diet, and eat no other meat except chicken. None of which being things I particularly *enjoy* doing. Only one of which I actually do.
2. I would need to put a plastic trash bag over my body under all of my other clothes before working out. If I put the trash bag on, I could “play” on any machine I wanted.
I wish I was joking about any of this, but I’m not. I wish I could say that this seems out of the ordinary, but I expect it now. I expect it being a fat woman. I expect it being fat at the gym. I’ve had the wonderful experience of expecting it to be a thing no matter where I go.
So the next time you open your mouth to say something to another gym patron, to a fat person, to any person who doesn’t treat their body the way you think they should…
Until Next Time!
-The Frisky Fairy