On walking while fat

For those who know me, it will be no surprise to hear that I recently took part in a challenging walk around the hills of Road Town. I was so happy that Husbae and the Wee Baby Abel could join me, and we had some good friends along the trail too.

It was a chance for us to get out and sweat together, and, once the more competitive walkers had left us behind (we didn’t rush – that might have disturbed our little princeling!), it was also a quiet and meditative time to enjoy the morning. Coming back into town was delightful: We did it! I felt triumphant, and was already thinking about how soon our little family would be able to do something like it again.

As we returned to the starting point, the crowd that finished well before we did was beginning to disperse. We hailed them up, happy to catch up with several folks who hadn’t seen us since we got back to the island, or who hadn’t met the baby yet.

Then I encountered the ultimate joy-thief. Someone I don’t know well but have been friendly with for several years spotted me pushing the stroller.

“Did you walk, or you just want it to look like you did?”

wtf

Excuse the eff outta me??

I don’t even think I answered him, or maybe I said something polite through a stunned smile because Mom raised me to respect my elders but… seriously? I have many questions.

Why would anybody pretend to do a 5am walk that was ONLY for fun? As he could plainly see I have an infant. If I didn’t want to do the walk, you can be sure I’d be happily and shamelessly at home playing with him on a Saturday morning. There were NO stakes, nobody to impress, nothing to prove.

So, why would this even occur to him? And furthermore, what would give him the idea that this was the least bit ok to ask me out loud?

It’s because I’m fat. You see, he’s slim, so he assumes he’s healthier than I am. Therefore, he thinks he can look at me and decide what I’m capable of. He weighed me with his eyes and decided that I a) probably couldn’t have done the walk and, in all likelihood, b) that I am lazy, but that c) I crave the approval of the thinner community. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE??)

This guy, who I will continue to be polite to although he clearly has zero respect for me or any other fat people, is only a little further past the assumptions I am used to. People will often see me on the road or trail and assume that I am a “good fattie,” that is, someone who is actively trying to lose weight. Those people, much as it might be none of their business, are at least assuming the best of me – in their minds I am working hard to shrink down to an acceptable size, therefore it’s a “you go girl,” or “it gets easier,” as they pass me. And you know what? I just had a baby nine months ago, it’s totally normal for people to check me out and decide that I am looking pretty hot for a new mom. All those people want to do is encourage me and they are wonderful and I truly love them!

But.

I don’t work out to fix my post-baby body. I don’t exercise to shrink myself or impress others. I am not a body in progress, waiting until I reach some magical goal weight before I begin to really live my life and love myself. I workout because it feels good, because I want to be strong and mobile, because the view from the top is incredible, because the music is amazing, or to clear my head, or de-stress, or for the great company, or the time alone, or fun photos, or fresh air, or wild animals, or to get outdoors or…

I could go on, but you get the idea. The main thing is

tenor(2)

I do it for me.

(Ps – Lizzo is an absolute queen and everyone needs to go buy her album and if you don’t believe me watch this.)

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Get to the source

“Whatever you read online, that’s the story and I’m not saying anything more.”

That’s what I was told recently when I called a public official about a certain story.

I was shocked. This relatively high-ranking officer was encouraging, insisting really, that I should not talk to a source who actually knew my story first-hand and should instead just read another reporter’s work and go with that.

Sorry, sir. I can’t do that. What I read online could be wrong. How would I know unless I check it out? I wouldn’t know, and neither would any of my readers.

I tried to explain that I didn’t need him to give me any NEW information if he couldn’t do that, but if he could just either confirm the reports or tell me they weren’t true—

At this point, he interrupted. He called me “young lady.” He told me he was upset that what was told to “the media” already didn’t seem to satisfy me. He sounded quite a bit more than upset.

I tried one more time. I said I really couldn’t put something in the paper based on what I read online.

Another interruption. Another shutdown. Another “I’m not saying anything else,” as though he’d told me anything at all in the first place. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a source so angry, and certainly not since coming here, where the rule is to be more polite than this California girl is used to.

I decided to cut my losses, just get his name and get off the phone before he had a chance to start insulting me. Of course he didn’t want to give me that either.

Praise be, I managed to get the story from someone else in time for this week’s issue.

Now I dread having to call that other public officer ever again. I’m certainly in no hurry to be on the receiving end of that level of hostility again. But I already know I will. Just like I call my other sources several times a day if I need to, just like I tried multiple times to explain what I needed to know to this person, and just the way we all have to keep pushing, keep pressing, keep digging, to get our stories.