I know that I am overweight. It’s not some secret I try to conceal with contouring makeup or flawless fashion. I do not avoid mirrors. I know what size my pants are. It is safe to say that if I know that I am overweight, then I know the people whom I encounter aren’t shocked at this news, either. Weight is visible. In reality, though I know that I am overweight, I am also one of the most confident people you’ve ever met. Seriously. I smile at everyone (almost) and I’m consistently laughing. My weight has never dictated how I interact with people or even how I had felt about myself… until she clapped for me.
It was summer, it was hot, and my friends and I lived at the pool at my mom’s house. Whenever it was a sunny weekend day, you could be guaranteed to see all of our friends lounging around soaking up the rays or splashing around playing volleyball. One gorgeous Saturday afternoon we were all hanging out and relaxing by the pool and chatting about what was going on in our lives. Thinking nothing of it, I mentioned that I bought a bike. As in a bicycle, you know, like the ones we rode the neighborhoods with as children.
My words were muffled by her clapping. My mind started racing. Wait, what is happening? Why is she clapping? Did I miss someone else’s good news? Oh, no. That’s for me. She is clapping for me. Why? I don’t understand. Oh…I get it now. The FAT girl bought a bike and the skinny girl is clapping. Ouch. Dear Lord, please help me not punch her in the throat.
My thoughts collided in my brain like they were bouncing through a whirlpool. I felt hot. I was angry. But most of all I was embarrassed and sad. Not since elementary school had someone seen my weight as a hindrance. Not since elementary school had I been made to feel like I was “less than” because of my weight. I couldn’t believe it. This woman, who called herself a friend, was clapping at the thought of me purchasing a bicycle.
She continued on and said “I’m just so proud of you!” What? Proud of me? Just as my facial expression must have been shouting “Is this chic for real?”
Suddenly, another close friend popped her face in front of mine so it was all that I could see. “Can you help me make a drink in the kitchen?” I locked eyes with her and held it until I was clear of the judgmental pride I had induced in my so-called friend.
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