This is an open letter to the man that said ‘move fatty,’ to me as I enjoyed a night out with my friends on Saturday.
After a long week, I had worked up the energy to get dressed, do my hair and put on some makeup, and as I stood there looking at myself in the mirror, I fixated on the body that I so frequently degrade and insult, picking at its flaws and diminishing its abilities.
I quickly identified the parts of my body I don’t like in this outfit, but resigned myself to my dissatisfaction and walked out the door. I got to my friend’s house for our early Christmas celebrations and compared myself to my friends, once again seeing only my faults.
My nitpicking and negative self-talk didn’t end there, and after a few drinks we got to the club, where you turned around as I walked up a set of stairs.
With two little words, that probably seemed completely inconsequential to you, you validated every negative thought I’d had about myself that night (and many nights prior too).
Having someone utter your insecurities to you aloud is quite a confronting thing, and my immediate response was to cry, to agree with you - a perfect stranger - and confirm, ‘yep, I’m disgusting’.
I need you to realise that words, no matter how insignificant they may seem in your world, do in fact have an impact. I’ve now spent hours having to talk myself out of believing my worth is tied to those words; every time I’ve eaten food or put clothes on my body since, ‘move fatty’ echos through my mind.
And yes, I know that probably sounds overly dramatic, but it’s true.
While I would not consider myself overweight, I don’t feel as though I’m in the best shape I could be, and that’s a battle I struggle with every day. But during those hours of wallowing and self-pity, those words actually forced me to stop and think about what this body of mine has been through, particularly in the last twelve months.
It has carried me through the hardest times of my life, it nursed my dying mother as she took her last breaths in hospital, and it endures daily discomfort and pain caused by endometriosis. My body carries me to work each day, it pushes through the exhaustion, it pushes through the negative comments I throw at it, and it keeps going.
It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, particularly with the toned and sculpted bodies that so readily appear on Instagram, but those two little words gave me the license to stop and actually say that my body is kick-arse. It may not be at its physical best right now, but it pushes on and it fights.
So to you, the man who freely threw around the words ‘move fatty’, to a complete stranger, take a second before you speak next time, because that body has a whole story to tell. That body is brave, it’s strong, and it doesn’t need your opinion.
As the old adage goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all… so it’s best to keep your mouth shut.
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