Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The thin line of visible and invisible

When you're super duper morbidly obese, you get used to being invisible.  The rare times you decide to throw yourself to the mercy of the public, you accept as fact that people like furniture store sales people, fellow shoppers in a grocery store, cashiers and even the usually predatory car salesmen will not acknowledge you.  You will literally have someone cut you off with their cart to the point that you are astonished that they didn't physically run over your foot and I'm not a "fetal fattie", I will go off on a beeotch, yo...or at least let them know I know what they did with an "are you effing serious!?" turn to the Mr and say loudly "did you see that rude ass!?"  There is nothing more irritating to me that people who are blatantly rude to others in thinking their mission is any more important than yours or someone else and I am the champion of the underdog so I just say something.  Oddly, no one outside of a car has said something back.  They seriously are in their own world and you are just not important to them especially if you're fat.

When we lost over 150 lbs, we started seriously noticing a difference in how we were treated at those same places that we were shunned before.  It was both a relief and maddening because everyone regardless of size deserves to be treated with some respect.  Suddenly furniture places looked at us as though we could afford what was in their stores and car salesmen deemed us prey-worthy (that one I could do without) and we were even acknowledged a few times in the grocery with an "excuse me."  It was all enough to make us think that was no longer a hurdle but we had one of those days last weekend that made us just totally feel like we'd crossed back into invisibility.  From almost getting hit by some d-bag that wasn't paying attention (and watching he and the Mr have a bit of a screaming match side by side) to getting ignored by multiple employees at a home store except for the one obese employee who did approach us (which is fine by me because in commission based businesses, I will ALWAYS give my money to the underdog salesperson who is too shy, too shunned or too overweight to be considered competition by sleazeball co-workers) to this scrawny wench who seriously stepped INTO me at Old Navy and I said "SERIOUSLY?" (no response) and I was breathing down her neck she was so close to me.  I'm surprised she didn't think she was getting accosted by a ghost with my irritated heavy breathing on her neck until the Mr lead me away from her.  I totally got the attitude that SHE belonged there and I didn't so she was just going to step into a space I was already occupying.

It was just one of those days but a good reminder that even at almost 200 lbs down, I'm still fat by society's standards and still not worthy of "fitting in" to places they'd rather not see me.  TOO DAMN BAD!  I'm here, I'm workin' on it and I'm not going away!  I am glad for this reminder because there will come a time that getting acknowledged will happen more often than not and I never want to forget that feeling of feeling less than in other people's eyes just based on my cover.  It'll remind me to always treat others out in public the way I would want to be treated.

Have you ever been ignored and felt it was because of your weight or image issue?

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17 comments:

  1. I get ignored a lot, although never by people I wish would leave me alone (pushy salespeople when I'm browsing, parents of students that want to "conference" that see me in the store an suddenly want to "conference"...). I don't think it has anything to do with my weight/appearance though. I think 90% of people are polite, considerate and aware of their surroundings, another 7 or so are oblivious, 2% are so wrapped up in their own self importance that the rest of us don't matter. The final 1% are just plain D-Bags, and apparently you have a higher percentage of this last group where you live.
    Some days it feels like the 10 percent-ers win, but I try to remember that the vast majority of people are not that way.

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  2. When I was heavier, I did feel ignored or instantly marginalized because of my size. Now that I've lost the weight, I sometimes feel invisible, but I think it has more to do with age. I'm too old to be "worthy" of notice, and too young to be cute. Good thing I like me. :)

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  3. I always felt as though people went out of their way to ignore "the fattie." Now, like you, I get more attention, but it's usually the sleazy car salesman!

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  4. I can so relate to this. This is a great post and it happens to people all the time!

    New follower. :)

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  5. I live in an area which is considered a predominantly minority filled culture. Hopefully that gets my point across as I hope not to offend anyone. Growing up in a rural area, I didn't have an issue with people being in my "bubble". Now, I CAN'T go to the grocery store because I'll have someones kid trip me, or have them bump my ankles with their cart. I drive 20 minutes out of the way for comfort. I don't think it's because of my size, I think it mainly happens because of cultural differences. Like we were talking about with the amusement park, the crowds were crazy, but my husband says it's because of a changing demographic.

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  6. Oh.. this hit home with me. I've been ignored so many times it's .. it's a bit crazy. But I can be loud when I need to be, so I make them notice. Like you, I'm not going away! Damn those idiots!

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  7. I'm with you. I go out of my way to seek out the one less fortunate, less aggressive, less confident, less attractive. It's a trait my daughters have picked up on, too. My 14 year old comes home from school often to tell me about the new kid, especially ones who don't speak English well, yet, that she spoke to or smiled at or waved to, somehow letting them know that they are welcome and not invisible. I love that about her. My 22 year old is the same way.

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  8. Such a powerful post girl! I still have about 40 pounds to loose before I feel good about myself again...and I just love the motivation I find in your posts. You help keep me strong despite all the baking I do for the blog! And for that, I will forever love you ;-)

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  9. It makes me so sad people can relate to this. I tend to think much of the brush off is due to people just being...well, asshats. But the people who would prefer those a little less than perfect in their eyes would stay out of their bubble can kiss my booty!

    Here's being VISIBLE!
    *raising a glass of water*

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  10. YES, YES, YES! When I was living in Russia and I was bigger - it was horrible. Trust me, I can relate and I NEVER will forget the feeling.

    Love this......"I'm here, I'm workin' on it and I'm not going away! "Love you girl. :)

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  11. Wow Jen, that's pretty sad to know that brush off is global. Sigh. Love you tooooo!

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  12. Absolutely, I have been ignored because of my weight--and I am as likely to say something rather loudly to my husband about it as not, embarrassing him no end. I've also noticed how differently I'm treated both by strangers and some people I've known casually since I've lost weight. Sad but it seems to be reality. A couple of months ago I heard a thin woman mutter something rude about an overweight couple that was taking too long going through the door of a store. I wanted to reach out and smack her for them!

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  13. Oh my goodness, this is so close to my experience that I could have written it! It's infuriating because it's like they are deliberately telling you that you are not good enough.

    I had this happen at work, too, sometimes, too.

    I am finding as I lose, it is happening less but it's still there. Thanks for sharing this powerful post.

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  14. It's as if some people think it's their job to make sure you know you do not fit in. I am back in college at age 49. I have lost weight since January (more than I ever have in my life) so *should* appear normal/accepted now, right? Nope. I agree with Cammy, it appears I'm too old to be "worthy" of notice. (Unless we're talkin' family, then it's the good old 180 degrees - went from too heavy, you really need to do something before it's too late, to you must not be eating anything at all, you'll get sick. Is everyone just hanging around waiting for me to fail? And how did I become so "dumb" that I'd starve myself, people? No credit at all? Oh, but just start telling them about what nutrition does go down the hatch and the eyes glaze over....)
    What IS IT with people?
    I am sorry you had to experience moments of going back to invisible. If that chick in OldNavy didn't response to your "SERIOUSLY?" comment, then in my book she is so self-absorbed she can't register anyone but herself. I mean, at least have the good grace to blush and apologize! GAH!!
    Total way to go on the ring resize party- WOO-HOO!!!!! and the -2!! Loving that news as well! Hugs.

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  15. Actually, I feel less ignored the more weight I gain. I feel like I'm the only person sticking out of a crowd because of my weight. I hate going places because I feel as though all eyes are on the fatty. I think it has more to do with ME and my emotional issues, so I'm sure everyone is really ignoring me.

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  16. At work I was invisible because I was one of the biggest people. Then once I started losing some weight, it was like I became a human being. I hated the attention. I feel like if I am not good enough at my largest, then don't talk to me when I lose some weight. When I gained the weight back, I became invisible again. Go figure.

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  17. Hi! I just wanted to tell you that I included a link to this post on my weekly "blog roll" feature today. I just thought it was amazing and moving. Thank you.

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