"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm." The sound of the electric shopping cart let out a Benedictine like song, as it labored to push me along down the aisle. I looked down. The battery was low. I was cranky that my foot was in this cumbersome boot. Just an hour before I was in the emergency room. My sore foot turned into sharp shooting pains and I wasn't able to bear weight on it. "How did you hurt your foot?" The nurse asked. " I ran a half marathon." She giggled and stared at me. The amusement melted from her face as she made eye contact with me, realizing I was completely serious. The discharge receptionist "tsk tsked" at me. "Says you broke your foot running a marathon." I look at her, tired of this exchange, "it was only a half marathon." Her acrylic fingers nails click clacked the keyboard and then she stopped. "Well. Half or full it is an inspiration. You don't see people your size running."
"Hmmmmmmmmmmmm." I looked at all the bright colored cereal boxes. I intended to buy something tasty to drown out the feelings of frustration. I glanced up and Mary Benjamin is picking out her box of Bran Flakes. "Hi Jasmine! How are you?"
"I'm fine. Thanks."
"You don't look fine. You have that boot on. What did you do."
"I injured myself running a half-marathon."
"Jasmine! You are SO active. You play roller derby too, don't you."
Mary is a kind hearted woman. She smiled and shook her head in disbelief. "You are so athletic."
I looked at her....
"Well! Take care of yourself. Don't get up too quickly with that boot."
I became a Zumba instructor. I can Jackie Chan my way over a step during step aerobics like nobody's business. I ran a half -marathon. My typical running pace is 10:00, I play roller derby. I used to practice yoga. I love hiking. I can swim. I loving riding my bike, and you wish you could do a backflip on a trampoline as gracefully as I can. I also weigh 275 lbs.
Maybe it is the frustration of having a broken foot and the knowledge that I'll have to take a couple of
days weeks off of physical activity that is making me so grumpy. Maybe I am just fatigued. I don't know. But tonight, I am tired of being told I am inspiration. I am tired of the novel shock and awe when people hear I do the physical activities. Four days before my half marathon, someone messaged me and let me know that they saw that I'd lost 4 inches from playing roller derby and that they wanted to talk to me about modifying my food intake and starting a weight loss journey.
Do skinny people get messages like that?
When skinny people come in to get their foot looked at because of a sports injury, do people think they are being silly when they answer? I don't want to be anyone's fucking inspiration. I hate having to convince people that I do the athletic things I do. Society has programmed itself to believe that large people just sit around and eat and are sedentary. We all get painted with the same broad brush. I don't want to be anyone's inspiration because I am doing something awesome for "someone my size".
I am doing something awesome for ANYONE'S size.
Maybe it is time for people to reframe a bit. YOU are the problem. Not my size.
I held on to the basket of the electric cart and pulled myself and the clunky boot out of the cart. I stood up and hobbled toward the peanut butter cereal. I irreverently threw it in my cart. I checked out and drove the slow cart to its designated spot. A very large woman waddled over to the cart area. Her crocs were warped from the massiveness of her weight and she clearly struggled to move her body along. She collapsed into the seat of the electric chair next to me. I looked her over, surveying if she was injured.
She wasn't, that I could see. The hair on her neck was wet from the walk from her car to the entrance of the store. I smiled at her and nodded. "Good luck with those things. It was like riding a slug through the store." She laughed, "Yeah. You get used to it. Did you get the looks from people? "
"I didn't notice." I replied. She continued, "Yeah, after awhile you don't see them anymore." My heart broke a bit. My ears turned red. I wanted to clarify to let her know I didn't belong in the electric cart club. After all I am an athlete.
I didn't clarify. She recognized me as a part of her world. The "obese people" world.
Truthfully. If I never say how physically active I am, so does everyone else. Because no one thinks passed my size. Her size. Their size. Anyone's size. People get judged based on their shape.
No one will ever look at me and think I am a marathoner. Though that is what I plan to be.
After I get this damn boot off I will start training for my first FULL marathon.
Truthfully? Fat people run everyday.
I'm nothing special and I don't want to be your inspiration.