I am fully aware of my bulk and the space it covers. I am aware bus drivers and conductors groan whenever they see me approach their vehicles. I even notice the passengers complain about not having enough space when they sit in the same row with me.
I am well aware that my weight makes people uncomfortable, but I ask myself this constantly: if I’m trying my best to make myself inconvenient so you can be comfortable, why can’t you shut the f**k up?
I was in an elevator once and someone kept saying, “It’s your size that keeps making the door open. You know elevators have a weight limit.”
I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “You and your big head could have waited for the next one then.”
I have grown tired apologizing for my weight. I’m bored of it. Yes, you say it is something I can work on, but hey! You can work on your stupidity and I don’t see you doing that. I’m not asking for sympathy, and to be quite honest, pity isn’t what any fat person wants. Personally, I want to be left out of conversations that revolve around “…stop eating this” or “…exercise is good for you…”
Africans have no filter when it comes to weight. Every single person wants to be your nutritionist or dietician when you are fat. People suddenly have clues as to what exercises you are doing wrong and the right ones for you. If you have a headache, it’s because you are eating too much. If you are ill, it’s because you are fat and your body is warning you.
Maybe, just maybe, I have malaria because I have not had electricity for two days. I have had to leave a window or two open and the mosquitoes in Lagos took advantage of my flesh …ergo malaria. But no, people won’t reason like that. I probably have malaria because I was out indulging in my gluttony- frying potatoes or munching burgers and didn’t notice the mosquitoes savagely attacking my body.
I remember reading people’s experiences with airlines and how helpless they were, and I never really imagined I’ld ever have such an experience until I got on a flight, asked for a seatbelt extension and everyone kept turning back to look at me as the attendant repeated what I said quite loudly.
There have been times I have tried to enter tricycles and the driver would say something rude like: “I don’t carry fat people in front”. I have even been asked if I can fit into a tricycle and if other people can enter after I sit in one. Actually, bus conductors have told me I can’t sit in some spots because no one can fit in after I do.
I am not trying to get pity or trying to shame people for their behavior, because believe it or not I do not know how I’d behave if the shoe was on the other foot. I’ve seen formerly big people drag fat people and say they are just being lazy, forgetting that they were “lazy” at a point in their life too.
I’m just asking that people be aware that words mean things and you never know what space someone is in when you are calling them a name or two.
* #livingthatcurvylife is a Glam Africa Column that addresses the struggles and joys of being a plus-size African.