An Open Letter To My Fat-Shamer

Hi.

You don’t know my name – but, my goodness… you sure do think that you have a grasp on my life!

You probably thought that you were being discreet at dinner when you were talking about me.

Unfortunately for you – and for me – the wine was a little deceiving. You’re not the most soft-spoken of ladies; that and the fact that we were sitting five feet apart. That might’ve been a clue, hunny.

And I quote you, “There are so many fat, disgusting people on this trip. I mean, look at that guy in the glasses right over there.”

(note, dear reader: my left side was turned to their table; we were not facing each other)

“Look at his profile. Wait, he doesn’t have one. There’s too much fat. It’s disgusting!”

Do you remember when you said that?

Maybe the wine will make you forget.

Maybe you are simply a horrible person and this is the norm for you.

If that’s the case, you live in a sad, sad world.

However, trust — I’ll remember.

I’ll remember when you questioned my worth — whether I was worthy of taking of the space that I do.

I’ll remember when you judged me from the onset — labeling yourself and other smaller counterparts as superior.

I’ll remember you ruining my Crème Brûlée — and girl, let me tell you… that’s hard to do.

I’ll remember those stinging, hate-filled, disgusting words.

I’ll remember those stares.

I’ll remember.

Do you remember that you kept slandering my very existence from there?

“How can he comfortably walk around?”

“Does he fit in bathrooms or public areas?”

“Where can he buy clothes that big?”

“Does he realize that his life is a ticking time bomb?”

Since I was raised better, I didn’t turn around and answer any of the questions you posed for your three table companions at the time.

However, let me do so now.

 I am, believe it or not, fully capable of walking. In fact, I do it more than most. There’s a preconceived notion that fat people don’t move, don’t exercise, don’t exert energy. If you truly knew me – or took the time to do so before making assumptions – you’d know that I am an avid golfer. You’d also know that I take 6-10 trips/year; in each city, state, country I do a lot of moving – trust.

Do I fit in public areas or private areas, such as restrooms? Well, of course, yes. Thank you for asking. If I feel that I cannot be accommodated in a public area, guess what? I purchase two tickets. An unfair disadvantage to me, sure – but, I do it so I don’t have to deal with people like you.

That’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

Where can I buy clothes? Girl, let’s go shopping! My closet needs to be purged every other week; believe you me, I experience no scarcity in the fashion department.

Do I realize that my life is a ticking time bomb? Well, isn’t that the case for all of us? However, before you judge, you should know that my medical history is private. I will say this though — looks can be deceiving and I’m doing just fine. How are you doing?

Now, nameless lady, I must say — you probably feel sorry for me (if you are capable of feeling, that is).

Well, I must confess — I, too, feel sorry for you.

I am sorry that your life is so lacking that you feel the need to impose rude comments on others.

I am sorry that you have likely not received an adequate amount of love in your life. The absence of love and care has most likely catalyzed the omission of those from your repertoire.

I am sorry that you feel that some individuals are more deserving of taking up space. Opposite from the cross that was dangling from your neck, I think you need to pick the book back up and reevaluate. If you’re ever in Louisville, join me at Eucharist – I’ll let you sit with me!

I am sorry that aesthetics mean everything to you. There is so much to life — so much you are missing. I feel for you, I really do. Life is beautiful, wild, crazy, exciting; the thought of living in such a close-minded shell really makes me tearful.

Most importantly, I’m sorry that we didn’t get the chance to meet.

Let me formally introduce myself, since you didn’t give me a chance to do so.

My name is JC Phelps.

I have suffered from eating disorders my entire life – three, to be exact.

Body acceptance has been a journey for me. I’m doing a lot better, though I still fail at times. I try to love myself more today than I did yesterday.

I’m really a nice guy — a little eccentric, a little country, but I promise I’ll always extend my most sincere southern hospitality.

I am fat.

You’re not telling me anything that I don’t know.

But, nameless lady, do you know what else I am?

I am an entrepreneur.

A Kentuckian.

A college grad.

A MBA grad.

A son.

A brother.

An uncle.

A friend.

A confidant.

A golfer.

A world traveler.

A dreamer.

A proud gay man.

Most importantly – I am, without apology and unabashedly, myself.

A wise drag queen once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

I hope, more than anything, that you can learn to love yourself, nameless lady.

However, I implore that you must first forgive yourself.

And by the way — I forgive you.

Bless your black, black heart.

My best,

JCP

The fat guy you were making fun of.

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9 Comments

  • Reply TONYA SMITH December 15, 2018 at 4:05 am

    👏👏👏👏 Good for you! And you are perfect to the people who matter. Something is terribly wrong with her if she has to talk about people and can’t enjoy the moment.

  • Reply MA Hauck December 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    JC you are my hero! Thank you, I needed to read this today.

  • Reply Donna Davis Aaron December 15, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    I’m very proud of you my friend not only for your MANY accomplishments, but having met you can honestly you are one of the sweetest and kindest people one could ever meet. I am proud of you not only for standing up for yourself,but also and mostly for a heart that is willing and able to forgive rude and harsh comments made by others,without that forgiving spirit. we would become like all of the rest of the bitter, hurtful ,hateful people around us. Xoxo DonnaDavisAaron

  • Reply Jesse Harp December 16, 2018 at 12:49 am

    JC, you inspire me! You’re so much stronger than I am. I would not have had as good of an attitude. The world needs more people like you! I feel bad for that woman & that she’ll never get to know what an awesome person you are. There’s so much cruelty in this world, I’m so glad to see you’re not letting that dull your shine. I hope you find a place that serves good creme brûlée to make up for the one you missed😢 it’s my favorite💕💕

  • Reply Lauryn December 17, 2018 at 4:42 am

    I LOVE the party at the end especially where you say do you know what else I am and then list off the things you are! GREAT RESPONSE!! And in a world so full of hate and prejudice, its so refreshing to see someone forgiving someone else…even more so because she never asked to be forgiven! 👏 👏 👏Good for you, sir!

  • Reply Jasmine S. December 17, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    This is beautifully perfect. While I completely understand the way you dealt with it, this woman is really lucky I wasn’t there with you. Keep being gorgeous in every way.

  • Reply Stephanie Higginbotham December 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    JC, you are perfect just the way you are. Your dad would be so proud of you!!!!

  • Reply Liz T December 20, 2018 at 1:54 am

    I’m sorry you had that experience. I hope the sting you’re feeling is soothed by all the love radiating around you. 💜

  • Reply Liz T December 20, 2018 at 1:57 am

    I’m sorry you had that experience. I hope the love radiating around you this holiday season helps soothe the sting. 💜

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