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.
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 college grad.
A MBA grad.
A world traveler.
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.
The fat guy you were making fun of.