|Destroy Prejudice – do like the panda: he is black, he’s white, he is Asian, and he is fat.|
Was chatting with a person after Crossfit class who just met me and we got talking about starting Crossfit up again after having been away from it for a bit. The conversation kind of ended when she lamented about needing to use the bands earlier this week “like some fatty.” I know I can be pretty sensitive, but it felt like a mental slap.
I understand that she wasn’t trying to offend or hurt me. Instead, these words are as acceptable to most people in our society as saying its going to be a nice day today. Fat hating is one of the last socially acceptable prejudices in our society. I also understand that she might not have viewed me as fat and therefore felt comfortable discussing “fatties” with me. I understand all of those things, but as a fat girl (maybe not so much physically anymore, although I still have a long ways to go, but as a mental fat girl) – it still kinda makes me mad.
Here’s what I know:
- It takes guts. When I see someone new, particularly someone of size, at the box, I am amazed at their bravery. I know I couldn’t have walked into the box cold. The only way I made it in door the first time was because I had watched Coach for 8 months and had a good idea about the type of person he was and that I was welcome there. Going in cold? No way in hell. My family still teases me about my epic freak out just getting in the door the first few times and I wasn’t always successful at it. I carry with me the baggage of being picked last, being horrible at every sport and perpetually failing at physical tasks and daily klutziness, and even having the instructor of one class compare me to an elephant attempting to balance on a ball. Getting in the door takes guts and the box should be a safe place once there. Words like fatty should be left elsewhere.
- Its hard and it hurts. Its supposed to. I look around the box and everybody looks like they are suffering. It sucks, but its sucking for everyone. Its embarrassing to be last each WOD, scaling everything, leaving sweat angels all over the gym, being red as tomato and breathing so loud that I’m sure they can hear me miles away. But hanging out in the suck for so long has helped me get better and that’s what its all about – getting better. Coach once told me that no one cares where you are at, where you came from – only that you are willing to do the work. My embarrassment has been my own mental baggage. Nobody was anything but encouraging. Maybe that’s why I found the casual usage of word “fatty” so startling.
- Its worth it. The endorphin exercise high that people talk about is actually true. The rush of hitting a PR or the feeling of accomplishing something for the first time after months of trying is a powerful drug. Seeing people gap at you in a globo gym when you do a pull-up is kinda fun. But its more than that -when I began demanding more of myself, I also began demanding more from others in my life as well and that changed everything.
- We are all so much more than the bodies we come packaged in.
“What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.” – Albert Einstein