I am so blessed to live where I do and to know and have the people in my life that I do. I am so grateful and honored to know and am getting to know these incredible geniuses and beyond. The fat community in the San Francisco bay area is amazing! I state this as a sort of pre-face to the post that will follow. I am not bragging at all and while there is a little part of me that wants to be all “neener-neener” I simply won’t go there. This is a celebration space! Woot!
Sunday morning, Oakland, California. I had the pleasure of meeting up with two fabulous women who are in the official Fatty Affair 2013 planning committee, we were going to discuss the possible performers and speakers for the upcoming event. The place we were to meet up was tiny and crowded as fuck. I was wearing the most rule-breaking outfit imaginable as a fatty. Horizontal stripes? Yep. Bright, bold, wide stripes? Uh huh. Short, clingy, jersey knit dress? You betcha! And of course I paired my beloved black winter length teggings and Dia de los Muertos Doc Martens with the aforementioned dress. I wore this dress to No Lose, the first day. 😉
As I walked up to the building there were about six groups of people waiting outside the small cafe. Some turned their heads to look/gaze/gawk at me immediately, others perhaps not noticing my blatant fattery looked only after noticing others. I smiled, awkwardly as I hesitantly ventured inside to put our names on the waiting list…but really to use the damn restroom after my hour long drive from home. “So, half hour? Forty minutes?” I say to the guy with the list. “Nice one! Ha-ha! No, try an hour and some change.” he says. I sigh, hang my head for a millisecond and then head for the bathroom.
When I get back outside the other ladies arrive and I explain about the wait and we decide we’d go somewhere else. I’m nearly used to the looks people give. The looks of shock and horror, the looks of disgust and “concern” (Psshht!), but sometimes I notice more. This was Oakland for fuck’s sake, I am a bad ass and am with people who are more bad ass than me…I was ready for whatever the day held for me, even excited.
We reached our second choice spot and were seated right away. We jumped right into Fatty Affair talk and I wish I could tell you things! Oh the things!!! Anyway, we got our food and everything and continued talking and laughing and being our usual fabulous selves. It wasn’t until we were leaving when I couldn’t help but notice a fat woman waiting for a table staring at the three of us. I mean, her eyes literally bugged out of her head! I was taken aback by this for some reason. When we got outside I asked the other gals if they’d noticed, they did not and they seemed surprised that I did or that I assumed it was about us.
But I realized something, this fat woman may have never been in the presence of fat, fierce, proud and fashionable women before. It may have been an actual shock to her. I couldn’t tell if she was happy or sad or mad or anything, I just remember her eyes bugging out at the sight of us. I suppose in another time of my life I might have had a similar reaction (because I seriously cannot control my facial expressions, it’s embarrassing). And while the ladies I was with didn’t give this a second thought, I couldn’t help but hang onto the image of that woman’s face.
I wish I’d taken a picture of the three of us that morning. It was actually a beautiful day in Oakland, the sun was shining and the air was crisp. I am beginning to fall in love with Oakland and all of it’s eccentricities. And in hindsight it’s funny to me in an odd way that this woman had such an effect on me when she probably didn’t even realize I caught her stare. She may have even forgotten about that moment entirely. I can’t know. What I do know is that I didn’t try to squeeze into an uncomfortable space, try to take up less space, eat less or more than I wanted or feel at all body conscious in a negative way. Not once.
So the people who feel the need to stare? Go right ahead. I understand. It’s the first time you’ve encountered so much fierceness at once. Fierce Fabulous Fatties who are unapologetic, proud and unashamed of our bodies going about our lives as though the haters don’t exist. Radical stuff…Thank the stars! <3