I’m fortunate that I don’t deal with much fat-shaming or ridicule in “real life.” I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m a generally bubbly person, or it’s the larger than life personality that resides in me, or the fact that if you don’t know me, you may assume that I’m tougher than I actually am… whatever it is, most people don’t make fun of me to my face.
I’ve been very lucky that way through most of my life. Sure I’ve dealt with bullies here and there, but for the most part I’m AWESOME and everyone loves me.
But this morning, as I was strolling through my local Publix supermarket for some breakfast, I was reminded what that felt like to be cast out:
A young, somewhat pudgy little boy was shopping with his mom when he spotted me in my Batman shirt.
“Mommy! It’s Batman,” cried the boy!
He was so excited to see me, a man he assumed to actually BE the Batman, that he could hardly contain himself.
I chuckled as I walked nearer to my biggest fan and his mother.
The moment I was close enough to him, the boy reached out his hand as if to shyly beg for a high five, and with a more timid voice said “hi Batman!”
My heart was filled with joy as I got ready to smack this kid’s palm with mine. But that joy quickly faded as the boy’s mother grabbed his hand and said “that’s not Batman. That can’t be Batman, because he’s fat. You know that Batman is skinny and muscular!”
I was a bit stunned, having forgotten what it was like to have someone think that I’m lesser on account of my size.
She continued, “remember what daddy and I keep telling you about exercising more and not having so many snacks? This is why! If you don’t start playing more and eating less snacks, you will end up fat, sad, and lonely like this man.”
I was shocked.
In this moment, I was completely unsure what to say.
“Do I go on a rant about how I’ve toured the country playing music, launched multiple successful businesses, was overflowing with people ALL OVER THE WORLD to either love me, want to hang out with me, or actually want to BE me,” I thought to myself?
I could verbally eviscerate her perhaps, or whip out my phone and show her that I’m married to the hottest broad on the planet who that literally can’t get enough of me to prove that I’m far from sad and lonely.
I could have stooped to her level. I could have lashed out. I could have made her look foolish, or my personal favorite: made her cry in front of her kid. Instead, I had pity.
I pitied the woman for her need to put others down to feel better about herself. I pitied the woman for being stuck in a life that made her miserable, WISHING that she had chosen another path. I pitied the boy for being raised in a household where shaming other people because of their differences is something that is actively TAUGHT, and I pitied the fact that he’ll constantly be trying to live up to ridiculously high standards that his parents have set for him.
I pitied her because with some hard work and DDPYoga, I’ll lose this weight… but their aint no cure for “douchenugget.”
Instead of reacting, I simply knelt down to the child’s level and I sad “your mother is right: you need to exercise as much as you can and eat good healthy snacks and food; this will help you grow big and strong. But always remember: if you want to be a superhero, you need to love everyone, regardless of how different they are from you; and no matter what size or shape you are, you have the power to help change the WHOLE world!”
I told him that I was proud of him and then handed his mother a TN40D business card and asked her to check out our website in hopes that she would see this post.
Ma’am, I don’t know if you’ll ever see this… but if you do: know that you’re loved, not just by me, but by countless others whom you’ve never even met.
Smile more often, will’ya?
Peace, snugs, and MEGA love,
-SLIM (aka the fat, sad, lonely man from Publix)