Life + Faith

When People Say Mean Things

Source: etsy.com via Jan on Pinterest

 

 

** I’ve been sitting on this post for far too long, hoping to somehow perfect is… but I need to learn that sometimes things will never be perfect, so take from this post what you will, and I hope everyone understands what I’m trying to say.**
 

There was an incident at Zumba a few weeks ago that made me feel exactly like I did the first time a stranger made a snide comment in public about my size, almost a decade ago. To be fair, I’m not completely sure the girl at Zumba was talking about me specifically, or if she was just making a generalized comment to her friend when I happened to walk by, but either way, I went into self-preservation mode.

I’ll finish that story in a minute, but first the bus.

I was on my way home from a college class at 5pm – rush hour. The bus was starting to get crowded as usual and I was making my way to the back of the bus to stand, since I knew it would be packed within a few stops. I did a quick seat check to see if there happened to be any seats open but all there was was a partial seat in the very back, a lady on one side, a man on the other. I  knew I wouldn’t fit there (a child could barely fit there) so I just kept moving to stand at the farthest vertical pole to hang on for support (I refused to reach for the upper  bar, lest my shirt lift too high and show my belly) but as my eyes swept over the seat again I heard someone yell “you won’t fit here!”.

I stopped in my tracks and looked around with everyone else to see who was yelling. Then I felt all eyes on me. I looked up again and met eyes with the woman sitting to the left of the tiny seat. I remember making a “say what?!” face then continued to move closer to stand at the pole, hoping to turn my back to her as soon as possible and forget she existed. “Don’t even think about it. You’re too big.”

Now I was turning red from embarrassment and managed to say “I wasn’t planning on it. I’m just gonna stand here.”

“Good. Because you’re too fat to fit in this seat.”

What the …

At this point I had several choices:

  • Choose to ignore her as originally planned and hope everyone just minded their own business
  • Flee from the embarrassment by getting off at the next stop and waiting for the next bus
  • Say something rude back hoping to shut her up
  • Sit my big-booty in the tiny seat to prove a point because she pissed me off

I am easily embarrassed, quiet, shy, and hate confrontation — what do you think I did??

Well apparently in a fight or flight situation, I smile sweetly at the nice man to the right of the tiny seat and as soon has he smiles back and makes enough room as possible, I sit my big-booty in the tiny seat to prove a point because she pissed me off.

The last I heard from her was an exasperated sigh as she made more room, then ignored me the entire rest of the bus ride.

Perhaps it wasn’t the most mature decision, but it sure made me feel better.

Fast forward to Zumba.

As I was entering the hallway from the stairs, two girls were walking towards me to go to the bathroom. One girl was telling the other how small the stalls were, at which point she glanced at me then said, “I don’t know how anyone bigger than me can even fit in them.” They giggled, then ran into the bathroom.

Oh snap.

I was going to just wallow in my personal embarrassment when I noticed as class was starting, that those same two girls were standing right behind me – I flashed back to the bus – and suddenly all I could think was ‘bring it, bitches’ (sorry, Mom!).

I twisted, shook, shimmied, jumped, dipped, dropped and brought it harder than I ever had before. I gave 100 percent and when all was said and done, I realized that all I really accomplished was proving to myself that I hadn’t been giving 100 percent before this class. I thought I’d been giving it my all, but there were apparently still wells of strength and stamina inside me that I wasn’t using.

Perhaps it’s because I’m older and supposedly wiser and more mature now, but I’m glad I experienced what I did. Don’t get me wrong, part of me still hopes those girls were totally impressed with my dance skills, but in the end it doesn’t matter if they noticed or not. What matters is that I took something I perceived as a slap in the face, and used it to make myself better.

There will always be people we encounter in our lives who say mean, insensitive and cruel things. Words can and do hurt and it’s not okay to continue to let those people stay in our lives. Do stand up for yourself–but I also think we’ve all said something stupid and insensitive in passing at one point or another. It’s up to each of us to decide if it’s actually worth our time to ‘fight back’ or if it’s really just a matter of choosing to shake it off and move on.

I choose to move on.

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10 Comments

  • Reply Dawn April 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Ouch! I’m sorry you had to go through those things. People can be so freaking mean. I have learned to ignore people. Remember…you are at the gym and are making the choice to live a better and healthier life…screw everybody else!

    I had some rude comments that came from a personal trainer at my new gym…I was made but decided to brush it off. I know where my focus is and its not on them. Keep your head up!

  • Reply Jen April 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    What horrible people. I’m so sorry that happened but you seem to have gotten the best of them.

  • Reply Paulette April 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Ugh, it is so crappy that people have to act like that. Way to put the anger to good use and to give 100% in class!

  • Reply Lisa April 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Holy shit!! I am floored at the open discrimination and hate you experienced. The nerve of that woman on the bus! In front of everyone! Oh I would have ripped her a new one. I’m sorry you experienced this.

    • Reply Tiffany April 21, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Yeah, I kinda wish I would have said something, but I’m just glad I didn’t get off the bus. I think I would definitely say something if it happened to me now (knock on wood!). She also seemed liked one of those people who is just angry at life in general, and she thought I was an easy target — she thought wrong.

      • Reply Lisa April 23, 2012 at 8:50 am

        I usually regret not saying something. Stuff like that happened to me all the time back in the day and I rarely spoke up, and then kicked myself later. To this day there are still a few things that happened that I’m still angry that I didn’t stand up for myself. Glad you didn’t get off the bus.

  • Reply Don’t Get Discouraged » 110 Pounds and Counting May 15, 2012 at 8:10 am

    […] Don’t ever let someone diminish your efforts. There are haters out there everywhere that are just waiting to tear you down. It could be a so-called friend, a jealous coworker, a family member; it could be an internet bully, or a complete stranger. (The event made me think of a post a blogger wrote, When People Say Mean Things.) […]

  • Reply The End of Fat-Shaming Myself August 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    […] The lady on the crowded bus who loudly proclaimed I was too fat to sit next to her. […]

  • Reply Julie Granger November 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for your words. I needed them today. People can be so cruel to one another. I just need to learn to let go and forgive them. Standing up for myself is another good spot I need to work on also. Thank you once again.

  • Reply shaleice May 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    People are so mean, especially girls and sadly, grown women. I have a severe health condition the I developed in the last few months. I also attend hair school, and I have to be on my feet and walk around even when I’m having severe symptoms. One of my symptoms is dizziness, so sometimes I walk like I’m drunk and run into things, so I usually hold the wall to steady myself.
    Today was one of those days, but I went to school anyway. As I was walking past a group of young women (18-22 in age), and they all immediately stopped talking to watch me. I didn’t mind that, but then one girl leaned over to her friend and said just loud enough for me to hear, “Geez, learn to walk.” Then they all laughed.
    I pretended I didn’t hear her, and kept going, but I was in shock. I had heard a rumor that some girls were making fun of the way I walk, but this girl had said it in front of me (but not to me), loud enough for me to hear. I was shocked she would do that just to hurt my feelings. I didn’t even know her, and she probably didn’t know my name either. Nothing like that had happened to me since I was in 7th grade.
    My husband told me to ignore them, but its hard. It did hurt. Its something I’m embarrassed about already and is out of my control, but I’m trying to get on with life and get to school. I feel like these kind of people feel like if your not 100% perfect and ordinary everyday, you shouldn’t be out in public or in their presence.
    I can’t imagine being discriminated and ridiculed regularly, like it sounds you have been, and I am so sorry you have to go through that! Some people literally have nothing better to do except gossip and be mean, especially to people who are different, no matter how big or little the difference may be.
    But you are awesome! Keep your chin up! It will be okay. :)

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