I have a question for you.
I you saw someone trying to make some positive life choices, even though they’re hard to do and they’ve had to overcome some pretty big personal issues to do them, what would you do?
a) Encourage them.
b) Leave them alone – after all, they’re not hurting anyone.
c) Cat call them / shout at them in the street / mutter nasty comments at them as they go by?
If the answer is ‘c’ – congratulations! You’re one of the wankers who likes to pass judgement on me when I go on my morning run. Pat yourself on the back, because you really are quite special.
A bit of background. I’m a big girl. I know I’m a big girl. I’m not huge – a UK size 16-18 – but I don’t kid myself; that’s still bigger than I should be. Lots and lots of people – mostly strangers – like to remind me of this. This is why I don’t do selfies. Hell, I don’t do photos at all if I can help it. I’d much rather have a cartoon representing me than, you know, actually me.
This year, though, I decided I wasn’t going to let the fear of Other People’s Opinions stop me from doing something I wanted to do. I’m also going to be a bridesmaid at the end of May, and that means I won’t be able to avoid the dreaded camera, so I thought ‘to hell with this – I need to do something drastic’.
So I started running.
Literally. One day, I put on my trainers, got an old pair of decorating trousers out of my wardrobe, found an old band shirt, bought a sports bra and ran round the park. Well, not so much ran as ‘ran a few steps, struggled to breath, walked a bit, tried to run a bit more, thought God, whose stupid idea was this?, waked a bit, ran a bit more and then went home’. It wasn’t a huge success, but hell, I’d tried and survived, so I decided to do it again. And again. And again.
After about 5 sessions, I could get round the park without walking, which was a huge boost. Then over the next 2 weeks, I got up to 3 times round the park. After that, I decided to go off piste, and have started running around my estate, going where my feet take me. I can now run, without walking, for about 15-20 minutes. When I started at the end of February, I couldn’t make two minutes.
Now this is all very nice and encouraging – my anxiety is better, I feel more energised, I feel more inspired to write when I come home – but it comes with a downside. Yep, that’s right – other people.
Other runners tend to be fine. If I come across them (they are invariably svelte, lycra-clad paragons of fitness), they often give me a little smile, or a thumbs-up. I appreciate this. I may be six times their size, plodding a long at a pace they could probably walk at, but I like to think that they’ve recognised that everyone has to start somewhere and at least I’m trying. Most other people, to be honest, just ignore me. That’s fine, too. I like that. When I’m doing something that makes my flabby bits wobble and breathe like an angry dragon, I am more than happy for people to ignore me. But some people… some people feel the need to say something. It might be muttered as I jog past – or in the case of the lad riding his moped this morning (oh, the irony!) – yelled as loudly as possible. A few examples: ‘Look at the state of it’. ‘Jeeeeesus…’. ‘God sake’. And my favourite from this morning (and what inspired this blog): ‘WELL. RUN THEN, FAT BITCH!’
Well, run then, fat bitch.
Said by someone riding a moped.
I don’t know why people feel the need to do this. Think it, sure, but yell it? Why? What does it gain you? A feeling of superiority? I know fat-shaming is the new black, but I also thought the ‘eat less, move more FATTY!’ brigade would be all for seeing an overweight person trying their best to actually do something about it. But no… they’d rather yell spiteful things at someone minding their own business, hurting no-one at all.
I know I might be setting myself up for a shit load of backlash for this (fat girl trying to better herself – quick! Join the queue!), but I’m fed up of it. I’m not going to stop running. I’ve actually discovered that I like it. I now go 4-5 times a week, out of choice. So, wankers, you can shout yourself hoarse for all I care. I’ve got my swearing fingers out, ready to give you a big ‘fuck you’.
Saying that, if you ever are in Pompey and you see a short, round, ginger woman in bright blue trainers wearing a NIN band shirt looking incredibly pink pounding the streets with a big grin on her face, feel free to wave. 🙂
Keep those fingers up. In fact, paint those two fingernails neon pink so they can’t be missed! I’d also practice the mantra of ‘go fuck yourself, pencil dick.’ Let’s face it, they probably are if they’re on a moped.
You are doing something positive by getting out there and getting fit. Ignore the negative wankers, they have the problem, not you.
Ps. I usually have my headphones in – music is great to pound to 😀
I need to figure out how to do the music thing on my new phone – I have a whole load of truly obnoxious running music lined up. Funny thing is, his comment didn’t really bother me – I actually laughed at the irony of him being sitting on a moped whilst he was insulting me! But then I thought about it again, and got a bit angry. Not at him, but at the fact that everywhere you go, people feel it’s perfectly fine to say whatever they like to complete strangers, no matter how vile. He has no idea who I am, what I’ve been through, why I was running. All he saw was an opportunity to score points (against what or whom, though, I don’t know…)
You know what? Your experience is almost identical to mine, up to a very important point. Feeling I was too big and wanted to do something about it? Check. Struggling to get more than a few paces at first (this was heartbraking as not so long ago I could cycle a ten mile time trial in 25 minutes). Check. Keeping going and getting a bit better. Check. Feeling really self conscious. Check. However, so far, no-one has shouted insults at me. I wonder why that might be? Could it be that those pathetic negative wankers are sexist pathetic negative wankers too? I’d say they were beneath your contempt, but they just about sneak into my contempt, so have at it. Don’t allow them think they’ve got up your nose though, I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.
Sad thing is, most of the muttered comments come from women. The last one I had came from a young, skinny thing puffing on a cigarette for all she was worth. Well, love – you might be skinny (now), but that ciggie ain’t doing you any favours…
You are a dynamic, motivated and accomplished (in MANY fields) woman. They are amoeba. Pity their pathetic and negative lives.
I shall, and I shall continue along my path to John Wick-ian style awesomeness (but with running, not slaughtering the Russian Mafia).
*big hugs* xxxxxx
best film this year, no doubt. We need to form a fan club….
I never remember who said it but when asked how he found the First World War, he said, ‘My dear, the noise…the people!’ Then there’s the quote that I think was either E M Forster or T S Eliot or someone of that ilk who described hell as other people. And they’re getting worse. Go, girl!
Keep it up, Miss, and screw the naysayers. You are way ahead of many people who do nothing. My wife is a 16-18 and always trying too.
Good for you, the important thing is that you are making an effort to turn your life around, fûck those naysayers.
I was medically discharged from the army 11 years ago and have only been able to start jogging (I certainly wouldn’t call what I do running!) in the past 18 months. I can now cover around 11km in an hour without feeling like I’m going to die – all while still being around 20 stone. I agree with what one of the other responders said, music makes a hell of a difference.