The Invisible Woman

When you read my last post, did you think I was delusional when I said that being fat has made me invisible?

Invisibility is one of the things that hurts most about being overweight. I’m not trying to get all sad-sack on you, I’m just telling you what it is like.

Nobody likes to look at fat people. One bad habit I’ve developed is watching the thin people in a room when a fat person comes in. Thin people won’t look directly at the fat person. They will, however, allow themselves a quick sideways glance, and I kid you not, they almost always have a look either of total disgust or total fear in their eyes when they do. But their eyes, whatever is going on in their mind, do not linger.

For awhile, I assumed those thin people were thinking something about the fat person. Judging the fat person. Then, I realized they were too busy thinking about themselves to really notice the fat person. They were too busy thinking about what fat meant to them. It makes them notice their own insecurities about weight, not wonder about mine.

I really started paying attention, then, to see who was noticing me, and how.

And it’s a good thing I did! I’d be at the gym, trying not to take up space, trying to blend in, trying not to let anyone see I was fat. I’d wear black compression shorts and a darker-colored t-shirt with a v-neck. V-necks are slimming, you know.

Anyway, on more than one occasion, I’d be resting on a weight machine after a set, and a man would walk past, turn around, and start to sit down on the machine. On top of me.

They were so busy looking at hot, thin women (or hot, thin men) that they literally did not notice a fatso like me. I was not someone their eyes were trained to notice.

Again, I’m not going for sympathy here, I’m just painting a picture.

I have to work to get people to make eye contact with me. I’m not hostile about it, but I watch their eyes. At stores, in bars and restaurants, in waiting rooms, they are all looking at the best-looking [read: thin] people in the room.

I overhear things. I see people behaving badly. I think I could be an excellent private investigator. Who’d suspect me? They’d all be busy studiously avoiding me!

I have to say, it can be a relief to know nobody is watching me, nobody is looking at me. It takes the pressure off, and some days, makes it easier. But I’m not prepared to be invisible forever. I find comfort in my invisibility, sometimes, but when I’m being honest, sometimes it really hurts when nobody notices me. Often, in fact.

So, I go out of my way to look at heavier people and smile. Say something when walking past them. Nod hello. I think it is important for me to show that I can see them, that they’re not ghosts.

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