I don’t mean to be in the way. I really don’t.
When you take your seat on the subway, or in an airplane, I don’t want to crowd you. I don’t want to press my body against yours, to force contact, to ooze into your space.
I don’t want to feel the hot insistent pressure of your thigh against mine, or the jostle of your shoulder as you fumble with your newspaper, your iPod, your purse. I don’t want to feel your elbow dig into my belly as you jockey for space.
I don’t want to be in your way. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. I don’t want to TAKE UP SPACE.
Do you know how terrified fat people are of taking up space? Of moving, slow and huge, like glaciers, through a crowd of nimble forest animals? Of bumping someone with our “monstrous” asses? Of being wedged, uncomfortably, into too-small movie theatre seats and after that, having to clamp our thighs together and cross our arms over our chests for two hours to avoid encroaching upon our neighbor’s space?
I guess I can’t really can’t speak for all fat people. But I can speak for me. I am terrified of taking up space.
That’s why I don’t sit on the subway when there’s one seat (three quarters of a seat!) wedged between two normal or even small-sized people. That’s why I stop and let you pass, the two of you chatting arm in arm, hogging the sidewalk at twice my width and then glancing pityingly sideways when you see I’ve waited for you to go by. That’s why I request a window seat on the airplane… so that I can lean away from you, so that I won’t offend you with my bulk (or be noticed by a cranky flight attendant who’s just dying to power-trip and happens to hate fat people.)
And I’m sorry. I am sorry that I take up extra space.
But. Read more…