Today, a man called me a Fat Bitch. I hope I won’t offend my parents, my readers, or my co-workers in the use of strong language in such a public forum, but if I use symbols to signify the words I mean each time, we’ll all be distracted from what I really have to say. And I really need to say it. If curse words offend you, please stop here.

Here is what happened:

I’m taking my dog on a leisurely stroll down Logan Boulevard, a beautiful street in my neighborhood. I’m walking on the left side of the (wide) sidewalk because Bernie likes to stop every two seconds in the grass to pee. 

A man is walking towards me on the right side of the sidewalk – sunglasses, jean shorts, purple t-shirt and a gut. As we get close and he is clearly trying his best not to budge from the right, he shakes his head at me shamefully and with disgust in his expression. And then only after passing me, he says, “STAY. TO. THE. RIGHT.” With a heavy, weight-of-the-world sigh. 

I whip around and scream many expletives at him. To which he responds, “REALLY?!”. To which I respond (read: scream), “YES, REALLY. GET THE F&*% OVER YOURSELF!!!”

To which he responds “FAT BITCH.”

After shouting one more expletive at him, I turn around and keep walking with my dog; blood boiling, rage rising, thinking of all the things I wish I’d said. Sure, I wasn’t very graceful or ladylike when I screamed, nor did I prove my point that a dog’s gotta pee, yo. Is he really so put out by having to walk around me? And then…wait, (I start to digress), am I really that fat that he couldn’t get around me on the sidewalk?! Tears start to well up in my eyes. 


What about this:  Is he really such a coward that the only insult he can think of to hurl at a woman is a word that someone or something (the media? society? his mom? his dad?) taught him will cut her deeply? A word that is so personal to only her? Is he really such a sheep to imply with just one word – “FAT” – that she is less than perfect, that she is less desirable as a female, that she has weakness and it shows and that that fact alone is what eliminates her from being able to walk on his side of the sidewalk? 

He may not even believe that to be true, and I could’ve chosen not to engage with him in the first place, but my inner-dark-side-former-New-Yorker self bubbled to the surface to fight this hipster’s exasperation. And I made that choice.

BUT. The fact that this phrase carries so much social currency that it can top any F-you I can scream at him, and that for even one split second I believed him, makes me even more enraged than how inconvenienced he was by my choice of sidewalk side.

Well guess what. I used to be ‘FAT’, or rather, very overweight. And you might find me fat now. You might find me thin now. It’s all your frame of reference. I used to be 50 pounds overweight in and after college, coming in at about 180 pounds and well on my way to 200. I was a size 14. I used to look down at open subway seats and cram myself into them – thinking I was much less wide than I was and wondering why I got looks of discomfort.

At some point, I slowly made some changes that worked for me and since then I do the best I can to stay within a weight range that I am okay with. It’s not easy. I struggle every single day, and it is none of anyone’s business. It is personal. And it is one of the reasons why I blog. Because I think everyone deserves to feel beautiful in whatever way she chooses. No matter the size of her butt or her bank account.

We are each of us valuable. Each of us worthy of style, of beauty and most importantly, confidence. 

So here’s what I commit to: I’ll think twice before I judge you and your appearance. I’ll walk around you if you are in my way. I’ll give you kudos when I see you holding your head up high – not just because you are fabulous. But because you are human. And you deserve my respect for that one fact alone.

And I won’t stop screaming at the cowardly jerks of the world when my existence offends them. Because I am here. And I too am human. And you, good sir in the sunglasses, jean shorts, purple t-shirt and a gut, can bugger off.

With Confidence,

Belle (and Bernie)