Me, My Ass, and I
I’m really fucking obsessed with my butt.
It’s not some spectacular piece of ass. It’s big because I am. It fills a pair of jeans well. Sometimes it errs on the flat side, but it responds very well to heavy lifting. But it’s fantastic cause it’s mine.
One thing it does do is take up a lot of space. There is a very specific wave of anxiety when someone with a fat ass sees certain spaces: old school theater chairs with the wooden arms, middle seats in airplanes, wicker furniture of any sort, small school desks, that space between chairs at a restaurant when you’re following the hostess to your table.
Recently, I spent five hours on a plane ride home for the holidays. I paid for priority boarding because I’m hella obnoxious, so I grabbed a window seat in the front of the plane. The aisle seat was already taken. As I watched people walked in, donning that look on their faces of mild panic of choosing your own seats on Southwest, I could feel them sizing up who they wanted to sit next to. But for me, it felt like literal sizing.
I became SO aware of the space I was filling. I felt like the Stay Puft man trying to hide in the back seat of a VW Bug. In my mind, everyone was looking at my ass spilling near the seat edge. They were holding back vomit in their mouths at the thought of potentially having my oversized coat kiss the edge of their shoulders the whole flight. THE HORROR. WHAT IF MY STOMACH DECIDED TO EAT THEM MID FLIGHT. OR EVEN WORSE, WHAT IF THE FATNESS WAS CONTAGIOUS. They looked me up and down, from hipster glasses to knee socks, then moved on to find a different seat.
So I began to fold. Mentally, physically. Legs were tucked underneath me causing spasms. Arms crossed so right over my chest both hands fell asleep. I hoped if I thought small, I would be small. It’s like when you’re a kid and you think if the monsters can’t see you, you can’t see them.
But the problem is, it works.
No, I didn’t lose 100 pounds by thinking small. Please, if I could do that, I’d sell that shit to the daytime TV crowd on QVC.
But I felt small. Insignificant. Worthless. Pointless. Who I am wasn’t working, so it was better to tell myself to just not be. If I don’t exist, nobody can see me because I can’t see them.
I can’t see myself.
But I am me. I take up space. Maybe I take up extra space, but it’s still mine to take.
If I spend my whole life walking around trying to be small, I’m still not. Even if I spend an entire flight using all mental power willing myself to be small, to apologize for who I am, or to take up less space, nothing will change. I’m still me.
So I might as well take up the space. People are gonna stare either way. I’m a spectacle at times. Might as well just own that shit. Then at least I can spend the flight focusing on something more exciting, like beating my high score in Bejeweled.
Eventually a young girl the size of my thigh traveling alone sat in the middle seat, put on her Minnie Mouse headphones, and watched Law & Order until she fell asleep on my shoulder.
I didn’t eat her. She didn’t walk off the plane weighing three times her original size.
She was just fine.
I realize that not everyone getting on to the plane is thinking I’m a fat cow and refusing to sit next to my obesity. I am fully aware that it’s my anxiety digging its sharp claws into my mind, gleefully scratching away. But I’ve been taught to think this. I’ve heard the jokes, read the articles, seen the movie scenes. They’ve burrowed into my brain and become a subconscious part of how I live. It’s fucked up.
I still have a lot of therapy to go before I can fix it all, and I can’t fix other people, sadly. But until then, I’m gonna own my space. It’s mine.
Bitch, my giant ass and I have earned it.
But I’m totally gonna keep buying priority boarding. So worth it.