The girl on the street.

While walking down Fawcett Street Friday, I saw her.  I’d say she was in her late teens/early twenties.  Way on the small end of fat, she looked cute.  Black jeans that fit her perfectly, the most adorable black & white striped (horizontal stripes!!!) top, and a bright red jacket.

But it wasn’t her clothing that drew my attention to her.  It was her smile – that trepidatious smile that I know so well.  I’ve worn that smile myself many a time.

You could see it on her face.  The fear, the nervousness.  You just knew that she would rather be anywhere than in such a public place.  Please, her smile said, please just leave me be.  I’m scared and you’re armed with the vicious words that cut like a knife.

Part of me wanted to run after her.  To say something nice to her, something that would transform that nervous smile into a genuine one.  Something that would show her that not everyone in the world is a fatphobic idiot.

But I didn’t.  I can’t really explain why; I have become less and less outgoing in the past 5 years, and I would guess that that’s the main reason why I kept silent.  But as I walked in the opposite direction from this girl, I couldn’t get her out of my head.

I know that smile.  As I said, I’ve seen that same smile on my own face more times than I could count.  To be honest, most of my life I’ve hidden behind that smile.  And it’s only been in the last year that I’ve come out from the shadows of that smile.  It’s only recently that my smile, as I walk down the street, is a genuine one.

And it hit me:

This is why I believe FA is so important.

Not just for me, but for every girl that walks down the street, hiding behind a nervous smile because she knows how cruel and twisted the world can really be.  For every normal-sized girl that cries in secret because she’s convinced that she’s fat, and fat is the worst thing she could possibly be.

For every healthy fat person who is constantly bombarded with the notion that they’re going to die for no other reason than that they happen to be fat.

For every unhealthy fat person whose ailments continue to go undiagnosed – or ignored/disbelieved – because their doctor has bought into the fatphobic fairy tale.

For every person that has become convinced to hate themselves because of the way they look – fat, thin, and everywhere in-between.

Their religion – or lack thereof – doesn’t matter.  What side of politics they support doesn’t matter.  None of that matters when a young, beautiful girl can’t walk down the street comfortably for fear of being verbally and emotionally abused.

That girl on the street was a living, breathing reminder of why I won’t give up on FA.  For myself, for her, and for every person out there.

I honestly believe it’s one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.  All of us.

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7 Responses

  1. NF. This is why I love you.

  2. This is a fantastic post, thank you for writing it. 🙂

  3. I wanted to have something really intelligent and awesome to say about this, but even after a day of mulling, all I can come up with is: thank you for writing this. It’s beautiful.

  4. Wow–you nailed the “trepidatious smile.” Great post.

  5. Been there, felt that, got the lousy, cheap cotton t-shirt. Thanks as always, for posting.

  6. maydarling ~ aw, thanks! 🙂 *blush*

    Jen, SugarLeigh, scg ~ thanks to YOU guys, too.

    fgotdf ~ honestly, I think most (if not all) of us have that crappy t-shirt.

  7. OMG… this blew me away. I totally get this.. not only because I have seen this smile… but because I live my life behind this smile… ND why I believe FA is so important!

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