There was a girl waiting on the train platform this afternoon, approaching the same size I was at my largest. She looked nervous as the train pulled in, shuffling from foot to foot. I wondered what was wrong. Sometimes I look nervous when a train pull in too, because I’m always trying to judge where exactly the carriage doors will be when it stops. I have good Door Karma lately; the doors have landed right in front of my nose so I can get right on board and have a good chance of actually finding a seat. It’s a beautiful thing!
I had good Door Karma again today, and was about to get on when I saw the girl again looking even more flustered. This may sound stupid, but I suddenly recognised that agitated expression. It all came flooding back to me. I stepped back and let her get on first.
She didn’t venture into the carriage proper, where most of the seats are; but instead hung round in the end bit. I dunno how to describe it, but there’s an open sort of area with a bike rack and a toilet and just one seat that folds down from the wall. She swooped on that solo seat quick smart. It’s hot and noisy as hell there, but everyone packed into the main bit of the carriage and fought over the seats, leaving her in the end by herself.
Please don’t think I am being patronising or pitying, it was just a moment of recognition and empathy. I’d almost let myself forget how when you’re very overweight, every day is a series of logistical operations. How to maneuver my bulk through various challenges. Getting down a narrow aisle of a shop without knocking over merchandise. Getting to work early enough to get a park close to the building, and early enough to get the lift instead of walking one flight of stairs without anyone seeing me. Making plans with friends then fretting as to whether I should put anti-chafing powder on my thighs in case they want to walk anywhere. Finding a solo seat on a train so I don’t have to squeeze past anyone. I had to plan ahead and think quickly.
The Dietgirl Logistics Department has been retired for quite sometime; I don’t have to worry about non-retracting seat belts or breaking chairs in restaurants anymore. But today I remembered how exhausting it is, physically and mentally, just getting around. All the dread and fatigue and panic came rushing back, and I moronically kept patting the empty space on my seat, making sure I really did fit on it.
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Thanks everyone for your most excellent comfy shoe suggestions in the last entry! There may be hope for this gigantic clumsy-hoofed beast after all.
While I’m on it, apologies for the lack of speed in my email and comment replies lately. It’s summer in Scotland and we have been trying to pack lots of Stuff into our spare time, so I’ve not been online as much. There’s such a teeny tiny Window of Opportunity for doing stuff before the dreaded cold and dark comes back again so you really have to go for it!
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I met with the journalist last week and she was so much fun to talk to. Normally I am terrified of journalists, which is a hangover from the days of my journalism degree when I was scared of journalists, journalism teachers, anything to do with journalism at all, really. Newspapers, editors, spiral notebooks, pencils; you name it. But this girl was lovely and I came away from the wee chat feeling very happy and thankful about this whole blogging palaver. Woohoo!