Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Have a Confession To Make

I bang on a bit about fitness, I know. I like my sport and I like to get sweaty and this week I decided that I would like to get myself a bike. But you know what? I absolutely could not bring myself to go to any bike shop and try them out. Because I'm fat. And after all my preaching about fat acceptance and loving myself and feeling unashamed of my size... I am a fraud.

I pictured the (in my mind they are always male) shop assistant telling me that they don't do bikes strong enough for my massive frame. I envisaged sitting on a bike only for it to crumple underneath me as though made of tinfoil. I became overwhelmed by the image of me thrashing about on my back like an upturned turtle, unable to get myself to my feet after crushing the bike. Why am I feeling like this? What has happened to me? How can I be so frightened and humiliated by something that hasn't even happened? I am so mad at my overactive, body fascist influenced imagination that all I can do is comfort eat and scowl at myself in the mirror.

I once had a nasty experience in a sports shop when I went to buy a swimming costume as a gift for one of my slender friends. I asked a (male) shop assistant if they had any swim suits and where they were. He looked at me and said, "we have them but they won't fit YOU." This was before my feminism had kicked in, so I withered inside but smiled at him and said, "Oh, I have one for me, this is for someone else", and bought the costume. I felt so crushed.

Perhaps that's where all this new stuff is coming from? Whatever. I intend to go and try out a bike this week if only to rid myself of these stupid, offensive, hurtful thoughts.


spotted elephant said...

It's a constant battle-you move forward, then some deep-buried hate smacks you right across the face. I went through all these issues when I got my bike (my experience was fine, though.)

That sales jerk should have been fired, or you should have at least had the pleasure of watching him choke on his entitlement. Hmm, maybe fantasizing about that as you gather your strength to get the bike? Good luck and I hope you get a great bike.

asdgasdfaserwe said...

Would it help if I also came out as a fraud (although I think of it more as a relapse)? I've been obsessively posing in front of the mirror in my swimming costume before going to the beach and made myself feel crap.

Yawning Lion said...

I think you look stunning in your swimsuit, Pippa! With those hairy legs peeking out, you look mighty fine, my friend! Okay, well, I don't really KNOW that, but I know that in a way that doesn't need pictures!

When you get your bike, maybe you can teach me how to ride - I never learned. :(

Seriously, good luck! Picture us all as your fat-girl-posse tromping into the bike shop with you!


therealUK said...

Several comments:

1)That swimsuit bloke needs a good smack in the gob.

2)after all my preaching about fat acceptance and loving myself and feeling unashamed of my size... I am a fraud.....Why am I feeling like this?

You're not a fraud. We (women) are brought up in a world that gives us dreadfully twisted messages about our bodies. Messages that are deeply tied in to feelings of worth and shame and our very sense of being. This does not go away overnight. Even if we take on board the theory on a cognitive level, that is the easy bit really. It then takes time and practice (and support) to reinforce the new theory. This is normal. No need to be mad at yourself.

3) I don't know how "into" bikes you are, but it might help your confidence in the shop if you swot-up a bit beforehand so you can go in and can ask about gears, saddles, handlebar adjustment and so on. Another possible strategy that might help is to have a plan if some tosser does make stupid comments. You could ask to speak to a manager, tell them their staff have a poor attitude, your money should be as good as anyone elses, and you are now taking it elsewhere (or whatever phrases work best for you). Hopefully though it will be fine and you'll get a nice bike anyway.

Pippa said...

Woo hoo! Thanks for all the support! Yes, i will swot up, sounds like a great idea. I will update you all when I get my great new bike! Pippa