When I was a kid, the biggest baddest threat made about me was, “Oooh! Don’t make her mad! She’ll sit on you!” Because you wouldn’t want some big ol’ fat girl sitting on you. She’d squish you. (Squash you? I want to say what we said – “squush” – but I don’t think that’s a real word. And if I don’t get it right, some big ol’ fat girl might sit on me.)
I always hated when people said that about me. Adults said it sometimes, too, although my ears weren’t supposed to be able to hear them. I admit I used it myself a few times, when my younger sisters and their friends got too annoying. “Stop doing that, or I’ll sit on you.” It worked.
I never felt right saying it. Sitting on people wasn’t how I wanted to make my mark in the world. I wanted to be sweet and pretty and to be held and cuddled. But no, I was too heavy. I couldn’t expect to be picked up. I couldn’t play on the swings or ride the Big Wheels. I couldn’t sit in the little-kid chairs or ride on the Hoppity-Hops. Forget about riding a pony at a birthday party. “No, you’re too big! You’ll break it!”
I learned to think twice or even three times before I approached anything. I made sure it was sturdy furniture, strong enough to support the immense weight of a chubby girl. I never stood too close to the other kids in line at school. What if I’d accidentally tripped and fallen into one of the delicate little girls, or even one of the boys, most of whom were smaller than me? I could have hurt them. I could have killed them.
Even grown up, I still do it. I’m scared to get close to people, especially now, with my toes half numb and my sense of balance gone all wonky. I’m careful not to stand too near anyone. I feel like I tower over everyone else. I’m unforgivably huge. I have no right to be around people, since I’m a disaster waiting to happen. I have to be careful. I have to keep my distance. I am one stopped-up ear away from toppling everyone in line. Really, the only safe thing for me to do is to sit in the corner – on a super stout chair – far from everyone else where I offer no threat.
Sometimes, though, when people make snarky remarks about my size, I still think it. “You’d better watch out. One of these days, I’ll show you how fat I am. I’ll sit on you, and then you’ll never be able to make fun of me again.”
It still doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t want people to be scared of me. I’m not particularly violent and I don’t like making threats under any circumstances. Honestly, I’ve learned my lesson. I won’t sit on you. I’ll stay far enough away not to accidentally bump you. Why single me out, anyway? You could trip over a skinny person and fall and break your neck.
You don’t have to be afraid.