When it comes to clothes I see a lot of concern in the forums about what the best options are, which shirt has the best moisture wicking, which wetsuit allows the most freedom of movement, which padded bike shorts have seams that cause the least chaffing.
My concern is usually more along the lines of does even a single option for this type of clothing exist in my size? (often the answer is no) And then, how I can get it custom made, or make due with the one option that exists but isn’t really right for me.
From my forum reading alone I could write a novel about bikes and bike accessories – which are fastest, lightest, most comfortable etc.
Unfortunately my novel wouldn’t really help me much since my concern is about whether or not I can find equipment rated to hold my weight at my height (5’4 with super short legs and a “super long torso” according to the seamstress who used to make my dance costumes) Not an easy fit as it turns out.
Quality of sidewalks, elevation changes, and shade all factor very highly in discussions about where and when to train.
I have to ask myself different questions. I can almost never complete an outdoor run without having someone yell some anti-fat slur at me so I don’t even try to prevent that. The questions I ask myself are more along the lines of how likely people on this route are to throw things at me, or lay hands on me and try to pray the fat away.
Everyone worries about injuries, but I have to worry that if I get injured a doctor will refuse to treat the injury, or refuse to treat it aggressively, because, as a fat woman, I’m seen as less worthy or deserving of care.
I’m likely to be diagnosed as fat and prescribed weight loss when I have injuries that thin people get all the time, and for which they are prescribed very specific interventions shown to help with the actual injuries (it’s happened to me previously for a toe I broke when my dog tripped me going up the stairs, a shoulder that was separated in a ballroom dance incident, and strep throat. Seriously, I was prescribed weight loss for strep throat.)
I know that if I get injured it may very well mean a conversation with the doctor with me saying something like “Do thin people get this injury?” “What do you prescribe to them?” “Can we try those interventions before we amputate my stomach to try to treat shin splints?”
On the forums people joke about not wanting to announce their race schedules so that their friends don’t razz them if they don’t do the race. I have to worry that people from fat hating internet groups with too much time on their hands, terrified of being proven wrong by me – again, will start a petition trying to get the race directors to refuse to let me compete. Or worse…
People have lots of fears about the race, but as far as I’ve seen, I’m the only one who has to worry if the two people who threatened to show up at my IM and drown me during the swim will actually try to follow through.
So as a fat person I’m constantly told (by people whose business it is most definitely not) that I should exercise. But apparently I’m meant to do it in my house, with the blinds drawn, in a toga fashioned out of a bedsheet, and only in ways of which people who stereotype and stigmatize me approve, or they will feel justified in engaging in behavior from hate mail, to street harassment, to murder.
I say fuck that. And fuck every single person who perpetuates it. I’m grateful for the triathlon forums and the discussions there that are relevant to me, and I’m super extra grateful for the Fit Fatties Forum and Facebook page for being a safe space where I can discuss everything else.
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