There are little things that are not considered by those who are smaller, normal or even somewhat overweight. Things that aren’t informed by a mirror or how you look in your favorite pair of jeans. For those who are significantly larger – beyond the tipping point of society’s generic sizing – negotiating life, space, and places can be fairly miserable (negotiating and navigating people requires an entirely separate post).
At a certain size (the tipping point: it’s different for everyone but for anyone who’s considerably overweight, there’s probably a number on the scale that they can assign to this; there’s a number at which you know your ability to navigate the world is or will be compromised greatly), the world doesn’t fit around you. Chairs, booths, turn-styles, seatbelts, spaces “between” things (think: clothing racks), certain doorways… really, you do not fit into the world.
The world is made up of averages; the majority of things and spaces are constructed with the averages in mind. I don’t think that most of society is consciously trying to make obese people feel even more horrible (those in the fashion industry and media are external to this thought) – it’s simply trying to fit as many people into as many economically viable spaces as possible (more seats on a plane = more paying customers).
Is it fair? I used to think (easily) “no”. But now I’m not so sure. Really, I think most of life is functional and meant to serve as many people as possible (I could go into the privilege of being normal or “getting by” in society based on size, but I’ll save that for the next post that will be specific to the people side of size); the fat, the tall, the physically impaired, etc. are (still) the outliers. That doesn’t make traversing life any easier. Even a greater understanding of society fitting what’s purely functional hasn’t made me contemplate my space and place … any less. In fact, particularly in this year of losing weight again, I may be thinking about it more.
This brings me to what I’d really like to share here: the spaces and places in my life that are now easier to “fit”. The spaces and latitudes I can now be a part of without special accommodation. Most of these spaces are more easily understood in pictures. So, as I come across them, I’ll be adding more pictures to this post as examples. My first picture is actually one of the spaces I’ve always felt completely “off” in (though I’ve never openly shared this): with other people (that would be me in the middle). In most pictures, I’ve felt like a glaring exclamation point in the midst of smaller punctuation points that come together in the picture’s otherwise perfect grammar.
When you’re larger, simple hugs with friends can seem awkward. And of all the places I can currently think of where I now don’t worry about fit, more naturally among friends and family is my favorite one.