Got a day off as my classes are on an excursion and I didn’t have to go. I went into work but I got so far ahead of myself over Easter there was no point in me hanging around and so I came home to write about my successful week.
I’m going to venture into town in a bit, something I rarely do. I hate shopping with a passion. Well, that’s not strictly true, I hate shopping malls, they are awful places and I hate supermarkets but I do like shopping in little quaint high streets and curiosity shops and I’m glad they still exist even though they are up against it to prevent themselves becoming a thing of the past.
But I bought my daughter a Pandora charm bracelet some time ago and she loves to add to her collection. She has a big day tomorrow and I wanted to buy her a good luck charm to add to her bracelet. I know each addition means something special to her, we were instructed never to buy a charm ‘just because’, they always have to have a meaning and attachment to something significant. She is one of the most sentimental people I know but would never admit to it.
I know she wanted me to go with her tomorrow, not to hold her hand but just for company on the journey and to chat to about how things went on the journey back. She’s not a baby, she’s independent in so many ways she just enjoys my company which is a gift because the last person I’d want with me when I was preparing for something remotely stressful or important would be my mother.
I know that by buying her a little addition to her bracelet she will feel a sense of me being there, she will look at it and have a little play around with it and it will be a reminder of how I’m rooting for her from a distance. Besides anything else she will know how much courage it took for me to go to the Pandora dealer to buy it and make it far more valuable to her than its monetary worth.
I feel so exposed in shopping malls, everyone looks perfect, like they dressed up especially to go shopping. I know that isn’t the case but that’s how everyone seems to me, I must skim past the fat ones, the less than perfect specimens of which there are probably many.
There’s so much glass too and so many mirrors just waiting to remind me of how huge I am and depress me and make the chocolate and toffee shop seem like the place I belong, comforting me with its rich vanilla and cocoa aromas, a little haven in a hall of mirrors.
I have a real problem with shopping malls but alas if I am to give my daughter a token of my support and love for her I have to brave it and try to not be affected by it. I think it’s been made worse by this awful pass time that people have now of taking photos of fat people and posting them to Facebook sites for everyone to be nasty and superior about. I try not to look at such things but they pop up in feeds and my students often talk about how cruel they are and it never ceases to amaze me how insensitive people are these days where nothing is sacred and everything is open for public viewing.
It’s so sad really, I’m thinking I’m not the only one, how obese people are made to feel or make ourselves feel unworthy of certain places or certain activities. That’s how I feel as if I shouldn’t be in the mall, it’s a place where people buy lovely things for their lovely selves and even though there are plus size outlets and even though plus sized ladies (and gents) deserve to feel good and wear make up and buy perfume and have lovely handbags and gorgeous sun glasses we’re made to feel we don’t belong in the shops which sell them.
Is it only me? Maybe it is I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of my own mental blocks. I just hate the places so much, I feel at my most ugly, my most exposed, my most vulnerable, my most uncomfortable in them. Maybe it’s my own low self esteem, my own sensitivity to being looked at, my own paranoia that makes me think anyone gives a damn what I’m doing or even notices me.
I feel like I’m heading to the lions’ den and I was anticipating coming back feeling as I usually do, totally miserable, to the point of hurt even and probably with a cake and some chocolate to soothe me. Then I thought to myself if I can just do this, if I can do it and picture in my mind what I’m going for instead of what’s going to happen there, if I can project forward to my daughter on her journey tomorrow feeling comfort when she looks at her pretty new good luck charm, if I can imagine myself feeling accomplished having even dared to go there at all, if I can cut out all of the bad stuff and focus on just doing what I and any other person has a right to do, going to the shop to buy something then I might be able to strengthen rather than weaken myself.
Instead of feeling like I’m heading to the lions’ den picture myself as some Indiana Jones or Lara Croft character, on a mission, a quest to get something no matter what, to brave the environment and avoid all of its traps, maybe then I’ll emerge from this experience feeling good rather than bad, strong rather than weak, accomplished rather than failed and what’s more without having to eat to recover from it.
I’m almost shaking with anxiety at the thought of going and am not even sure that I will make it, I might bottle it before I get there and text my son and ask him to pick her one up on his way home from school but then that wouldn’t mean so much. I’m just trying to prepare myself mentally, to breathe through the anxiety and just do it. I know I’m going to be almost hyperventilating by the time I get there and sweating, I get these flash sweats when I’m in a shopping mall, like an intense fever swept over me momentarily. I seriously hope that losing weight will take this fear away, it wasn’t always like this, although I’ve never enjoyed the shopping mall experience regardless of my size but now it terrifies me.
Crikey, you’re in the mind of a fat person, see how awful it is? I’m only going to the bloody shop!