I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to write about this, and finally decided to just go for it. Saturday night, I was on my way to enjoy a rooftop BBQ with my coworkers. I was feeling good, excited to see everyone, have a low-key evening, and just have a great time. I stepped from the El platform onto my train, sat down, and immediately, a group of guys (maybe late teens/early 20’s) started yelling to the entire train about how fat I was. They made remarks about how it was amazing someone as fat as me could walk, how I could possibly derail the train, and on and on they went. All the while, they laughed and thought they were hilarious, while I was completely frozen. I had no words. I did nothing. Everyone else on the train sort of turned their heads and pretended they didn’t know what was happening. One woman- the woman sitting across the aisle from me, spoke up. She told the buys that they were displaying ignorance and hate, and she asked them if their Mom’s would be proud if they were to see their sons’ behavior. The loudest, more obnoxious of the boys, got in her face and clapped loudly as if trying to get her to stop. She didn’t. Finally, the boys got off the train, and the whispers of the other passengers began. People looked at me, and it made me feel even more alienated. I thanked the woman for speaking up for me, and she nodded her head and went back to reading her book.
At that point, the tears just came. I tried to hold them back, but I really couldn’t help it. I felt so small and insignificant. Moreover, I was mad at myself for letting those kids get to me. Why did I even care what they thought? Memories of being made fun of relentlessly in school, flooded my mind, and I felt like a helpless 6 year old girl again. I thought about turning around and just going home- skipping the party. I finally decided to get my revenge by going to the party and having a gorgeous evening. One of my co-workers let me vent about it and was so super supportive (she saw me crying in Starbucks where I went to calm down and kill time because I was early, and ended up buying me a shot). Everyone got to have a great evening, and I ended up feeling much better by the end. The crew busted out a surprise bottle of champagne to toast to my engagement, etc. It was a lovely evening.
Sunset at our rooftop BBQ- Not too shabby.
Have you had any run-ins like this with complete strangers? If so, how did you handle it? I’m still bothered by the fact that I froze and didn’t speak up. How would you have handled this situation? I’d love to hear from you about this topic.