When I was in seventh grade, P.E. was absolute torture. I went to a tiny Christian school that had many teachers doing double duty in fields outside of their realm which caused my English teacher* to also be the P.E. teacher. He would make us run a certain amount of laps around the gym before we did anything else. Let me point out that P.E. at this time was altogether with 7th grade through 12th. Guys and girls. That may sound ridiculous, but this amounted to about twenty or so students. Did I mention it was a small school? Having us all together made things supremely awkward for the young kids who always got picked last for teams. And even worse for the young fat ones. Now, I was no stranger to running laps. I was on the junior varsity volleyball team, and our couch loved laps. This was different though.
One day my P.E. teacher decided I wasn’t running my laps fast enough, so he told the entire class they had to stay behind me for the rest of the laps. Have you ever had huge senior basketball playing dudes on your heels, yelling in your ears to move your fat self faster!?! My very own precious form of cat-calling. Joy. It was humiliating to say the least. I wasn’t being lazy. I was doing the best I could.
Now, maybe this teacher thought he was inspiring me to try to achieve greatness. Maybe he was trying to teach those older guys patience. Maybe he was just bored. I don’t know. All I know is it didn’t inspire me. They didn’t learn patience. They ridiculed me. They made me want to disappear. All I could do was shut down inside and run. Run until it was over. Wait until I could get away and quietly cry in the bathroom.
That is what it was like being a fat girl. Every. Single. Day.
*I would like to point out that by the time I graduated, this same teacher was my favorite. Just not for P.E.