- Posted March 16, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
To The Man Who Called Me "Fatty" On The Westview Track
In May of 2012, "Hey Fat Girl" was published on Flintland. I will be honest... I never liked the title. I felt that it was used just to get more views to the post. I think to call someone fat is insulting, because I have heard it all of my life. Yet the post was inspiring for runners. It was not demeaning except for the title, in my eyes, and I see why it was shared throughout the running community. It was a well-written piece, but not my type of inspiration. Something weird happened, though.
In December of 2012, a Reddit post went viral. It was similar to the "Hey Fat Girl" post but horribly written, in my eyes. It was still supposed to be about running but more about losing weight and did not make sense to me. It used stereotypical overweight references and weird "mantras." Yet people loved it. It was a poor copy of the original. I felt like I was in the minority, so I never wrote about it. I just left it alone and the post went away.
So this month Closer brought the post back. I saw it on my news feed on Facebook and saw it had over 50,000 likes.
Once again, the post was going viral. I did something weird. I put myself in the shoes of the "fatty." I have been judged my whole life because of my weight. People seemed to be able to tell everything about me because of my weight. I have shared my life with many people online.
So I wrote a post about my life.
I talked about when I was 300 pounds how people judged me, yet they had my story wrong. At 300 pounds I lost 120 pounds, ate clean and was well on my journey. Most assumed I just started. I wrote my reply for the people who follow me on Facebook. That is as far as it was going to go. The few that read it liked it, and that was my main goal. I wrote it for the minority of people who did not like the "fatty" post. I was up front when I presented it...
Then something weird happened... My post got shared all over Facebook. Jezebel Groupthink picked up my post, and it went viral. People were hating and loving the post, just like the original. I never shared it on another site. I never was interviewed about the post. No one asked my opinion; they just shared what i wrote. In fact, I truly wrote it for a small group, not for a large group. I became very proud of it.
One question remained: Was I the guy on the Westview track that afternoon? In every picture it was a woman. The time frame of my weight loss story does not fit with the original. I write a lot; that would be very strange if it was about me. Here is my answer. I was not on the Westview track that afternoon, but the post was about me. It was about a lot of people, in my eyes. I run and work out with all of them.
I get letters from those who were told they would be pretty if they just lost weight. I get messages from men who have women leave them because of weight. I get emails after emails of people who are judged by the way they look. There are a lot of people who are "on the Westview track."
And in my opinion the original was written about all of them. It was just a condescending post to me. If it inspired you, then my viewpoint is invalid. So the exact person in the "Westview" post is not me.
That was not my point, nor was it ever my true intention. The point I am making is my reply is dedicated to everyone who has been judged by the way they look.
To the man who judged me on the Westview track,
I see that you wrote a Facebook status about my journey and me. It described me on the track, and from what I gather it was supposed to inspire after a little insult. So let me tell you what I think of your post...
First off, I would suggest you not judge me at all. My journey did not start 12 days ago. It started over a year ago.
You see me at 300 pounds, but what you do not know is I was over 400 pounds.
You did not know this because I was embarrassed to run in front of other people. So I would come to this track when no one else was around. Sometimes I would go for a couple of minutes. Sometimes I would go for four minutes. It all started when I went for 48 seconds my first time running. Yes, I timed it. Yes I was upset. And yes, I promised it would never happen again.
When I was over 400 pounds and decided to make the commitment to change my life I would wake up and look in the mirror. I would find at least 100 negative things about my body. All the descriptions you made about me... I was even harder on myself.
Then after losing a few pounds, I looked in the mirror again. I did not look at my body. I looked in my eyes. I saw determination and character. I saw a man who did not want to be an inspiration for others but one for himself. I was that man.
Your whole post insults me like no end. I do not eat midnight snacks or drink beer.
You probably think all "fat" people do this. Well, we do not. I ate better than most at 300 pounds. In fact, I have not had a drink in well over 20 years. I look down because I see you stare at me all the time. I do not want to give you the satisfaction of looking into my eyes. There are people who were supporting me all along. Not people who made up fictional parts of my life.
I also do not listen to music because I hear everything. I hear the laughter and I hear the snickers. They are never about me except they always are. I have been overweight my whole life. I have not had my blinders on for some time.
There are no mantras going through my head. When I run it is clear. I have no anger or happiness. I am there to complete a task. I am good at that. You fooled people on Facebook, but you have not fooled me.
You do not have respect for my journey, because you do not know it. I have told my story to thousands of people. I have been told that I have inspired many as well. Not because of the way I run but because of the person I am. Not because of my 200-pound weight loss but because of the words that I have had inside for years.
Many of us have been that person being judged and then twirled into some weird inspirational story. I was judged at the gym at 400 pounds. I was laughed at in Panera at 350 pounds. I was embarrassed at 300 pounds, and honestly, I was the same person at 195 pounds as I was at 420 pounds.
I tell people now that weight loss should not make you love yourself more. That is the mistake I made.
So next time you look at me on that track do yourself a favor. Look away. I do not look like I once did.
I do not want to be your inspiration or your motivation. I am a runner.
I was a runner at 420 pounds and I am a runner today.
And runners do one thing. They run.
Regards, Tony Posnanski
Originally posted on The Anti-Jared