I’ve just returned from a trip to the coast that was way too short – and I don’t feel ready to be back home!
My two favourite guys in the whole world!
About 2 weeks ago, a generous friend of my Mom’s, offered us the use of her beach-front apartment in Margate for 5 days. We hadn’t been on a bona–fide holiday in ages… so even a short seaside trip sounded appealing!
I must admit, I was a bit sceptical about the “beach-front-apartment” description. Often, the more accurate description of holiday “beach-front-apartments” is “dark-musty-roach-infested-rat-holes” – down the road from the beach – but not actually on the beach itself.
Not that I mind. Rather a holiday in a rat-hole than no holiday at all.
However, we were all very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at “Indigo Bay” – swanky, new apartments right on the beach with an enormous balcony and gorgeous view. Note to self: send Mom’s generous friend a BIG bunch of flowers!
Best of all – we arrived out of season… just a few weeks shy of Christmas Chaos when every coastal town from KZN to Cape Town is sardine-packed with over-eager holiday makers from inland cities (read: Joburg!!!).
Because we weren’t there in peak season, we didn’t have to battle with traffic, overcrowded beaches, queues and overcrowded swimming pools. Blisssss!
Now… beach holidays are usually bittersweet for those of us who are fat. The holiday part is great… the beach part, not so great. Many of us… ummm… ‘larger ladies’… feel uncomfortable exposing ourselves in swimwear and shorts. I can’t shake the feeling that people are staring at my fat… and every now and then, something will happen that injects adrenaline into my already-paranoid and overactive imagination. Let me share….
We took the kids to uShaka Marine World in Durban (I was very impressed. World class facility – even reminded me a bit of Disney World). So… anyway… there we were at the uShaka Sea World aquarium – looking in to the big glass window below the snorkeling pool. I rather liked the idea of the Snorkeling Pool. You pay R160 – and spend the day snorkeling in a huge, deep pool – teeming with tropical fish and all sort of interesting creatures. My interest, however, was short-lived when I realized that those actually snorkeling in the pool were being viewed from the aquarium windows below. And my mind was made up 100% when a man standing next to me at the viewing window, pointed at an ever-so-slightly-chubby woman snorkeling above and exclaimed loudly: “Look, son! It’s a whale!”.
I imagined the comments from the aquarium spectators if I were the women snorkeling above. Whale? Orca? Walrus? Pregnant puffer fish? Sea monster?
I might have lost 10 kilograms, but I’m no Minnie Mouse. I currently weigh 111 kgs / 244 pounds. The woman referred to as “whale” couldn’t have weighed more than 70kgs/154 pounds. I can’t help but make these kinds of comparisons and jump to these kinds of conclusions. But what does one do?
Needless to say, I shot a dirty look in the rude man’s direction – but he didn’t even notice, because the people around him were giggling and guffawing – thinking his comment soooo hilarious… and he was smugly revelling in his own ‘comedic timing’.
Am I turning in to a sour, old bag with sense-of-humour-failure…? Or was that man just flippin‘ rude!?
Sometimes, I don’t even know the answer to that question. I know that I can be very over-paranoid when it comes to my weight… fervently believing that absolutely everybody is staring at my arse in amazement – as though it’s a macabre exhibit from a circus freak show.
One of my relatives can be credited with bringing on this absurd sense of arse-awareness when she made a very insensitive comment a few years ago – after I’d lost a large amount of weight on another one of my yo-yo escapades.
“I’m so glad you’ve lost the weight”, she said. “Your bum used to be enormous. It was embarrassingly big. People would stop and stare at it. But thankfully, it’s not so bad now that you’ve lost the weight”.
Uhhh. Thanks. Now what am I supposed to do with that little tit bit of information?
Unfortunately, I never forgot what she said, which is typical of me. I easily remember criticisms and verbal attacks… but struggle to remember affirmation and compliments (I’m trying to change this self-destructive pattern, by the way).
Sure enough, a few short months later… I ended up putting all the weight back on again – with the added burden of realizing that my backside was, once again, “embarrassingly big”… and that “people were stopping to stare at it!”. That thought has been added in to my Paranoid Pot – and every time I’m in a situation where I feel over-exposed (ie: beach holidays and family get-togethers)… the Paranoid Pot starts to boil over and shriek like one of those annoying kettles with the whistle on the spout. “Fat arse! Fat arse! Fat arse!” it shrieks with glee.
“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” I reply, with gritted teeth. And thus, ensues an inner war – with my paranoia and insecurities arguing viciously with the logical side of my brain which tries, in vain, to convince the rest of me that: “People aren’t staring at my arse! They’re too obsessed with their own hang-up’s and insecurities to worry about the size of my bum!”.
I usually don’t believe that comment, though. People, like the rude man in the aquarium, put severe strain on my “people don’t care what I weigh” theories. Because people DO care what other people weigh! The trick is to not care that people care what I weigh.
Let’s just say… I’m working on it.
Other than my rant for the day – about the aquarium “whale watcher” and the people around him who thought he was so funny… I have to say that I really enjoyed our short little week-long getaway to Margate & Durbs. I miss the coast. I love the sea (was born in Cape Town for those who didn’t know and spent my first few years there… including my first year of primary school). I’m not particularly fond of Joburg (understatement of the year)… but, for now, it’s where we find ourselves and, for now, it makes sense (cents?) to be here. For now.
OK – blabbing on about nothing now, so gonna sign off. xxx