Breathe in, now breathe out. That’s what they say to do when you when dealing with negativity. Like breathing in and out is going to stop the tears threatening to fall from my eyes at the sting of those words.
“Ha! Look at that girl run!” the blonde one laughs to the brunette.
“Oh it’s the real life Migaloo! Careful ladies, she might just eat us.” The brunette replies.
The earphones are playing music in my ears but I can still hear their voices. It cuts me deep. I’m running on the treadmill at the gym. I’ve only been tunning for five minutes but I press on for twenty-five more minutes. Determined to not let their words get to me and finish my workout. Thirty minutes a day, I remind myself. Thirty minutes a day of actively moving my body is enough when starting out. Maybe I’ll even get a personal trainer, I’ve been told they’re great at helping people lose weight.
Ignoring their words, pretending that they’re not hurting my feelings. I feel it though, the sting in my eyes and the heaviness in my chest. The fire of anger in my stomach.
“Does she not realise she’s too fat to be here?” the brunette asks rhetorically.
“She’s well past help.” The blonde states.
“She’s ugly too! Just look at that outfit she’s wearing!” they both laugh at their discriminatory words.
Truth is, it hurts. I can feel the tears threatening my eyes. I finish on the treadmill, grab my things and leave. I don’t know how to use anything else but the treadmill so I only stay for as long as I’m on there.
The bus home, I’m brutal on myself. Playing them back like videos in my head. The familiar burn on my nose warns me that I’m about to cry so I slide my sunglasses on my nose. The sun is setting, I don’t need them but I don’t want people to see me crying. It will probably give them the ammunition to bully me too.
Staring out the window, I allow the tears to fall down my face. Watching the trees pass us by, I wonder if trying to workout was a good idea. Maybe they’re right, maybe it is too late for me. Maybe I’m wasting my time. My reflection in the window is like adding fuel to the fire. Sitting in the seat, I stare at my reflection in the window across the aisle. My stomach protrudes outwards, my folded arms sitting on the top of my belly. My body takes over the entire two-seater seat. I turn my head and look down to my shoes, elbows on my knees resting my head the palm of my hands.
You’ll be home soon, I assured myself. Then you can cry in private. I scold myself silently for not charging my phone before going to the gym. I wish I was listening to music right now. It’d make it easier to tune it all out. The laughter and excited chit chat is deafening. Sighing, I look out the windscreen and smile. Finally! The next stop is mine. I’ve never been so excited to go home to an empty house before.
I press the stop button and the driver pulls over. Swiping my card, saying goodbye I step off the bus and trek towards my home. It’s another five minute walk but I don’t mind. It is quiet here compared to on the bus, that’s if you tune out the birds chittering and singing in the trees. The wind hitting my hair, blowing the stray bits in the face. For just a moment, all the negativity experienced before now forgotten. Even if it is for a brief moment, when I close the front door behind me, the emptiness hits me. Filling my chest with unwanted hurt. It’s not a physical pain though, it’s an emotional one. It sits heavy on my chest. The panic that you aren’t good enough.
I put one heel on the back of my shoes to kick it off, repeating with the other shoe. Walking towards the back of the house where my bedroom is, I drop the bag near the doorway. I peel the shirt over my head and slide my tights off my body. Standing in the mirror, I examine my body.
“They’re right,” I whisper as I run my hands over my stomach. Grabbing at the fat areas. Poking, prodding and pulling at it. Turning to the left, I stare at the rolls above my hips and the one sitting on my waist. Turning to the right, I do the same. Hanging my head in shame, I throw myself onto my bed. Tears stream from my eyes now as I recite their words in my head.
Laughter echoing in my head.
“Breathe Kels,” I say loudly. I roll off the bed and walk back to the mirror.
I point to the reflection.
“Stop!” I say. “It’s not me. You are NOT beyond help. You are NOT ugly. You may be fat but your determination WILL make sure that you won’t be for long.”
Nodding, I smile. Breathing in and out. That’s it.