▀ FAT- Obesity, unnecessary excess
I’m fat. Shapely, but “fat.” In my eyes I’m me, but society says that I am obese, over the average size. The question is, what is average size and WHO determines that?
▀ BLACK- Belonging to a racial group, especially one of African Origin that whose skin is very dark or black in colour.
▀ BLACK- Evil, wicked, deserving of, indicating, or incurring censure or dishonour.
My skin is dark brown in complexion, that puts me among the group of people classified by colour and not race or origin. Maybe due to historical reasons that the colour black has such a negative connotation.
▀ DREADED- To anticipate with alarm, distaste or reluctance.
▀ DREADED- The hairstyle that I currently have- dreadlocks, commonly known as “dreads”
I wear dreadlocks. Simply because it’s a hairstyle that is easy to maintain. However back in the days, a person having dreadlocks was perceived to a a rebel. At present that perception still is there, but to a lesser extent.
According to societal standards I have three strikes against me. I am Fat, Black and Dreaded. I never realized it as much until very recently. In my job I am constantly in contact with quite a few persons in power. They like the work that I do, but for the most part, contact was made through emails or their respective secretaries. One day I was alone in the office, the door opens, in comes powerful person #1 (PP1). So I greeted him by name and he was rather dismissive of me. So he asks,
“Where is Miss Solomon”
“You’re looking at her.”
“Young lady, I am not in the mood for fun and games, I would like to speak to Miss Solomon!”
“You’re looking at her! Since you don’t believe me I can show you my ID and business card.”
“So, you really are Miss Solomon? The person I’ve been conversing with for months? Wow, you’re rather intelligent, for a black girl. Not what I expected.”
” Well you know I’m all for changing stereotypes one day at a time.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to come out that way, apologies.”
“I think you meant exactly what you said or else you wouldn’t have said it”
I was in utter shock. This was a man that I respected highly for his business and worth ethic. What made it even worse is that I live in a multi-ethnic society where whites, africans, indians, creoles, syrians and chinese people coexist happily, except around election time because politics is skewed towards racial divison. I guess this was my first experienced being judged on a professional level because of my appearance. However it set the stage for many other incidents to follow. What makes it even worse is that I am always judged by my size, colour and hairstyle in a professional setting.
I wondered, if I change the things that are offensive to people maybe I would fit in. Perhaps maybe I won’t have to deal with the “surprised” facial expressions or the comments. I toyed with the idea of changing to fit the “mould” I wondered that maybe if I get a wig, lose some weight I’d won’t be the “fat, dreadlocked girl” but I’d still be black. I realized that I can’t please everyone. The only person I can please is myself. Then it struck me, why try to fit in? Standing out makes me unique, sets me apart from the crowd.
As hard as it was, in order for me to grow from the experience I had to look at the positive aspect of it. I’m educated, fat, black and dreaded, and damn good at what I do.
So when you call me FAT, I’ll smile because FAT means- The best or the richest part, abounding in desirable elements, prosperous.
I AM FAT
When you call me BLACK, I’ll smile because BLACK means- Operating at a profit or being out of debt. Black is also BEAUTIFUL.
I AM BLACK
When you call me DREADED. I’ll smile because DREADED means- To hold in awe or reverence
I AM DREADED
Fat, Black and Dreaded—- That’s me 🙂