THE PLACES I GO … THE STARES I FACE

YES YOU … THERE ON THE LEFT, FACING ME … I KNEW YOU WERE STARING AT ME THE WHOLE COMMUTE. NOW STOP IT. IT’S GETTING WAY TOO CREEPY HERE ON THE RED LINE FOR ME.

DISCLAIMER: This post may be a little more information than you want to know about me. I am warning you … not for the faint of heart. (OK, OK being a bit dramatic … but maybe this editor’s note is more for me, and the fact that I am even writing this. Or have to.)

It’s no secret … I’m a big girl. Big belly, big thighs, big ass.

It is what it is. And what it’s always been.

And it’s something I am most of the time OK with. (Come on now … everyone’s got some things they want to change about themselves. But I’m much, much smaller than I was years ago, I’m a true vegetarian, I’m constantly moving, I’m healthy … and yes, hopefully one day I’ll find a gym that I actually like going to … and can afford … in my neighborhood. Ha.)

But to me, it’s not what defines me. (Want to pigeon-hole me? It’s the creativity … the kind and pure heart … the want to learn … the need to grow … that I’d rather be known for.) Again, it is what it is.

At least for me. The same can’t be said for others … both sort of good and really bad.

Let’s start with the bad, and get that out of the way. Coming home on the train last night, immersed in Bon Iver’s Daytrotter session, I was excited about the prospects of what awaited me in Uptown. It was the end of a rather long – but pretty decent – work day. Despite being in the midst of an hour-and-a-half commute, I was pretty upbeat. Until they got on the train.

Well her anyway.

Youngish couple, both short and thin. As soon as the doors closed, she looked at me like I was going to devour her, and well, quite frankly it scared me a little. Not to mention pissed me off. So, for a solid 10 minutes, I endured her points and comments to her boyfriend, the direct stares at me.

(And believe me … I wasn’t just being paranoid here. I am fortunate to have had very few people ever make fun of me because of my size. I know most see me instantly for my beauty … my sense of style … my openness. My Mom was the first to really point it out to me last time she was here. We were walking down Belmont, doing some shoe shopping – her for me, of course, my wonderful Mom – when she commented that everyone walking by just stared at me. Men, women … everyone … and in a good way. And it’s true. Usually.)

When the man got up from the seat across from me, and they sat down three feet from where I was standing, I knew in my gut I wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. I stood there, for a few stops, begging the stripped-down-then-upbeat, bluesy version of “Creature Fear” to drown out the thoughts in my head. Because here was the thing, she was ugly. Horribly broken down, beat-up ugly. (And no amount of money could hide it … no matter how much the boots she had on cost, it didn’t change her face, nor her aura.) And I never would have noticed it had she not been so obviously disgusted by me. Judge not, lest you be judged is truly the way to live for me, and I am thankful that each and every one of us is a different creature. And it saddened me to see all her bad.

Three stops before mine, I moved to the door and as far away from her as I could possibly get. But not from her stares. Seriously? Really?

And then the doors finally opened, and I was free. And I wished her along on her miserable “I’ve got it all” existence. Bye-bye.

But I have to give her boyfriend a little credit – which he needs if he’s with her – he never fed into her cruelty, at least as far as I could tell. In fact, I never even noticed him look my way past the first time. And believe me, whether I’m looking at you or not, I know when someone’s staring.

Which brings us to the good. (Well … kind of anyway.)

Ah, the stares. On a train, packed or not, lately I have a few instances of full-commute leering. (And I mean every time I looked up … the eyes were still there, locked on me. A few stops, OK … maybe. Five minutes … why don’t you just try to get my attention. 10 minutes … we’re getting a tad bit creepy here fellow. Craning your neck to stare at me out the window as I exit the train 30 minutes later … what gives, serial killer?)

Now, I’m OK with the frequent looks, the eye contact, the suggestive glances. We’re all human. And during rush-hour, we’re all about the same age … heading to an office where we almost won’t see the light of day until we walk out the door the next morning to board the train all over again. I’m sure many a lasting love-connection has been made during a commute. (Plus the help of craigslist.com.)

So cool. Check me out. I’m open to possibilities. (Actually, for the first time in a long, long time. Weird to some of you, I’m sure.)

But if you find me attractive enough to stare through your entire commute and you can’t even say hello, well, that’s just insane. You’re either a pervert or you care WAY too much about what other people think. (And unfortunately, yes, it’s what my best friend has decided is the problem when it comes to men and me.)

So stop undressing me with your eyes and just move on.

Or simply grow some balls. (Sorry Mom.)

It is what it is.

And this is my commute.

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