|2010 I had a gastric bypass surgery and|
I went from 165kg to 112kg in seven months.
- I started to put on weight at secondary school, age 16+.
- I have lived my entire 36 year old life hearing things like "fatso", "nigger", "fatty" etc.
- I haven't showed myself topless, without clothes on my upper body, in public since I was 15 years old. I have been obese since then. I have man boobs. I have been so obese I pee my pants when I bend down to put on my shoes...
Keep this in mind, because this, these things that have made me the person I am today, are vital for what actually happened this day. This day when I went on stage in front of 100+ 15 year olds in a theater, removing my shirt and top and stood in the stage light half-naked. I stripped, right there in front of my students.
It happens now and then that Swedish school kids go to the cinema to watch a movie that someone important (?) has decided is important for every Swedish school kid to see. The movie we were about to see this day was a Swedish movie called "Princess". I had no idea what the movie was about and so I took the 100 15 year olds to the cinema with a couple of colleagues and we sat down to enjoy this picture (going to the cinema instead of having lessons is pretty cool). The movie is a bout an obese teenage girl who dreams of being a movie star. She is quite obese and there are scenes in the movie when she undress, change clothes and, well, when she is herself. No naked, no NSFW.
You know how kids in their early teenage years can act like when they come together in a group? Yeah, you know exactly what I mean and everything that could happen on an occasion like this actually happened. It started in the first scene when we were introduced to the movie's main character - the somewhat obese girl with dreams. The boys in the audience started making noise, started commenting, shouting things like "Ewww!", "Fatty bitch!" and so on. And the girls in the audience started to join in, giggling, laughing at the funny boys who were so funny and cool when they made fun of this obese girl on the big screen. And this went on the entire movie. And my students, some of them from my school and some of them from a nearby school, did this. And they hurt me. They made me furious. They made me lose my temper. And I took it personally.
When the movie finally was over, I decided to do something. I had to do something. Because what happened this day was something that happens every day in school, outside school, at every workplace, in every city and community. Thousands of young girls, and boys alike, live in this nightmare of bullying because they have a couple of extra pounds on their bodies, because they are and look different, because they wear wrong clothes, because they walk and talk differently... So I went up on stage in front of the huge silver screen in the theater. I got all the kids quiet and I started to take off my shirt.
A teacher went up on stage, started to strip down in front of 100+ teenagers. Of course they started to cheer and scream and clap their hands. For about ten seconds. The things is, you have no idea what this was all about. The kids who saw me doing this had no idea. When I removed my clothes on my upper body this day, I did something I hadn't done for 20 years. Not even on the beach a hot summer's day. All I can say is that the amount of courage it took for me to do this, is beyond anything I've done ever. So when the 100+ kids suddenly stopped cheering and shouting, the entire theater turned dead quiet. I was alone in the stage light. Everybody say my half-naked body, my man-boobs, my obese body and my scars from a surgery the year before. This is a part of me I don't show anyone - only certain kind of people have seen me without clothes on. This is how deep the feelings of being different run, this is how fat and obese people live - and I undressed and showed my students a part of me that very few have seen.
The rest is a bit unclear for me. I am not sure what happens next. I am shaking, I am so upset I don't know what to do. Perhaps I cry, I am not sure. All I know is that these 100+ kids have stepped on me, have told me how worthless I am, have spit on me - by their behavior they told me I ain't worth shit. I know I said this, someone actually told me afterwards:
I have been told that you could hear a pin fall when I said this. All I remember is a hissing sound ringing in my ears. When I asked if I was okay, people were saying yes. The second time I heard it - Yes, I am okay.
I then remember saying:
- Okay, good. Because you have for the last hour and a half told me and many quiet girls and boys in here today, that we aren't... We aren't okay. Or are we?
I then walked off stage. Shaking. Tears in my eyes. Not really knowing what happened. When I came back to school the word had already started to spread. Teachers and students, all had heard about what happened at the cinema just half an hour earlier. Colleagues came up to me giving me a hug, students were looking at me with respect. And I...I was totally drained of energy. I left work early that day. I felt like shit.
The next day my boss wanted to see me. She was, as was I, worried that parents may call, starting a mess about this. This, the teacher who stripped at the theater. When my boss told me that "I had crossed the line", I know I had. But I also know I did something that I had to do, something that was good. For all I know, those kids who were there will never forget and they will forever thing twice before they laugh at someone.
And I am happy with that. I crossed the line. I acted unprofessionally. But I did what I had to do. And I think, I have a feeling, my boss respects me for that.