On speaking truth to funny looking people

I completely defend free speech. It’s an essential component of right thinking democracy. It’s what allows people to identify and express amusement at the unfortunate fact that I resemble Peter Griffin.

I’m usually not that bothered. Maybe if it’s someone who knows me, with whom I’ve gigged and shared conversation over a couple of beers. But tonight, when three lads walking home from the pub feel it’s OK to call me Peter Griffin in the street and call me Fat Man and laugh at me, I feel desperately sad.

Here begins the rant…

Do not shame me for my weight or shape. I set a personal best Half Marathon time last year. If you want to mock my fitness, grab your trainers and first prove you can endure what I can stand. I’m a skilled musician, loving husband and father to wonderful children. Do not presume to belittle me. I do a job I really enjoy serving a community I like, I’m part of an active social circle who either don’t mind my shape or are too polite to comment on it.

I’m a real person, for all you may think I’m simply a caricature. You laugh at a cartoon fat man prat falling his way through a fictional animated life and understand nothing of the reality of living in this skin.

I don’t hate being fat or losing my hair by degrees, or even being a bit inept socially. I don’t regret taking decisions which closed the “most ideal” outcomes behind doors that may never open again for me. But I know I’m not perfect and that knowledge can engender a powerful inertia.

I hate being mocked by people I’ve never met. Because it’s not fair and I don’t need more voices to add to the nagging suspicion inside myself that I’m a failure because I’m not everything I could be and I may have chosen a less perfect path.

Because that’s rubbish. I’m blessed and I know it. But there is nothing of my own worth in recognising good fortune, and I have to harvest that particular resource from quite barren fields.

I know I’m not an Adonis, I have a mirror. Just leave me to be what I am. I was content being me.


4 Responses to On speaking truth to funny looking people

  1. Jimm Rennie says:

    I’m sorry you had to go through that. I understand mockery from strangers about image. That’s why I (until a recent charitable fund raising event) had long hair and a beard, why I decorate myself with piercings and tattoos of my own choosing, why I ignore fashion and wear what I feel like wearing within the limits of the social situation I’m engaged in.

    I’ll always look up to you. You’re an inspiration. You started running and got me in to it. Okay, I’m faster than you, but when I’m done in a race and feel completely spent, I’ll always find the energy to cheer you on or join you to make sure you achieve what you’ve set out to do.
    I’m jealous of your musical talent. I wish I could play one instrument to the level of whichever you consider your worst. I don’t mind it too much, my talents lie in other fields.

    Over and above all else, you’re my big brother and I will stand by you, support you and encourage you in all your heart desires. Because I know you’d do the same for me. (including running up steep hills to cheer me on in the Sutton Fun Run when you weren’t even competing!)

    The heights of your compassion and support are things those [EXPLETIVE DELETED, our parents may read this] will never understand unless they grow a pair and actually talk to you. Until they even attempt to know who you are, their opinion of you is invalid.

    And yes, I could have sent this to you privately, but I’d rather my opinion was public as I am immensely proud of the musician, composer, triathlete, poet, game inventor, loving husband, adoring father, crazily skilled mathematician, and awesomely caring friend that is my big brother.

    I love you Andrew, no matter how much you take the piss out of me.

  2. Helen says:

    Rant away, my friend. What you experienced is not an expression of free speech, it’s bullying. And it’s wrong. And I love your brother for his eloquent comment. Have no shame, do not accept from them. Their stories will be one of belittling and shaming but you are more than that. Stand tall. Well, not as tall as me, obviously 😉

  3. Najma Hush says:

    Remember people who make fun of others don’t feel that great about themselves in fact we feel about as good as we have the power to make other people feel. ❤

  4. Anna says:

    Fix your eyes on the One who knows you and look at your reflection in His eyes. We are more amazing and incredible than we can ever comprehend.

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