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.