Words carry more weight than people think. They can do more damage than sticks or stones and hurt more than broken bones. I was reminded of that today by a lovely customer.
Today started off as a good day. I woke up before my alarm went off which is the best way to wake up. I was ready for work early and was able to stop for coffee where the baristas already had my coffee waiting. As I drove to work I felt excitement in my chest and swelling in my belly with the thought of a trip my mother and I are taking together in October to an open house for a school I dream of attending.
Yes everything was great. At 10:00 I started work at a job I love (I’m one of those odd people that loves working retail.) and was extremely happy and content. The customers where in a friendly mood and because it is the weekend there was plenty of work to do to keep myself busy. Yes thing were great until my last hour of work.
The fitting room was full and overflowing with clothes to be run and placed back on the sales floor. As I was running some clothes I took notice of a boy around my age talking on the phone. I smiled at him as I am to do to all customers and bent down to place some shorts on a rack when I overheard a snippet of his conversation.
“You’ve got to see this fat, cheddar, bitch. I’ll take a picture and send it to you.”
After hearing that I straightened up and glared at him. You see my paranoia is always high because of my social anxiety and eating disorder. Whenever I hear people laugh or chuckle I can’t help but think they’re laughing at me and this was no different.
After hearing that comment I became intensely aware of his every move. For a while he did not move from the bench he was seated on so I continued my work. Time passed and I actually began to believe that he was talking about someone else but I was deathly wrong.
Suddenly I became aware of a camera flash going off and noticed the pathetic excuse of a boy taking my picture. For a moment I was stunned. Was this actually happening? I’ve experienced plenty of hate in my life because of my weight but since leaving school it’s been behind my back or thrown at me out of anger, never simply because I was there.
After he took my picture I gathered all the courage in my body and marched over to him and asked if he had taken a picture of me. To which he replied, “Worry about your work you fat bitch.” In that moment I was embarrassed. Who was he going to send that picture to? Would he post it on the internet and it would be Reddit all over again? I don’t know.
And although I had very little courage left I used what I did have to tell him to leave the store. Whether he did or not I don’t know because I lost it as soon as I could scamper back to the fitting room. I didn’t finish running the odd number of clothes that were in my hands I put them back, muttered to my manager who was also in the fitting room that I needed 5 minutes and ran to the break room.
After a few moments and venting to my coworkers I headed back onto the floor. Then my manager asked if I was okay probably due to the tattling’s of one of my coworkers who had been in the back room when I had my breakdown. And I lost it again.
Newsflash to anyone: I can lie and pretend I’m fine with a straight face until you actually ask if I’m okay. Then I lose it. And that’s what happened. After explaining what had happened my manager asked if I needed a lunch but because I was only working a 4 hour shift I didn’t get one so she said I could leave. There was only 25 minutes left so I clocked out and drove home. Crying like a baby because words do still hurt me.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve been in recovery for over a year and am making great progress or that I have more confidence than I ever had. Words still have the ability to hurt me and today they felt like a slap in the face. But now an hour and a half later I am not only upset but andry and feel pity for the pathetic excuse of a boy because what kind of person gets a high off of someone else’s hurt? Not someone I would want to get to know or ever see again.