Monday, 5 October 2009

Just when you were trying to convince yourself that you are okay...

...some well-meaning stranger happens by and pricks your bubble with a very sharp pin.

I was sitting in a coffee shop today. Minding my own business, sipping a black coffee and working on a little time-out project. I was relaxed as the kitchen is ready for the plumber to come tomorrow morning to reconnect our water supply, the sun was shining and my little project was almost finished.

I dunno. I was sitting there amidst the other Monday afternoon locals, quietly reflecting that it has been a year since I arrived in Canada. I was thinking over the past year, all of the changes in my life (the good things; the not-so-good things; the indifferent things) and wondering whether I should put together an anniversary post about it.

An older lady, who spotted me knitting over my coffee on Friday, comes into the cafe and ambles over to me. She is friendly and, in her very limited English, she enquires after my project progress. We exchange a few words, she goes over to another table, sits down and drinks her coffee. I knit on.

As she is leaving, she comes over to me again. I think that she is going to say goodbye, so I look up. She has not come over to say goodbye, she has come over to impart some kindly, well-meant advice.

She stands over me in the middle of the cafe - in front of all its staff and customers - and she starts to gesticulate. She tugs at the front of her top and she tugs at my side, pulling on my jean belt loops.

She is speaking quite loudly in very bad English. To start with, I cannot make out her words. So she repeats them, in a louder and in a more agitated tone. "Looser, " I make out from her words. "Look better, y'know?"

She smiles and leaves. The other customers are looking at me. I can feel the embarrassment flaming on my cheeks.

Well, I already felt awkward and uncomfortable about my weight gain in Canada. I know that hardly any of my clothes fit. It is just that I have been trying to address it through a revised diet plan so that I shrink back into my clothes, rather than giving in and buying new ones.

Clearly, it is not working and I am pouring out of my clothes in such an unseemly way, that complete strangers feel compelled to let me know that I am making a public spectable of myself by wearing clothes that are clearly too small.

Happy arrival in Canada anniversary to me.

11 comments:

Jess said...

Oh my goodness! I felt sick just reading that, and embarassed on behalf of Canadians... I am so sorry that you had to experience that. I hope your day turns around for the better!

Robynn said...

Aieeeee. What a miserable experience. I'm so sorry. :-(

KateQ said...

Don't let anyone make you feel bad about yourself, we all put on weight/lose weight when we go through lots of life changes and it all goes back to normal when everything has settled down.

And you can wear what you want!

Team Knit ! said...

ugh, how awful that someone said that to you (and so loudly). As a Canadian, I'm extra embarrassed.I've never once told a stranger how to dress!!

- Julie

Roobeedoo said...

OOOH! Not fair! What a cheek! Not even Trinny / Susannah could get away with that! Personally I am a Gok fan - you should wear the body you have with pride, girl! I bet you the next time you go to that coffee shop (and you must!) lots of people will come up to you and agrtee she was out of order and a fair bit crazy!

Kelli said...

And here I thought she was talking about the knitting . . .

Gabrielle said...

Nope Kelli, my project was for a 0-3 month old. I doubt that she thought I was making it for me

:-(

I still feel down about the whole thing today - I guess that the good news, if there is any, is that it has knocked my appetite on the head.

Anonymous said...

That woman was obviously NOT Canadian. The first criteria for being Canadian is to be POLITE, every one knows that.

But it is strange how the things we feel most self-conscious about often are cruelly mirrored back to us.

Take a deep breath and move on. You are no less precious a person carrying a little extra flesh!

Tamie said...

Oh brother! That is not unique to any country- poor manners are universal my dear!! Well all I can say is in my 'wedded bliss' I have packed on about 40#. Nice yeah? Well last thing I need is someone stating what I already know...
Hang in there, some times people just slay me with thinking it is acceptable to comment on really almost anything. No one knows what is happening in anyones life...

You are lovely. I would offer to knit her a gag if you EVER see her again. ;-) ha hahahahahha

centerlightpop said...

Wow. This story leaves me (almost) speechless.

I totally empathize. Regardless of how I felt about my body, I would still find that terribly embarrassing, being singled out and criticized. I have a very hard time with criticism even when it's constructive. Which hers was obviously not.

You're beautiful and you light up rooms. Try to ignore the crazy old bat.

Kim Colley said...

Dude, that sucks righteously.