This is a blog I wrote back in July before I moved to Tampa. I guess I liked the city enough to move here:
Have you ever been is a room of complete strangers and felt invisible? As a plus size woman in a skinny world, I have known that feeling all too often. When I first arrive, it’s all eyes on me piercing me with the disapproving looks and disgust. Most people don’t even realize they are staring for such a long time. Once they have their initial look they do everything in their power to avoid looking me in the eye. When I was younger and more insecure, I would let this bother me and change my mood. I was no longer the fat, jolly lady everyone expected me to be. Instead they found themselves on the receiving end of dirty looks and the more aggressive ones would receive some not so pretty dialogue. Now a days I have matured and found that I really don’t give a hoot what people think. As long as they don’t disrespect me I don’t react to their rudeness. That being said, I try to avoid crowds when I have PMS because we all know there is no controlling yourself during this time and I get a pass. As a larger woman I have taken many trips and have noticed that the world in general either does not know or they don’t care about the day to day plight of the plus size person. I have decided to write about my experiences and here is the first entry in my world of travel.
This weekend my husband and I took a road trip down to Tampa, St. Petersburg to be more precise. In addition to him needing a break from work, his favorite MLB team the Milwaukee Brewers were in town. Throughout our trip, there were a few times that I really felt like people wanted me and people my size to disappear or just not exist. The first of these times was when we checked into our hotel. The location was downtown St. Petersburg which is a historic district. Our hotel of choice, Hotel Indigo, was a historic building that stayed true to the neighborhood. The hotel website advertised a spacious king room with a large bathroom. What we got instead was a small corner of a room with a miniature bathroom whose shower stall (there was not tub) was larger than the rest of the bathroom. Without giving too much detail, to use the toilet was challenging to say the least. My knees were almost touching the wall unless I turned toward the stand up shower, the toilet paper holder was positioned so you could barely reach it and it was designed with the back portion of the holder open so the roll easily fell off. The room did come equipped with a king size bed, a small dresser the size of a college dorm refrigerator and a desk whose chair was made for someone with no hips. The décor was bright and had a tropical feel with hot pink, Caribbean green and white colors that popped off of the dark wood furniture. We had to sit on the bed in order to watch the flat screen on the wall above the desk. To top it off the air conditioner worked, but even with the ceiling fan on, the room temperature never dropped below 80 degrees. I will say the staff was friendly and I enjoyed the refreshing complimentary water with orange slices in the lobby. Parking was done via valet for an additional cost which was worth it to avoid receiving a parking ticket on the street.
Our first day there we decided to sight see and found several waterfront parks to relax and enjoy the scenery. The vibe of the area seemed that everyone was working on their fitness and I received several disapproving looks because I wasn’t working on mine. The judgment was evident, but I did not allow it to affect me. I chose to enjoy my mini-cation laughing and talking with my husband. We watched birds flying everywhere and fish jumping from the water and dogs playing in the park. We also found the world famous Sylvia’s Restaurant and decided to eat lunch on Sunday afternoon. I have eaten at the original location in Harlem once and was excited to find a location down south. Sylvia’s in Harlem is known for their soul food and dignitaries as well as presidents have eaten there. The experience was not the best I have ever had and truthfully I prefer my own cooking, but it was nice. Of course I am goofy so I took several pictures and embarrassed my husband. We also ate lunch the following day at a restaurant I found while reading the book in our hotel room. The name was Rumfish Grill and I wanted to eat there because the ad boasted a 33,500 gallon aquarium that was featured on the TV show Tanked. The restaurant walls are decorated by aquatic works of art by Guy Harvey. I loved the atmosphere and enjoyed this experience a great deal. Again I took several pictures to commemorate the occasion, much to my husband’s chagrin.
The most uncomfortable instance happened Monday night at the baseball game. I am not the biggest fan of baseball, but I know the game well. My hubby was excited and that made me want to go. The arena was easy to get around and the staff was friendly and helpful. My challenge came when we got to our seats. Navigating the stairs was ok because there were not that many in our section. We had pretty good seats and were on the first row, which meant no leg room. The seat was narrow and not built for the large and in charge crowd. The arm dug into my hips for 9 innings with the exception of when we stood up to allow other people in and out of the row or during the 7th inning stretch. My big relief came when we decided to partake in the famous ballpark cuisine. We sat up top while we ate because there was no room to eat at our seats. There were however cup holders for our drinks. During the game I like to check out the crowd of people and everywhere I looked it was if people were turning their heads to avoid eye contact which tickled me, but also made me aware how uncomfortable I was making everyone else.
The overall trip was fun and we had soo many laughs and spent some much needed quality time together. I would recommend visiting the ballpark and Rumfish Grill, however if you want to sleep comfortably, avoid the hotel. Sylvia’s was hit or miss, but if you like mediocre soul food this location is for you. I will rate the trip a 7 out of 10 and can’t wait for the next adventures of the Invisible Fat Lady.