As I get older, one of the things I fear my fatness will bring on -- besides the many (probably) lifestyle related diseases which plague my family -- is isolation. I have family members who are so large they will not leave their homes if they can help it, because they find it so difficult to move around in unfat society and spaces.
I've always been body conscious and a tad shy. When I look at my homebound family members I wonder if that's how it started: you feel awkward squeezing yourself into spaces meant for unfat people, your awkwardness makes you sensitive to other people's (probably wholly innocent) looks, you imagine the terrible things they might be thinking (or saying), so you start avoiding those spaces ... jump forward twenty years, and you're homebound. I don't know that's how it worked for my family members, but I fear that's how it could happen to me and I'm trying hard to keep it from happening. While I will probably never be as thin as some chart or societal standard says I "ought" to be, I will be damned if I will let fear of awkwardness and other people's opinions isolate me.
This summer, I'm trying to get out more and mix with strangers. Every week or so this summer, I've registered to participate in a garden walk at a local park or talk at a local library. I've also pencilled in days to visit local museums to see different travelling exhibits. While all of these events are free or very cheap, they all require me to leave the house and mix with complete strangers -- many of whom will not be fat like me.
[My hope is that, after enough of these activities, fraternizing with strangers in a physical space will become old hat and I'll do it all the time. Right now, my life is a very limited (and entirely predictable) cycle of work-home-work. I used to go to the theater and shizzle, you know, but that fell by the wayside a few years ago (economics, wot) with a number of other things I enjoyed and I let work and home take over].