Today is Melbourne Cup Day.
This is the image that won the internet for me today:
That’s Michelle Payne, the only female jockey riding in the Melbourne Cup and the first female jockey to win. And I love that she used the phrase “get stuffed” in her victory speech. How completely Aussie is that!
I’m not going to pretend to know a lot about the Melbourne Cup, nor about the horse racing industry. But what I do know is that my beloved’s daughter works in this industry, and I know her love and compassion for horses. For me, beloved’s daughter is the closest actual source that I know when it comes to racing and the way horses are treated. Beloved’s daughter might not know how to hang a wet towel and she might struggle with getting rubbish into the actual bin – but the love she has for horses and the expectation she has that they be treated beautifully seem to be in keeping with her chosen field of work.
Beloved and I went to the local pub for their Melbourne Cup lunch do. We went last year too, and I won Best Footwear (my post-op ankle boot). I didn’t win this year. I’m in normal shoes now.
While we were there I was chatting to a woman who worked at a place that sounds like… Parby’s Dies. Just a quick chat. Then I went back to my beloved. About an hour later, I walked past her and I saw her turn on her stool at the bar, and very clearly heard her say, “big girl, big girl, big girl”. I stopped in my tracks, turned around and returned to our table.
I sent beloved to get our drinks.
My thoughts considered the situation.
She’s correct. I am big. But by fuck I’m working on it, every single day. I didn’t retaliate, didn’t make comment on her physical shortcomings. I didn’t go back to the bar. But I also didn’t go home.
I’m working on it, every single day.
And ultimately I would love to have turned to this woman and shout GET STUFFED.
But I didn’t. Because that would be mean. And I am many things, yes – but I am not mean.
I actually found myself feeling really sad for this woman. Based on the things she mentioned in our brief chat, and her own appearance challenges, and that she thought it was even worth saying something like that, and that she lived in a world where making that kind of comment held some form of validity.
So, it’s been a funny old Melbourne Cup day here. But I think we can all agree on who the real winner was:
The phrase GET STUFFED.