I once asked Susan what it felt like to be judged by others for being overweight. What was it like to struggle into a small seat, or be stared at. I respectfully wanted to know her side of the story, as I admittedly have judged people in the past for being overweight- I’m not proud of it.
Deepak Chopra said, “Every time you negatively judge someone else, you are really reflecting what you dislike/hate in yourself”.
Thank you Susan for being honest and giving us a new perspective on the fellow human being at the check-out line.
People always have a lot of admonitions, warnings, advice or comments for fat people. When you become overweight, it sort of goes with the territory and you eventually get used to it. People see an overweight individual and feel free to hand out unsolicited advice or comments at will. It’s as if all that extra padding announces to the world that you are in some way lacking and in need of help. Lacking self control, lacking will power, lacking common sense… you get the idea. Obviously, if you had your act together, you wouldn’t be lugging around all that extra weight. Of course you could benefit from some of their sound advice or opinions, even welcome it. Anybody else have one of those grandmothers or aunts who loved to say, “You have such a pretty face, if only you’d…” The comments don’t just come from those you know, complete strangers feel they have the right to put in their two cents as well. Admit it; you have probably done it yourself. Ever get in line at the supermarket behind a “fatty” and give them the ol’ judgmental “skunk eye” because of the high calorie foods or unhealthy items that may be on that conveyor belt?
For all the advice and warnings I have been given over the years, I find it funny that nobody ever warned me that if I got fat, I’d lose my backbone, i.e. – the ability to speak up for myself. The bigger you become, the more desperate you are not to be noticed and judged, to “fit in” at all costs. You jump through hoops in order to be liked, to be viewed as a “nice person.” Let’s face it, when you are fat, you are almost morally obligated to be nice- you don’t have anything else going for you, right? As women, we are engendered to be compliant, respectful, helpful etc… Add a “muffin top” or even more pounds on top of that, and you can almost guarantee that the lady lugging around that extra weight will trip over herself to accommodate you so she is deemed “acceptable” by the rest of the herd.
I have continued journaling this week and am amazed at the things I am starting to notice. One of the things I am most grateful for this week is rediscovering my backbone. When I was young, I didn’t have a problem standing up for myself. It’s probably one of the few good things that can come from living in a dysfunctional family- you learn to be a fighter to survive. As the years have gone by and the pounds have crept on, I have let more and more things “go.” Part of that is simply the maturing process, and learning to pick and choose your battles wisely. Somewhere along the path though, I lost my way. It seems that being “nice” and doing anything to “fit in” and not “rock the boat” comes at a high cost. I have let too many things slide and started to unknowingly view the world as a victim might. I have nursed my wounded pride, or seethed with anger in silence to avoid confrontation at all costs.
I am done being “nice.” Sometimes, all it takes is that final straw to tip the scales in a new direction. Instead of “sucking up” an injustice and slinking off to lick my wounds in private, I spoke my mind and stood up for myself. While I did not get the response I wanted, I got something even more valuable- I found my self-respect. Instead of lugging around a bruised ego and drowning my sorrows in cheesecake, I walked away feeling a little bit wiser, and much less victimized. I am one step closer to learning not to swallow aggression in the form of excess calories. More importantly, I can look in the mirror and like the person I see,