Friday, June 21, 2013

The Comments

"I was worried about you," he said, "but I didn't want to say anything. I am so glad you lost the weight."

"Wow," she exclaimed, "you look SO much better! You looked sick before. I mean, you just look so much better now with the weight gone!"

"Holy cow!" she said. "You look amazing! I can't believe the change! I hate to admit it, but I felt bad for you before! I could not believe how heavy you had gotten but now you look great! You look NORMAL!"

"Those jeans look so good on you," he confessed, "I was never attracted to you when you were big, but now..." (nervous laughter).

"Thank goodness your diet worked!" she whispered. "You don't know how unhealthy you looked before!"

The words kept coming. I was 175, 180 pounds and people finally felt like they could tell me how I "really" looked before and what they "really" thought of my body at a higher weight. I suppose people think they are giving compliments. You look better. You look great. But they are giving feedback on what they thought of you before. You were too fat. You looked bad. Sloppy. Unhealthy. Unattractive.

I was not offended. I felt a flush of embarrassment, though, knowing what they had been thinking all that time.

"I couldn't understand HOW you let yourself get that way," she said. "I just couldn't!"

Really? And here I thought you just loved me, liked me, or cared about me as I was. I fooled myself into believing that my weight, my looks didn't matter. That you saw me for me, and enjoyed who I was, as I was. If I had known then what you really thought, well, it would have hurt me terribly.

It is different when people give a compliment without sharing how they *used* to feel about you. It is so nice to hear "you look great" or "you've lost so much weight!" or "that shirt looks amazing on you" or some other nice positive thing. But sharing of how, when I was fatter, you thought some negative thing about me... well, that is better left unspoken.

They've all shut up now. I got fat again. No one says anything. But I hear what they implied,

I am worried about you.
You look sick.
You look worse.
I feel bad for you. I can't believe how heavy you've gotten.
You look abnormal.
I am not attracted to you.
You look unhealthy.
I don't understand HOW you let yourself get that way... again.

The silence speaks. I know what you think. The way your eyes widen and then dart away when you see me 30 pounds heavier is enough. You don't have to say anything.

Thankfully, this time, I care *far less* what anyone else thinks of me, my journey, my body. I am doing this for *me* and for my children, and that is it. I will do what is best and right for *us* and I am not going to give five more seconds of my life thinking about what other people around me are thinking of my body.

You gotta let that stuff go. Teasing and laughing and snickering at the fat women behind her back are grade school kid behaviors. If grown people (or even rude kids) want to make fun of my legs when I am walking to the pool in my swimsuit, that's none of my business! That's between them and their god. My business is taking care of myself and my family and enjoying the one wonderful life I have been given. That is what I am doing.


Lou said...

When, oh when. will people realize that being obese is not a character flaw or a choice?
My husband's cousin asked him why I wanted to be so fat. What? Did he really think I just woke up one day and said, "I wanna be fat. Better get to eatin"

dlamb said...

This is EXACTLY the reason people should not make personal comments about someone's appearance, EVER! I absolutely abhor it when people comment on my physical appearance except for general comments such as "you look great" or "I like that haircut" or "that color looks great on you" or "you look like you are in great shape or strong".

This has always been one of my pet peeves. If you notice and COMMENT on the weight loss, you have been WATCHING. Ok, I get that it is an observable characteristic, weight, but one would not dream of saying "wow, have you been reading something other than bodice rippers, because you just made a really intelligent comment and you always sounded kind of dumb to me" or "you straightened you hair! Good think because you looked like Bozo in the past". "Wow, your skin is really clear. SO glad you found a solution, dear, because the craters in your face were quite unsightly!"
Although I did not have much wt to lose, I've gotten comments such as "wow, it is like you lost an entire person" or "you lost a ton of weight!". Really? I lost 40 pounds, NOT that the amount should matter at all.
I know I am in minority but I DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO COMMENT ON MY PERSONAL APPEARANCE. It is rude and inappropriate. I am always surprised when those who lost weight are disappointed when nobody comments on the loss. I wonder, do they not consider the implications regarding people's thoughts BEFORE they lost the weight? Do they WANT people to keep track? The ONLY comment I have ever received that made me joyous was from a fellow walker. It was spring and I had lost my 40 pounds over the winter. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and he caught up with me, smiled and said "I thought I was walking behind one of the HS kids!" I am sure he was kind and gracious but what a lovely way to address a change without mentioning WEIGHT!

Again, just my perspective and I know most people like their losses acknowledged and their fluctuations ignored. I prefer them to remain a topic that is not raised with me. Yeah, in denial but I'd like to think that you don't notice and "worry" about every pound I gain or lose. You don't "worry" if I watch too much reality tv, which may be way worse for me in the long run, than if I fluctuate in my weight by 10, 20 or 30 pounds. You don't actually "worry" about me at all, you just want to point out how observant you are, not to mention judgmental

16 blessings'mom said...

I had a lady I do not know personally, but have seen here and there around town, approach me as I went into the pool the other day and ask me if I was feeling better. I thought she had mistaken me for someone else. But no, she said that I MUST feel so much better, that I look like an entirely different person. Oh. Thank you, I guess. I don't feel like an entirely different person. I lost 60+ pounds, and still have a good 50 to go...I know she was just being kind, but dang it, I am the same me! A little more energy, and I DO feel better, but I am still me.
It is a good thing to work on getting free from caring what other people think. Thank you for sharing...


Anonymous said...

(((HUGS))), your posts are always so amazing! This has been bothering me lately. I gained a LOT of weight in a very short time (due to infertility treatments, a bad pregnancy with bedrest, a pituitary tumor that caused an endocrine disorder, and plantar fasciitis, which as you know, made it hurt like heck to exercise, even walk!) I gained 100 pounds in just over a year.

I lost 40 pounds a while back. And wow, I heard all the same comments. I nearly cried, knowing that this is what my family and friends thought of me.

Sadly, I've gone into early menopause, and my mother died, and as you can imagine, I've gained most of my weight back. Now, I've herniated a disc in my neck, so I can't even exercise.

Nobody says a word to me about it now. But it breaks my heart, knowing what people were thinking--even those who are supposed to love me the most.

Hang in there, you are an inspiration, Lynn, and a lot of us understand.


Jen said...

What really bothered when I lost my weight, before I gained it back, were the:

You are a whole new person!

Ah no, I am the same Jen.

Sara™ said...

This is so right on - I experienced the same thing when I lost 60 lbs (of which I have gained it all back plus some, and then at least lost the plus some so I'm basically back where I started).

I'm still the same Sara. I still have the same feelings, thoughts, desires and dreams. I'm just as human as you are, there is just a bit more of me than there is of you. I hate that just because I'm fat it seems to mean that I don't have feelings and that (some) seem to either think I can't hear their unkind comments or don't deserve the same respect as a "normal" person.

I appreciate your post, it reminds me to make sure that the comments I make to people are encouraging and kind - emphasizing the good, not the "could be better."

Betty Taylor said...

I hope you are able to lose the weight for you and your family. I want you to feel good about you, doesn't matter what anyone else feels. Weight loss is hard! Maintaining it is the real work! Just keep doing the best for you! And you are truly wonderful no matter how much you weigh.

Mary said...

I recently read someplace that a person's opinion of you is really none of your business and I think that is so true.

Elaine said...

"one would not dream of saying "wow, have you been reading something other than bodice rippers, because you just made a really intelligent comment and you always sounded kind of dumb to me" or "you straightened you hair! Good think because you looked like Bozo in the past". "Wow, your skin is really clear. SO glad you found a solution, dear, because the craters in your face were quite unsightly!""

I laughed aloud at dlamb's post!! HOW TRUE...people seem to think that it's appropriate to comment on other people's bodies. Lynn, this whole post is a great reminder to us all to BE TACTFUL, especially with those people we're so close to that we feel like we can "say anything."

Diana said...

Well said Lyn. I agree with 100%!

dlamb said...

Elaine, glad you got a giggle out of that. I was hoping that those ludicrous examples made some people think about how inappropriate personal comments sound.
Btw, needless to say, I meant to write " bodice rippers" and " good thing". I have a terrible habit of not editing ...Now THAT is something of which I am ashamed and I never, ever learn.

timothy said...

I had a woman just this week who was pregnant rub my belly and say whens yours due and laugh like it was the funniest thing in the world.....hitting a pregnant woman is a felony so I just ignored it but how can people just say horrid hurtful stuff and think it's ok. say what you will at least in the south they're nice to your face! lol I graciously accept any compliment in the spirit is was given and I myself make it a point to compliment people as often as possible I've noticed if it's oh I love your blouse or that color looks great on you it's fine but if it's personal people get you have beautiful eyes, or what a lovely smile etc etc no one wants to really be looked at closely.

Anonymous said...

Great post. You are a wonderful person, Lyn.

Kaki said...

You're right...criticisms and judgements that people make have everything to do with THEM and nothing to do with YOU.

dlamb said...

cressie said...

Beautiful post - so truthful...
and I think perhaps we all are guilty of this way of thinking, even when we have the best of intentions.

Sunnydaze said...

Great post. So very true.

Amy said...

I can't believe people have said those things to you, it's awful! I know that feeling of getting the compliments and then getting the silence after regain. I think we beat ourselves up about it way more than anyone else ever could.

Joanne said...