“You’re more YOU than you’ve EVER been!” . . . This came from a childhood friend of mine as we were enjoying lunch together a few weeks ago. We were talking about the physical transformation that has happened to me in the last year and the “person” who has changed along with it. Hearing this from a friend who has known me since I was 5 years old brought tears to my eyes. Hers, too. I had thought about this very thing throughout the past year. But, as she said it, it seemed as though I was hearing it anew. There is no question. I have changed a LOT in the last year. This is not necessarily a profound statement as I believe that we all experience change in our life with time and effort and growth. We aren’t supposed to stay the same. But the changes she was speaking to have come because there was a restoration of something I had lost a long, LONG while ago. My dignity.
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” While I do believe this is true, I also believe that people can TREAT you inferiorly and THAT, of course, doesn’t require your consent to happen. It is a hard thing to be treated as “less than” and NOT let it affect you. We have all kinds of laws in this country that deal with the many possible mistreatments of humans. Among those, we have laws against discrimination. You can’t treat someone who is not the same race, religion, gender, age, etc. any differently than you would treat someone who shares those same characteristics with you. And we shouldn’t. Now, please hear me when I say that I haven’t been discriminated against because of my weight. Not in the way that the people I’ve listed above have. But I can tell you I have been treated as “less than” at times because I am “bigger than” most (or at least I WAS . . . ).
The “less than” treatment comes subtly most of the time. It is in the sideways glance of someone in a restaurant when you are ordering a slice of pie. Or when someone boards an airplane and sees you sitting in your seat, makes eye contact with you and then immediately looks away until they are past you in the aisle. Or they are seated and immediately look away hoping you won’t choose THAT middle seat next to them. Or when you walk into a waiting room and there are only chairs with arms on them and you know full well that your big hind end isn’t going to fit in them well at all and you watch people watch you try and then sit uncomfortably anyway. (It’s THE reason I haven’t been to ANY Rockies games in the last several years until this last fall!) Or when someone who overheard you telling your best friend you have started down a new lifestyle path to lose weight and get healthy says to you, “You’re going to be SO beautiful when your body matches your face . . . “ (Yes, that really happened, and NO, I am still not telling “my girls” who it was). And while I THINK that person was well-meaning and not intentionally hurtful, it still really hurt. I have so many more examples like these. Too many to write out here! My point is this: all of these things make you feel “less than”. And something bad starts to happen. At least it did for me. You start to minimize. Not the things that have happened. No. You minimize YOURSELF because that minimization makes those things that have happened more bearable. They have less impact if you believe you aren’t really worth enough to be treated any differently. If you’ve ever walked through a trauma . . . especially one caused by other humans . . . you understand this minimization can happen there in the same manner. And when you combine the response to the trauma with the things that have happened during your weight gain, as I did for years, it is SO EASY to just let yourself believe you’re not worth any better treatment because you just don’t deserve it.
Every time someone thinks that a fat person isn’t smart or shouldn’t be able to do this or that, or shouldn’t be ALLOWED to do this or that, because of their body size, it has the potential to steal away little bits of your dignity. And I allowed it to happen for years. My sister once told me that she was watching TV with an acquaintance. A program came on in which a very obese mother had neglected and abused her kids. The courts were sentencing her. This acquaintance said that she didn’t think that any fat person should ever be allowed to have kids. It instantly angered my sister and she spoke up and said, “My sister is a fat girl. And she is a great mom!” The acquaintance apologized. But it truly is things like this that help you understand that “fat” is also a stereotype. It would help to remember (use a Venn Diagram if you need to) that not all fat people are the same in every category. But I can guarantee that we are all looking for a way out of the big-bodied life we have allowed ourselves to be in. One thing I have hated most over the years of being so big is that I know my weight bothers other people. And that bothers me. Not ALL people, mind you. But a lot of people. I can’t exactly pinpoint what about it really bothers me the most about it bothering them. Is it because I am the one to blame for my size? Or is it because I am a hopeless people-pleaser? I mean that I want everyone to like me, and to get along, and to be nice, and to be drama free! And I know that some people can’t look past the large exterior to see the person inside that is really worth getting to know.
But let me tell you a little bit about me. I have never tied beauty to a body size or a face even. Maybe because I have been so big for so long. I have wanted so much at times for people to get to know ME for me. Not make assumptions about who I am because of the massive body I happen to be contained in. No. I want them to know the girl who apologizes constantly for perceived inconveniences I may have caused someone by just being. The girl who is so self-conscious, she is CONSTANTLY tugging at her clothing, or picking at her cuticles, or looking down or . . . The girl who actually feels guilty because she makes others uncomfortable because she is so big. The girl who doesn’t like that others have to think of the accommodations that may need to be made so SHE is comfortable and safe. The girl who at times, has felt she wasn’t even worthy of the oxygen she was breathing. That girl. Now, this is NOT to say that I don’t have a wonderful set of friends and acquaintances and a husband who loves me more than life itself. These people see ME. They don’t see my size. I just wish it was as easy for the rest of the world to do as it seems to be for them.
What did I recognize in this last year and uncover that led me to find my dignity again? How did I find it? Well, it wasn’t like I ran into a phone booth and peeled off my “fat suit” to expose my Super Woman Suit: Dignity Version. It came in small bits and pieces. It came as I realized that the outside world isn’t any more responsible for my “less than” feelings I mentioned in the above scenarios than the man in the moon is. I have learned that unless you have been a very large person, you won’t ever truly understand what goes on in the mind of a big girl. And I really can’t say for certain how much of what I talked about before is really how things have been versus how I have PERCEIVED them to be. There is truth there, though. There really is.
In addition to all that, though, I think I bought into the fact that I AM more ME than I have ever been. I am more comfortable in my own skin. LITERALLY. And I remembered these things: I am smart. I am capable. I am kind. I am funny (or at least sometimes I think I am). I am loyal to a fault. I am strong. I am able. I care about others. I have many talents. I am really good and even really great at some things; but I am humble enough to know and admit that I am terrible at others. I have nice hair and skin. I have pretty eyes and a beautiful smile . . . or so I am told 🙂 And I am so much MORE than just these I’ve listed. I remembered all of these things, affirmed some others, and found for the first time other characteristics and attributes I had never really used or even knew I possessed. In the last few months, I feel like one important part of me has truly been “found” . . . my voice. I will try and explain that next week . . .
#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou
6 thoughts on “Super Woman Suit: Dignity Version . . .”
Thank you, Lacy, for being open and transparent, I know that is not as easy as just writing a post for everyone to see, it takes huge bravery. Although, it is not the same situation, I have felt these things when people have commented on my physical (or mental/emotional) attributes they assume about me, or when they have strong opinions about what I should be doing (or not doing) or feeling in my current life situation. This last year has shifted my mindset too, and it is so encouraging to read your words and be inspired to keep going down my personal path and not give up. Thank you for that.
Thank YOU, Kristen! I can’t imagine what this last year has been like for you and your family! Know that you are loved and appreciated in ways you may not realize. ❤️ You keep doing YOU! I love YOU!
Lacy, thank you for being willing to share this great adventure you are on. I believe it will help both those large and small that strive to be a better them and who strive to treat others with kindness and dignity. I know for myself, I often have no idea how my thoughts, comments, and looks may affect others and what you are sharing is helping me think of others more. Blessings.
Thank you, Cindy! I really appreciate that. I know what you are saying. I know we could all use a careful examination into how our treatment of others may help or hurt them! I appreciate your openness and honesty! Thanks for reading my writing! It’s been challenging but very therapeutic so far!
Although I am on another plan, I’ve felt every pain you mentioned. That first plane trip being able to cuddle inconspicuously in my seat, instead of being uncomfortable trying to avoid touching the guy next to me the entire trip, was a WOW moment. Getting into and out of my car without having to stop in the middle, feeling someone put their arms all the way around me in a hug, heck, just walking a full block without being winded…all victories! I think the biggest victory is loving me again. Thank you for sharing, that’s not easy. You are pretty special!
Thanks, Charlotte! I feel everything you said! Truly! In fact some of these things are something I hope to write about soon!Thanks for reading and commenting! Good luck as you continue on your path!