Thursday, September 2, 2010

A secret club and those who treat you different without the fat........

A dear friend shared an article with me tonight she said made her think of me...

I have to admit reading it brought me to tears because it is so on the money. And if I feel that way only part way to my goal I can't imagine what it is like when you are truly there.

I think the part that hit me most was how different people treat you. I have really struggled with this. Anyone who knows me for any length of time hopefully realizes that honest, straight forwardness and integrity are the three qualities I value most in the people around me (and a lack of them is the quickest way to have issues with me). I have much more respect for someone who tells me to my face they hate me than someone who pretends to my face they like me and then trash me behind my back. I have very little room in my world for game playing and faking things. I'll tell you how it is, you tell me how it is and we will get along great. Some call it a "NY attitude" I just think it is the right way to be.

So it has been a challenge for me over the last year to learn of people in my world who used to pretend they accepted me how I was that I have since learned used to make really nasty comments about my weight behind my back. I just recently learned of a coworker who knowing me merely minutes who made very derogatory comments to another colleague about my weight, but had pretended for over a year to be a good friend.

It has also been a real challenge for me to watch opportunities open up for me (professionally and socially) that I was held back from before because of how I looked. Looks to me are such a fleeting, unimportant thing, and to know that I wasnt considered good enough for these people and opportunties before but I am now, when nothing about who I am has changed, but my outward appearance has has been jarring. To learn of a conversation between coworkers about how I am now "acceptable" to be in front of a group brought me to my knees and left me hurt in a way I am still feeling months later.

As the author of the article stated so well, I also find that since my body has changed I trust new people around me less and question their motives more. That sounds so weird if you haven't been in this position. But when you are over 300 lbs you know that most people in your life for any period of time are there truly because of who you are on the inside. They love you DESPITE what you look like. As the weight melts away you have to wonder more. You no longer have that safety filter that gets rid of the people who are there for shallow reasons.

It is going to sound really bizarre to everyone, except my fat or formerly fat readers, but there is a big part of me that worries about what this will be like if I ever do get my body to my goal weight and become what I would consider attractive. Will I know who is in my life because of me, and my brains and what I have to offer and who will be there because of looks. Obviously this is going to be the hardest issue related to dating and intimate relationships. Again when you are fat you know if they are even willing to date you that isn't why. Having beenf at my whole life I don't feel like I yet know the skills for handling dating and relationships of that nature without that filter, and it is a new direction that I do think about.

Even with less intimate relationships, I have to admit I don't know how to react when someone makes a comment about how I look, be it my hair, my figure, whatever. I have been fat since I was 5. These are not comments I am used to hearing or more importantly trusting. The only time I heard I was pretty growing up was quite frankly when I was being abused by my father and he was trying to manipulate me. I have never had anyone I dated or around me tell me until the last few months that I was pretty, or looked good or they liked my clothes or any of this new, and I still don't know what to do with it.

At first I thought it was an issue of not being able to take compliments, a topic I discuss with a friend quite often, but the reality is that isnt the case. When the compliments are about my work or things related to my brains, I have no problem taking them. This is different. This comes from that "brain fat" I have blogged about before. When someone tells me I look good or how great I look now I truly don't know how to believe it. I still figure I am being lied to, or they feel they need to (or are supposed to) say it and I just file it away as BS or they want something. I know I need to get past all this, but if you have never dealt with it before how do you get used to it.

There really needs to be a school for joining the world of the "beautiful people" because it is not intuitive!

I will say as much as changing has lead me to question those new to my life. It has also made me truly value those people who genuinely loved me fat and who love me now less fat and who I know will be there if I ever get to skinny. I can count that group probably on two hands, the number isn't large, but the value is. To those of you who have treated me the same no matter the number on the scale...THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!


  1. I'd been wondering what you thought of and how you felt about people in any setting frequently commenting about your body. Not the people who knew you before, but relative strangers making comments, any time in any setting.

    When trying on jeans, I have to leave my fitting room to use the *community* 3 way mirror. Of course there are other ladies also standing there. Almost without fail, someone will feel perfectly entitled to remark on my size. I think they mean it in a complimentary manner, yet it always bothers me. Were the opposite in size direction those same ladies would not feel free to comment (to my face) about my body at all.

    Oh! and this did not sound bizarre to me at all.
    "It is going to sound really bizarre to everyone, except my fat or formerly fat readers, but there is a big part of me that worries about what this will be like if I ever do get my body to my goal weight and become what I would consider attractive. Will I know who is in my life because of me, and my brains and what I have to offer and who will be there because of looks."

    Trust me, you will develop that *instinct* - Within a few conversations you will know "who is there for *looks* and who is there because they want to know *you* and should anyone ever say "You know Pam, you would be perfect if only you would/were [fill in the blank] ____________"
    Give them your back !

  2. aS....actually complete strangers who I will never see again, such as the dressing room folks, bother me the least. And the dressing room situation particularly somehow always ends up at me mentioning how much weight I have lost after they make their comments and I have gotten the nicest compliments from people.

    My angst is more with those who are marginally in my life or trying to be in my life.

    But thinking about your question I realized that most of the dressing room "group" experiences have been in plus size stores, so it was people who "got it".

    In the last few months when I can finally shop in "real stores" I have developed a GREAT dressing room skill. First of all I try not to shop alone anymore, I tend to buy clothes that are too big or rule out things I shouldnt if I go alone. So if I have someeone with me, we try to get the handicap dressing room and both try on clothes in the same place. That way I dont have to go use the communal mirror because the person I trust is right there.

    I thought your last statement was really important, and I still struggle with that one. I guess because I still see myself so flawed I tend to linger and ruminate on whatever someone tells me I need to change. And that is a newish thing for me too.

    In some ways in the last year I have become more secure, but in some ways less. I think I used to be a lot more ok with my imperfections, a lot more "this is who I am...take it or leave it". And that was easy because who I was really hadnt changed in 20 years. Now that I have gone through a year of radically change myself (internally and externally) I seem to be less sure of who I am and who it is right to be. I definitely want to get back to that place where I was comfortable with me and know that those comments are just opinions and not time to reexamine who I am.

    Thanks for the great comment!!!