.*** (Warning. This is long, and could be polarizing, and may be a little TMI. But I do hope you'll read.) ***
Yesterday, I went to the International Gem and Jewelry Show. I haven't been in almost a year, and while I'm heading to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee in a couple of weeks, there are some vendors I frequent who don't go there and I had to stock up on a few things. Some things I purchased were a slew of beauties for the upcoming Bead Soup Kit shop.
I also got to say hello to a Facebook acquaintance while buying pearls. I found more of the amazing turquoise rondelles Cindy Wimmer had gifted me for my birthday. Basically, I was quite enjoying wandering the aisles looking at this and that.
I used to exhibit at Intergem, but the smallest booth space is $1500, and that's a lot of stress to put yourself under. I'd met some people in the past years when I DID sell there, and I happened upon one woman I hadn't seen in a few years.
I walked up to her booth with an exuberant smile, said hello, and asked if she remembered me. She said she did but she didn't know from where. I told her we used to exhibit more or less across from each other several years ago. (Keep in mind -- I don't know her last name, and we don't email or Facebook.)
"Oh yes! I think of you often!"
"When are you due?"
People. I absolutely know I am overweight. However. In case you didn't think about it before, you never, EVER ask a person of ANY size when they're freaking due.
Let's set the scene, shall we? I had dressed in this shirt from JJill.com.
Obviously, I am not this thin. The shirt is a little flowy, which I like, because I don't particularly enjoy wearing a regular shirt that shows off my rolls. But it's not a pregnancy shirt. I also had on makeup (which I never wear), a KILLER necklace by Stephanie Sersich that should have kept everyone's eyes on IT. I had on Danskos that matched that shirt PERFECTLY. And I had on a smile, the best accessory you can have.
Basically, I left the house feeling pretty darned good about my attire.
As many who read my blog know, I don't have much of a filter when I write, but I DO have one when I speak (for the most part) especially when I'm shocked by stupidity. I said gently, "No, I'm not pregnant. I've just gained some weight."
Did she apologize? Did she stop there? Oh no, ladies and gentlemen.
She then says, "Oh, well, frankly I didn't recognize you because you've gotten so heavy. Isn't it awful having to cart around that much extra weight?"
Oh honey, no you didn't. Really????? This woman obviously does NOT have a filter. Or manners.
I wished her a good show and went on my way. In fact, I was done shopping, so I left for the two-hour drive home, and had a good long think.
First, let's get one thing straight. While it was humiliating, I was not sad, depressed, miserable, and did not feel sorry for myself. That is not what this post is supposed to evoke, and if you comment, I don't need to be told I look good, or I don't look that fat, or anything like that, because I have come to terms with who I am, I KNOW I am way too heavy, and I am doing what I can to make changes. BUT, if for whatever reason things DON'T change, that doesn't for a *minute* mean my INSIDES aren't the same.
This is a photo of me, Diane Cook, and Cindy Wimmer last year. It's immediately obvious I am not anywhere close to thin, and I am 5'2" tall, to make the weight even more obvious. The photo in my profile picture to the above right is the result of no less than 91 photos taken by a professional. Ninety-one. Angles are everything. And I suspect she used PhotoShop. But it doesn't change my weight.
Over the past 20+ years I've weighed 89 at my lightest (hello, anorexia) and 201 at my heaviest (not long ago). I have lost 10 pounds in the past month and a half, and while I don't see it in the mirror, I can wear a couple of pairs of pants I couldn't wear before. It's a step in the right direction, and while I do make choices to eat the wrong things at time (Mother's Day = pie) that is MY decision, and I know what I have to give up later in the week to compensate.
I also haven't mentioned this in the past months, but I have been weaning myself off almost every single medication various doctors have thrown at me because, among other much more dangerous side effects, they are known for causing and keeping weight gain. THIS IS NOT TO SAY they are the only reason I'm Zaftig.
I take full responsibility for not working out as much as I should, and for loving food, and that is a part of my weight issue just like the drugs and genetics are. However, in the past month and a half I've made drastic changes in diet and exercise and the detoxification of my body. I also was just told I'm pre-menopausal. This last drug is giving me the WORST withdrawal symptoms, and will take about two months to get rid of, but even when it's gone, that doesn't mean the weight will drop off. I realize that. I'm OK with that. You, my readers, don't need a daily blow-by-blow of that - booooring and sometimes TMI is just way too much TMI.
|Me and Sally Russick last year at ArtBliss.|
Here's my point, and the gem I hope people take home with them.
You have no idea what a person's story is behind their weight, whether they're heavy OR whether they're very thin.
You don't know if it's glandular.
You don't know if it's from medication.
You don't know if it's from genetics.
You don't know if they were in an accident or have ailments that leave them bed-bound so they have no choice BUT to lead a sedentary life.
And more important, you don't know how healthy they are. I know heavier people who have run marathons. This article gives some thoughtful evidence that you can be fit and fat (good lord how I hate both the word "fat" and "skinny".) I am no where NEAR pre-diabetic, have low blood pressure (almost too low at times, but not as I write this, ha!), and my high cholesterol is hereditary. It was high when I was anorexic. It was high when I was a competitive athlete.
Ditto for people who are very thin. I've had the misfortune of walking behind people at various points in my life and heard people not-so-quietly whisper, "YUCK! She's anorexic!" or worse yet, "OH, she HAS to be a meth addict to be that thin. Gross."
It's politeness alone that didn't cause me to smack them upside the head.
NO ONE knows a person's story unless they choose to tell it to you. Some people are highly prejudiced to overweight people. I've unfortunately known and severed ties with some of these sorts of people. Six years ago a "friend" would text "MOOOOO!" at me -- yes, I'm a cow, is that all you've got? Bring it on, I've heard it all, and it doesn't change my personality.
I would like to think I'm loyal and caring and empathetic. I know I'm impatient. But I also know I'm giving. There is a lot to know inside this body.
Weight should not enter into how a person feels about themselves (as easy as it is to do -- and I have been guilty of that). Your character matters. Not every thin person stays thin. Not every overweight person stays that way, either. If you are rude enough to make an insensitive comment about someone's weight -- well. What does that say about you? What happens if, heaven forbid, weight becomes an issue for YOU?
Think before you speak.
Make changes if they make sense to YOU.
Don't let anyone make you feel lesser.
Love who you are.