A friend of mine was recently indirectly criticised about her weight.
It set off an avalanche of feeling, not only in her, but in me, in her telling of the story.
Judging somebody by their weight is easy pickings. It can be a great way to feel a bit superior but it’s also a sadly missed opportunity to practice some empathy and compassion.
I am overweight. I’m also a recovered alcoholic, drug user and relationships addict. You may spot a theme – fix me, fix me, fix me – first drink, drugs, men and now – food!
The irritating thing about weight is that it’s so OBVIOUS, goddamnit. I mean it’s right there in the rolls of fat and the heaviness in getting up and the clothes that don’t ‘fall’ in the way they are ‘supposed’ to.
But get this. Have you ever:
- Felt an overwhelming urge to shout at your partner, you feel it rising, rising, rising – AAAGH – there it goes! You know it won’t help and yet – you do it.
- Said you’d be home at a certain time and then convinced yourself that it would be okay to stay out with late with your mates (even when it wasn’t actually ok)
- Spent an extra hour at work even though you promised to be home on time, convincing yourself that it would be okay (and it wasn’t).
- Turned up late because you couldn’t get up in the morning (just another five minutes in bed….)
- Promised yourself that you wouldn’t buy any more clothes/video games/gadgets because you really can’t afford it and then….. bought something?
- Promised yourself that you’ll do the hoovering/clean the car/fishtank/bathroom when you’ve read to the end of the chapter and then convinced yourself that all that stuff can wait (this is a hell of a good book!).
- Promised yourself no more tv/computer/social media – oh, but just this one more time….
The weight thing is NO different for me, it’s just that the effect is so much more obvious to the naked eye.
If our bodies expanded in direct proportion to how much we shouted at others, spent money we didn’t have, stayed too long at work, neglected our relationships, avoided chores, spent too much time on mindless activities (social media) then we would all be bloody obese.
Weight is such an easy target but maybe rather than pointing the finger at others can we look within and find some common ground? Can we ask: Do I ever do/say something that I actually know (in my heart) is not going to produce the most helpful response/effect and yet I do it anyway?
Do you see how it’s no different for those of us who overeat? And don’t you think we give ourselves enough of a hard time about it (like that ever helps)?
You don’t know someone else’s journey, their battles, their demons but you know yours. We all have battles and demons, all of us. It’s just that some of us get to wear our demons more obviously than others.
We bring awareness to them and we do our best. We do our best. We are all doing our best.