This is something that has boiled inside of me for a few weeks now. Someone in my life, who weighs (I'm guessing) a good 180 or more pounds LESS than I do, was minding her own business walking her dog, when some asshat in a truck drove by and was compelled by Satan to yell out the window: “Weight Watchers, bitch!”
When she told me this, I felt all kinds of things. I wanted to go hunt down this asshole with a pitchfork and shove it up his ass. Mostly, I felt complete empathy because I've been there before- we all have. Maybe not in such harsh words, but think about sideways glances, double-takes, eye rolls, heavy sighs, kiddie nicknames. It's enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep.
When I first moved to Kentucky in middle school, some kid who lived in the same apartment complex as us started calling me big Bertha. I truly didn't get that he was making fun of me. We were “friends” and our little group palled around the complex playing tennis and swimming in the pool. I don't know when it hit me, but once I realized he was making fun of me, it's like this wall came up. I didn't defend myself. I didn't retaliate. I just sunk into my shell thinking, “he's right.”
In high school, I was jogging down a neighborhood street (I was probably around 230 pounds at the time). I was in great physical condition, but still above-average size. A car of boys slowed down next to me just long enough to throw water balloons at me. Again, I didn't fight back. I stopped in shock, then ran straight home. When I got home, I curled in a ball and cried.
So when I hear that these things still happen, to people much smaller than me, and from an adult, it makes me want to shrink into my shell. My mind races: “What if someone says that to me? What will that do to my self esteem? I have no idea how I could handle that. ”
This kept me up a few nights thinking, and I came up with a few conclusions:
- Shame on the bully for putting their negative energy on a stranger. Shame on them for not knowing kindness. Shame on them for thinking it will boost their ego to tear someone down.
- I feel sorry for that bully who feels compelled to spew hate and meanness. I feel sorry for them that they have probably felt the same kind of pain from someone else, as it's a learned behavior.
- I KNOW I am large, but that does not give anyone the right to belittle me. No one has the right to make me feel inferior. I KNOW I am healthy and working on bettering myself, and no one else matters. Not bullies or doubters.
- I will hold my head high against anyone who tries to push me down. They will not succeed. I am stronger.
- No one has earned the right to push me down, but I know I have earned the right to stand proud.
As human beings, we are capable of extreme compassion and extreme hate. Embrace the compassion, and make sure you share some with yourself as well.