Sunday, September 16, 2012
I know I often discuss the words and views of my friends and how they affect me. It may seem I take a negative view of what they've said, and I probably have, yet I'm endlessly grateful for having them in my life to talk with and catalyze me into contemplating the issues they bring to light. In so many ways I am becoming a better person because of my friends.
My friends are a positive influence in my life, no matter the tone of my blogs. They may not always relate but they always listen in one way or another and they don't jump for assumptions when I do express myself.
Rather, some of the people who cause me the worst aggravation are people I knew prior to my weight loss success. These are the people I met briefly who assumed they knew all about me five+ years prior, which is insane because I didn't even know myself then.
Sometimes these people float back through into my bubble on social networking sites and they see how I am now. They read my posts at times. They look at pictures. And they start making assumptions about my health. It is the worst.
Just this weekend, I had a prior acquaintance I met in person for all of five minutes read over my Dear Friends, Family, and Beyond blog. She messaged me to tell me she felt I may be in need of a support system before passing my name (and issues) to people of her acquaintance to get in contact with me. People I had never met, people whose professional interests in health, diet, and feminism did not cross over with my own. People seeking friend requests into my network.
I am assuming here but I think she read my post and immediately thought I dieted in an unhealthy manner and that I was seeking to fulfill the external standards of society in appearance. I don't know for certain, I'm totally assuming this but I think I'm allowed due to the assumptions she directed towards my support system.
It didn't quite bother me at first. I replied with no thank you, explained that the blog was made (as I stated in it) to organize my thoughts, assured her I am fine and that I have a support system, and directed her to my beyond adequate community of support here on SP. But the more I thought on it, the more upset I became. The least she could have done was inquire to my status and ask permission to distribute my name (and my issues) to strangers first before acting on it.
As an introvert I'm a pretty private person. Social situations and unwanted attention can affect me deeply. It's easy for a simple situation to spiral out of control in my mind. I choose to make my posts because it is the manner in which I can often get my thoughts organized and analyzed, and sharing them is how I attempt to relate to others so I don't feel alone or crazed.
At least until someone happens along to dump their projections and assumptions all over it without listening to what I'm actually saying. Ultimately after I told her it upset me, she admitted she should have viewed my SP page first and told me I have to be proud. I take that to mean that perhaps she finally understands what I've accomplished in a healthy manner is unrelated to fad dieting, as well as that my goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fulfill the expectations of only one person: me.
Ironically, this is why I have such an excellent support system already in place with my friends, family, and SP, to help me deal with people who pop up and start making all these assumptions on me and my health.
On the plus side, beyond SP, a member of my support system did respond eloquently to part of what I was hinting at in the original blog. She understood perfectly that: "Best intentions and all of that, but any unsolicited outside advice on what you eat or how to manage your diet implies that you somehow don’t know what’s best for you, and that’s fundamentally insulting."
My friends are the best.