Yesterday I spent some time in the company of a woman I don't know well. She is a friend of my sister. My sister's friend is exactly my age (53). She is tall and very slender - I am neither. Neither is my sister. My sister and I have a lot of nice qualities but a comfortable height-to-
weight ratio is not among them. My sister's friend has legs that are not much bigger around than my arms. So, when she began to refer to herself as "fat", when she made a number of references to how much weight she has been putting on, to having to buy new jeans because all her jeans are too tight, and a number of other references to her weight, my sister and/or I should have assured her that "No, you are SO slender." "Oh my gosh, YOU aren't fat, I'm FAT!" "I only WISH I was fat like you...." and blobbety-blah blah blah, right? Nope. Cannie doesn't play that game anymore and, I am proud to say, my usually eager-to-please younger sister has apparently stopped playing that game also. Let me be clear, I do not think this was a case of body dysmorphia, or that she is anorexic, or is suffering from any sort of weight related illness. My instincts told me she was tossing around fat-talk for two reasons - fishing for compliments (which I am happy to give, normally, but not when I feel manipulated) and to point out her superior position in the body weight/height ratio. She is quite lovely - tall and slender but not scrawny. She has always been slender. I do not wish her a sudden onset of obesity. I just don't like being played. I would not tell a person suffering from severe diabetes, who had undergone amputation of their legs that "oh, my legs are SO sore from running", "oh, my legs ache from doing SO many squats at Boot Camp today". Years ago, when I was quite slender, and a bit clueless, I made the mistake of whining about gaining 5 pounds in front of a woman who had been fighting morbid obesity for most of her life. She was a wonderful woman with a kind personality and she took me aside and pointed out how insensitive I was. Point taken. People can say whatever they wish, of course, and we can't weigh every word against how someone else may feel. But, let's face it, some things we say are stupid and I appreciated her calling me out even though I felt mortified at the time. I didn't call this slender woman out. Her estranged husband killed himself about six months ago (he inspired a blog I did about the beast of addiction). So, I threw her a mulligan on the dumb remarks about her fake fatness. I did note to myself, however, that she complained about her sciatica and her frozen shoulder and some other physical ailments which are a reminder that a thin body does not equal a fit and pain-free, problem-free body. I felt sympathy towards her because I know those are painful conditions, especially when she is sorting through traumatic grief. It also reinforced my commitment to keep moving and to continually work at becoming stronger, to see if I can keep certain conditions at bay. I pray she gets stronger, physically and emotionally. We all have our burdens - some are more evident than others. I have come to realize that if I need something - reassurance, affection, encouragement...whatever it may be, it is better to be blunt than to be coy. I just don't have the energy to play those kind of games, or to be played.
On a completely different note, the last week and half have brought changes in my family that have required a lot of emotional energy and I want to sit down and sort some of it out in a blog, when I get the chance to have some uninterrupted time to write. But, in the meantime, I wanted to post a blog to reconnect since I haven't had nearly as much Sparktime as I would like.