Volunteering to be Weighed in Public
Friday, June 28, 2013
I am taking a CNA class. It's regressive schooling for an anatomy tutor and home health and hospice aide, but I found out it will shave 6 months off my internship time when I am in my nursing home administration program.
The teachers, both retired nurses, demonstrate skills including how to take temperature and blood pressure three different ways and how to make a really tight bed even while someone is lying in it. They use each other as patients. But when it came time to show us how to use a doctor's scale, neither one of them volunteered to be weighed in front of the class. There was a very long, awkward silence.
Most of my classmates are at least 20 years younger than I. Many are also quite a bit thinner; several are U of O athletes; many students should have felt very confident about their weight. Three women literally look like famous movie stars. But they didn't volunteer. So I stepped up and volunteered.
The teacher asked me about how much I weighed, of course, so she could slide the weights across, and I said loudly, "about 160" since I was fully dressed and it was afternoon. And I did not turn purple and think I was going to die of shame, even though a few weeks ago I wanted to beat my head against the wall because my weight has budged very little in the last several months. In fact, I felt really good precisely because I knew what had to be done - and I got it done. If I had stood petrified like everyone else, I would have been letting my body image get in the way of getting the class moving again.
And thinking ahead, who in the class will remember my weight a week from now, much less a year from now? My mother and my husband aren't in the class. Even if I had weighed fifty, a hundred, or even two hundred pounds more, who cares about the giggles of those people immature enough to giggle about it? Most people would probably STILL be grateful that someone volunteered so they wouldn't have to. A few might go home and think about why they were grateful, and maybe ponder their own body image.