In the last year I have been the focus of way too many awkward and or annoying situations. What I mean by focus is that my appearance, my chosen job, my education level and my choices in parenting have elicited a reaction from not only family members, but perfect strangers.
And it has made me realize that I can’t even understand humanity. Have people always been this atrocious to each other, or am I just noticing now? Have people always confused rude with overtly opinionated and narcissism with confidence?
My life situation in the past couple years has changed drastically; not once but on a pretty consistent basis. I got pregnant, lost it, got pregnant and stayed pregnant, was completely useless for 28 weeks with all the nausea and vomiting, lost my mom, had my daughter, sold the house (whole process took less than 2 months), moved into a 2-bedroom apartment while our new house was being built, moved into that house and here we are.
In that short 3 years, my weight has fluctuated from 115- 180. Then when Charlotte turned 2, my weight was at it’s lowest. I can’t even look at the pictures from her birthday party; it depresses me to see my body so depleted. I guess the breastfeeding, stress, anxiety and depression had finally taken its toll on me and it was visible to the world. Everyone, from family to strangers, has had something to say about my weight. Comments ranging from the basic deer in the head lights look to oh my God is everything ok? Oh, and “why are you so skinny” made an appearance a time or fifty.
I am not sure why society deems it ok to comment on a thin person’s appearance and not ok to comment on over weight people’s appearance. I have never heard anyone say to another person, “wow, you look so different, you have gained so much weight. Is everything ok?” Nope. Would not occur, at least not in my circle. But if you replace gained with lost then you get an average comment I address on a consistent basis.
The real tragedy here, is that thin individuals dealing with stress, anxiety and depression take this way too deeply and it has such a negative affect, when it wasn’t intended that way. Our weight loss is usually connected to our disorder, and drawing attention to a symptom an ill person is experiencing is really just inappropriate. I don’t need a wake-up call, I can see my clothes hanging off of me, just like I can feel my face grow red with anxiousness and shame. But I appreciate your concern laced with rudeness.
Another societal norm I can do without is that women are supposed take attention paid to them and sexual advances as compliments. What if I don’t feel like being called pretty or hot, or have attention paid to me based solely on my looks. I do not feel that just because someone finds me attractive I should welcome any comments or advances. I should what, be happy I was noticed for my appearance?
An employee of a home pest team we use made an inappropriate and flirty comment to me while we were outside in the yard… in front of my daughter. It was a lame attempt, and he was no threat, but the big picture is that it is not ok to make anyone feel uncomfortable because you think that your flirtatious comments are welcome and will somehow make me feel special or happy in some way. I absolutely do not want my daughter growing up in a society that allows men to make shameless comments to her because she is nice to look at. This should quit being normal behavior.
By the way, here was the dialogue, “Man I am hot! I don’t really like to spend much time out when it is this hot, that is more my husband. He is the outside parent,” with a nervous laugh.
He squeezed in “Yea you are,” when I said man I’m hot.
Then complete silence. The same guy came back out when we had another issue, and he looked quite let down when I did not share his excitement about seeing each other again.
Ready for another? Another societal normalcy that I think can go fly a kite is that education means working professional. Yes I went to school with the intent of getting into my dream career. It just so happens that my dream career keeps morphing into something new, just like I do. I am getting really sick of telling my guest at the restaurant I work at what my “plans are after this.” Why does society still assume that the food service industry is made up of individuals that can’t make it anywhere else, or are working there as a step to another job. If you are not management you must be a societal maggot. Ok, maybe that is a stretch. But seriously, some folks that provide you service while you dine out do so because they want to, not because they have to. Simple. Stop projecting your ideas of what I should be doing with my life onto me.
Get a grip, people. I choose to do MANY things with the one life I have. It is very fulfilling and I highly recommend it.
And lastly, a family can be complete with one child. And that child can be female.
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