When someone approaches you with the words “Don’t take offence at this” or “I’m sure I don’t have to tell YOU this” — take my advice! Turn and run the other way and don’t look back because NOTHING that is to follow is going to be good or kind.
It happened to me on Christmas night after a lovely dinner at my sister's.
A guest came up and said this to me. “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this . . . you know you’re fat. That dress is cute. I used to wear one like it as a maternity dress.”
And with that my Christmas was ruined.
I choked back tears and pretended I didn’t take offence and then went into an Academy Award winning act of being perfectly fine.
You know how that goes right?
You paste on a smile and laugh a little too loud at the jokes.
I’m surprised my tongue still works with all the biting of it I was doing.
Then, when I was alone, I went into the fetal position and I cried.
Gone was any semblance of a self confident woman. I was taken back in time to that little girl in grade 4 who had just received a new winter coat — red and green plaid with a hood — I thought I was stylin’ until someone called me “chubby.”
I never felt good in that coat again.
Or the party I attended in my twenties, after having lost 30 pounds, only for some woman to come and say, “Well, I see you never miss a meal.”
Flash forward to my thirties to what should have been a very happy time.
Wedding dress shopping.
Most little girls dream of that day when you get to pick out the gown of which fairy tales are made.
However, there was not much variety at the stores I was looking in at the time.
I’ll never forget the salesperson saying, “We have nothing that will fit you — maybe your sister can try them on for you so you can see what they might look like!”
That thud you just heard was my dream crashing to the floor.
Believe me when I say anyone who struggles with weight does plenty of self-loathing.
There is no lack of negative self-talk. There is no need to pile on.
Words have tremendous power.
They hurt. Try not to use them as a weapon.
I have thought a lot about this since it happened and realize I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to cause a scene.
I didn’t want to further embarrass myself nor upset my party hosts.
I heard Michelle Obama in my head saying “when they go low, we go high” although to be honest I was contemplating whether or not a good swift kick would hurt more if it landed low or high!
However, now, I’m not so sure letting these offenders off the hook is the right thing either. It is body shaming and it is not okay. No matter how it is framed — it is insulting and its totally unacceptable.
Surely, no one would go up to someone and say: “You are ugly” or “your hair is frizzy” or “your essence is that of a skunk."
That is simply not done in polite society.
I also do not agree with letting people off the hook because of whatever excuse: “They’re old” or "they’re young” or "they were raised by wolves” or “they’re nuttier than a fruitcake.”
I don’t care what their issue is. Rude is rude and we should not have to accept it. I no longer intend to.
So, in future — insult me at your peril.
And while I am at it — don’t insult my cat either — he is perfect the way he is.
We would rather be big boned than small-minded.