On being huge

Me, being huge (and healthy)

Me, being huge (and healthy)

I was on my way to my weekly Weight Watchers meeting leaving three women behind me on the elevator. As the doors closed, I very distinctly and clearly heard one of them say *cough*huge*cough*.  This was not one of those situations where maybe someone said something that was misconstrued. There was no mistaking that the comment was referring to me.

At first, I was kind of confused. Huge?  Am I huge? I know that I am overweight. (I was on my way to a Weight Watchers meeting after all…) In fact, I know specifically exactly how overweight I am and how much weight I need to lose. It’s not a pretty number, but I have to say I never think of myself as “huge.” The term is relative so I suppose it’s all a matter of opinion. I also asked myself if me and my size had done something to encourage the remark. The elevator was not full, I had gotten on first and wasn’t blocking the door. It’s not like the ride was slowed down on account of my huge-ness. I certainly wasn’t doing anything undignified that we huge people ought not to be (like the often awkward looking 40-plus-year old carrying too much stuff desperate run-shuffling to catch the bus I do every other day – I might actually make fun of myself if I saw me doing that). I guess I was wearing a bright pink Lands End jacket that would probably make Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries cringe, but was that actually a reason to be snarky? Maybe I didn’t get the memo that we huge people aren’t supposed to wear pink in public.

From there, I couldn’t help thinking that those women were just plain mean. Working women mean girls. In my fantasy re-enactment of the event, I turn around just in time to stop the elevator door with my hand and defiantly say something witty and cutting like, “Did you just call me huge? At least I can actually do something about my weight. You’re going to be bitches forever…” and definitely swirl away in my fabulous berry-pink-jacket-ness and leave them shocked with the doors closing on their dropped jaws. In reality, I doubt they even realized I heard them and I was left to simply wonder what would make someone say something so mean.

I also told myself I shouldn’t care or be bothered by the comment. I was literally on my way to a meeting where I would be accepted for who I am as a person and at the same time encouraged to take steps to improve myself and my weight. It’s not like calling me weight-related names in any way motivates me to get un-huge. In fact, generally the opposite is true. If they had caught me on a day when I was already full up on my own negative self-talk, the remark might have made me cry, or added to the mountain of helplessness and self-loathing I sometimes succumb to regarding my weight. Fortunately, I was in a good mental space that day and had even shown a loss on the scale (ha-ha, mean girls, I’m 2 lbs less huge than you thought I was), so I quickly moved on with my day and my life.

But it did get me thinking. I don’t know if we truly realize the power that small words and gestures can have on other people. I’m sure those women have no idea that days later I am still turning what they said over in my mind and that it affected me enough to take it to the blogosphere. I also reminded myself that I have had some pretty positive experiences with random strangers, too.That same day when I was making my evening run/lurch/shlep towards the bus, a couple of guys got the bus driver’s attention and had him hold the bus for me. A few weeks ago someone in my office building who has seen me out training for my half marathon told me that seeing me run had inspired her to get active too.

I guess the trick is to tip the balance in favor of the positive. Because, if I’m honest, it’s not as if I’ve never been some variation of a mean girl myself. We all say inappropriate things at one time or another. Sometimes we do it to be funny, or to fit in, or we simply did not think through the implications of our words. Instead of imagining some fantastical revenge plot against those nameless women, or getting up on a moralistic high horse and pretending I’m better than them because I happened to be on the receiving end of their comment this time around, I am going to suggest a different response. Next time I hear (or make…) an inappropriate remark, I am going to find a way to put a little positive energy out in the universe in it’s place and I invite you to join me. Compliment the next person you see who’s wearing fabulous shoes. Hold the door open for a stranger. Be an inspiration to others by your actions.

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11 Comments on “On being huge”

  1. Lisa Dawson says:

    Thanks for this. That’s all. 🙂

  2. Jenny says:

    You are awesome Lyda!!!! If it were me I would have said “cough*bitches*cough”

  3. Jude says:

    well said, ex-boss =)

  4. Lyda, I just… heart you.

    I’m on a track to lose weight (again… is it the third time or fourth?), and find myself in a very bad pattern. I make comments about myself – which I suppose is fair – without thinking about those around me.

    Maybe I call myself “squatty” for example (a phrase that my partner uses to describe me and our son on the regular). In my own context, I’m taking back the word and making it my biyotch. However, who’s to say that the person next to me isn’t hurt by hearing that, especially if I happen to be slightly less squatty than they consider themself?

    I read a great quote on the Facebooks last night, via my friend Sahar:

    ““If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago.”

    – Cheri Huber, There Is Nothing Wrong with You

    ——

    And so, for today I shall practice your technique of putting good into the world whenever people are mean. Sadly, since I happen to spend my days with a gaggle of mean millenials, I’m going to have to spend A LOT of time putting out good. But I’m willing to try. 🙂

  5. Janet B. says:

    Wise words! How often do I say something “clever” not stopping to think about how hurtful it may be. I shall strive to add to the positive energy today. Thank you.

  6. Diana says:

    Glad you put this our there – courageous! Miss you, love you!

  7. Karen Wherlock says:

    Beautifully written. I don’t understand women who attack other women. I bet they’ve never run a half marathon. You’re not huge, you’re active and beautiful. Keep on running and writing!

  8. Arthur says:

    Hey Lyda…Nice Shoes!! 🙂
    Yes, I know. I miss you too.

  9. Lyda, you’re huge in talent, compassion, and awareness. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  10. ashlynsmom99 says:

    As a fellow WW’er, I totally get this. I’ve gotten the sideways looks, etc. and they can jack with our already bruised psyches.

    Sweetheart, you’re training for a freakin’ HALF MARATHON. Bitches #1 and #2 probably couldn’t run a fever. Sally forth knowing that the only thing huge about you is your awesomeness. 🙂


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