Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Digress

I know you're all on pins and needles to know what happens next in the story of my life with Hashimoto's Disease but it'll just have to wait for a bit.  I've got get something off my chest.

Reflecting on a blog post written by my cousin Tricia (whom I like to call Joyful because her middle name is Joy and she wears that name like a badge of honor), I've been thinking about all of the things people have said to me or about me that have hurt.  They may have not meant to hurt my feelings but they did.

"Wow, there's A LOT of skin in that picture" - referring to a picture of me in a bathing suit on my first cruise and first time snorkeling.  Not "how awesome you got to feed fish from your hand" or "I can't believe you got to go to the Grand Cayman Islands".  Nope, not that at all.  Just a commentary on the size of my body.

"You are inherently beautiful." - from a boy that I loved with all my heart who didn't love me back.  He also told me that he could see the skinny person inside of me.  As a side note, I was 80 lbs. lighter then than I am now.  I try not to worry about what he must think when he sees current pictures of me on Facebook.

"I know you probably don't feel this way but I'm really glad you're single - you're a great role model for my daughters in case they never get married." - a well-meaning friend from church.  Wow.  I'm glad I could be a role model for your daughters but I'd still rather be married.  Please don't be glad that I'm single.  I'm not.

Then there's the years of loving someone that could never love me the way I loved him.  Or should I say, he didn't love himself enough to believe that I could love him that much.  He did love me - loved me enough to spare me the hurt of telling me he wasn't attracted to me, but I knew.  We clicked on so many other levels that I can only guess that's why we weren't together.  Sadly, he passed away suddenly a few years ago and left a lot of words unsaid. 

I was at Costco the other day and browsing through the clothing section.  I was across the aisle from a couple of younger women and one of them held up a pair of shorts that were a large or extra-large size.  I heard her say laughingly, "look at these big Bertha shorts".   I tried to make eye contact with her but didn't.  What she said hurt my feelings.  The size I am now, I wouldn't be able to comfortably wear the extra-large size.  Yet I try my very, very hardest to not label myself as a "big Bertha".

Labels.  Most of them are lies we allow others to tell us or perhaps we even tell ourselves.  Everyone does it but we should try our very hardest to stop.  They are hurtful and damaging.  If we don't stop doing it, the next generation of little girls will believe them too and that makes me so sad.

I love what my cousin told her daughter - that "she is a beautiful, smart, funny, talented girl and that she shouldn't listen to anyone who says any differently". 

I once heard a quote that made me stop in my tracks.  It went something like this - "The things you think about yourself when you look in the mirror - would you say them to your daughter?"  IF I had a daughter, I wouldn't.

Please be mindful of the things you say to yourself, your children and to people you think aren't listening.  We don't know each other's stories.  We assume that larger women are overweight because they are lazy, eat too much or don't care enough about themselves to be thin.  We assume that thin women are strong and have the easy life because they can eat whatever they want.   All or none of that could be truth.  Every one of us has our own story.  As the old saying goes, we cannot judge a book by its cover.

I want you to know that if you've said these things to me or others, it's not the end of the world.  You're not some terrible person that needs to apologize for saying what you thought (at the time) was the right thing to say.  Just don't do it anymore.  Think before you speak.  You could be changing the way someone thinks about themselves forever.


  1. WOW. Hurtful.

    And I do truly believe food has a lot to do with our problems. And it's frightening. Because we need food to survive. But how well will we survive if we eat poorly. Now not only am I gluten free, and oat free from the gliadin says my chiro, I'm trying diary free too. I miss cheese. I know you miss your foods too. =( But it's for the better that we try to eat foods that our bodies want. Gotta tell that to ourselves when times get tough.

    But I think you are wonderful! And I enjoy our friendship and am thankful you seem to enjoy being friends with me too. You're bright. You're fun. And you're beautiful..well maybe not on the insides. Let's clean that inflammation up. =)

  2. LOL - the one time I can say I'm prettier on the outside than the inside! I'm starting to believe that our bodies want to be healthy and thin - what we do to them prevents them from functioning at their best.

    I'm also so happy technology allows us to make connections that would otherwise be lost over time. Funny how we have so much in common, huh?

  3. Les, you made me cry! You truly said things that I wish I would have said first. What a great post!

  4. Les-You know how I feel about everything you said here without me having to say anything. You also know how I feel about those two boys. But you especially know how I feel about you. :) Love you speshal!

  5. Although nobody wants to be overweight, I think unkind is worse than overweight. If I have to choose (hopefully I don't) between being skinny and being a GOOD, decent person I would choose good any day of the week.

  6. One of the best comebacks I ever heard came from Vikki. Someone called her lard ass or fatso or something like that, and she looked at them scathingly and said "I can fix that, but you can't fix stupid and ignorant". BEST LINE EVER! and its true, too. ignorant fools will always do and say the wrong thing. i love you leslie lou.

  7. Well said, Leslie. It's a very judgmental world we live in out there, and hard to separate the truths from the lies some days. But the real truth is that we are all alive in the bodies we have for a purpose. I know I am not taking care of this precious gift the way I should. Your example is awesome and I'm touched by the tough choices you are making and the success you are seeing. But nothing you do to change your outer self will ever stop me from seeing the Leslie I know: A beautiful woman inside and out who loves family fiercely and defends friends loyally and cares oh so much about being kind and lifting others and serving and sharing and making the world smile.

    I suspect the last bias the world is holding onto appears to be the bias against overweight. And yet so much of our population is dealing with it. This is one epidemic I really wish I wasn't part of, but fighting my set point and saying no to my cravings and finding time to exercise these flabby muscles are challenges I am not meeting. So people who see me don't really see me anymore. Maybe they never did. If we could only see people as they really are and not look at the way their skin shapes around their body, we would view the world in a very different way. Everyone would glow, everyone would be just perfect in our eyes. I'm trying to look through those glasses.

  8. Thank you so much leslie for saying what needs to be siad. It's so important.
    I think there are so many reasons why most people stuggle w/ weight. 1- our lifestyles have changed in this rush rush world and grab and go food has become so convenient. Unfortunately the already prepared, microwave food or fast food is packed w/ artificial colors, flavors, chemicals, synthetics, hormones, antibiotics etc. etc. that our bodies don't know what to do w/ them. So it stores them away in fat cells in order to protect our organs. 2- Our work, commute, TV and other things have kept us from going outside to run or walk or hike or bike. 3-Yes, our experiences affect our eating. Comfort food to the rescue right! 4- Medicines or conditions cause weight gain as well. They are another synthetic thing w/out a DNA that the body cannot process. 5-I think is the most immportant that you said, Our self image and the way we think about ourselves. We need to be more careful about how we talk to ourselves and view ourselves so we can care more about how we treat ourselves. It's such a battle. But you are amazing in taking on the challenge to win the fight. I have those pivital moments stuck in my brain when someone said something about my weight and it has shaped my self image. It's really hard to shape it back. The funny thing is, I see pics of me at that time and I wasn't fat! Btu I sure felt fat. I wish that time wasn't wasted feeling bad about myself just because someone else said something.

  9. I am in love with this post.

    you go girl!

    My friend linked your post to her fb. I am glad she did.

    I am a thyroid cancer survivor and darn that thyroid for not working right! It is a tough row to hoe. Just keep swimming.