The first one: Earlier this year I was at the eighty pound point in my effort to lose weight. My brother and sister-in-law dropped by, said how proud they were of me, and when I mentioned there would always be a lot of extra skin and that I wouldn't magically turn into Salma Hayek, their response was that it didn't matter as long as I was healthy and felt good. I felt great after their visit. It was nice to think there were people in my corner. A few days later, I called my grandmother, who is weight and looks obsessed. I told her how much weight I'd lost. Silence. I joked that I could probably glide like a flying squirrel with the excess skin. At that point, Grand snapped, "Your brother says you look horrible and need a lot of surgery."
Second sitch: Someone I don't know and never heard of before they started appearing all over Facebook made a video where she acted out almost every mean thing any fat person has ever heard anyone say. (Almost. It wasn't a complete list, she left out the ever popular, "I'm gonna knock ten pounds of fat offa yew!") She also said a lot of things I said to myself, things that were, to be honest, kind and real and true. These were talking points that no one had a right to say to me but me, my mother, and my closest friends. Anyone else? Face it. You're concern trolling.
How did I initially respond to those two situations?
The first one: I cried. I sank into a depressive funk that lasted a couple of weeks where I slept for eighteen to twenty hours a day. My blood glucose climbed to dangerous levels, I gained eight pounds, and had stress headaches that lasted for days. There is a simple reason for this. Even though this was one of many incidents like this, I (thought I) knew those people and cared what they thought of me.
Second sitch: "Hunh." Okay, I did sit down and write a note to Nicole Arbour on her Facebook page and mention that she made some good points, the same points I made to myself, but shaming and humiliating people, no matter how much they need to change, never works. And that was that, or so I thought.
More than one friend on Facebook was very upset by what I wrote on Arbour's page, so much so that they sent me messages about my post. I went back and deleted it. I'm not sorry for deleting the message, some of my friends were really hurt by what she said and felt betrayed that I wasn't angered by the video. Here's all I can tell you about Nicole Arbour and her video: She's pretty, judging from her accent, she's from Canada, and I think this is another case of somebody having a lot to say and not thinking it through well enough before they turned on the camera. Is she a cruel person? I don't know and really? I don't care.
What I do care about is why so many beautiful women and men -people I love- are giving this person so much power over how they feel about themselves. Remember the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, the one that was so beaten to death that many of us actually started arguing against it? Indulge me for a moment and let's revisit that famous statement one more time:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
So here's the thing...Family, friends, and in some rare cases, people whose work I admire have the ability to hurt me. They can do that because I care about them. Their words and feelings matter. As much as I care about them, I care about me, too. That means I'm not going to be cruel to someone who has abused my trust, but it might be a long time before I trust them again or I might always love them, but never really trust them enough to let them back into my life.
Nicole Arbour and I are not even on each other's radars, nor should we be. If she isn't a friend of yours or a close family memeber, she shouldn't be on yours, either. I wouldn't even give her this much thought except -like I said- her words are making a weird psychic dent in people who matter to me. So before you watch that video again or revisit the rebuttals, ask yourself what you're getting out of that line of discourse. Please remember that for every Nicole, there are people like me in your life who know you. We, I , well we, get what she's missing. You're pretty darned great and your friends are lucky to have you in their lives.
copyright 2015 Jas Faulkner/ZenDixie.com