Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"unnecessary roughness"

I have had a recent conversation with a friend about an upsetting situation she has dealt with. It isn't the first time, and the thing that has crushed her emotionally, is so unecessary.

It's about her weight.

She encounters mean remarks at her place of business, on a regular basis. Harsh, ugly, non-constructive putdowns, that do nothing productive. I mean, does anyone think saying "you don't look good in that because you are too fat to wear it" really helps anyone? Does anyone think she went home and skipped supper in order to hopefully lose an ounce and gain acceptance from fellow employees? And keep in mind, she wasn't at a bar in a too tight halter and a mini skirt. She was at work, in a perfectly acceptable outfit, in the correct size.

You should not have to lose weight to gain friends. Other people's meaness is directly effecting her self esteem. And although she hasn't told me this, I can't imagine wanting to go to work in an office where these things occur. You would almost have to walk in guarded daily, or I would think so.

I am sure she probably "laughs it off." But it isn't funny. I have a different good friend that had some weight loss struggles last year. I know it cracked him up all the time when we would parade down to see him, and see how much the loss was 'this time.' It was so easy to be encouraging, and to be his 'cheerleaders.' So why aren't more of us supporters instead of destroyers?

There were several people at my old office that took part in "the biggest loser" thing that Pauline had last year. Every single one of them were absolutely melting weight away, and you could see the positive attitude glow from a mile away. I loved weigh in day, they would all come back so happy about thier progress. No one in that office was ever mean about weight stuff. Not one time. We just didn't do that to each other. I don't see why more places are not like that.

I weigh more now than I have in my entire life. I need to lose some weight myself. When I say that, people laugh and say that I am not fat. Well, no, not by some standards, but to me, yeah, I am too big. I need to tone up, for sure. I have thought about that a lot lately, how much I don't want to get "big" and not fit in my clothes. But you know what? A bigger problem would be if my friends didn't care enough about me to not ridicule me over it. I would like to think my real friends would never say a word. Rosjuane and I had a good friend that was a dwarf. She has since passed away, but when she was running around with us, I can tell you this, we easily 'forgot' how little she was. It was easy to do, because when we saw her, we saw HER. Not her height, or shall I say lack of height. Just HER.
So why can't it be that way about weight?

9 comments:

Blake January 9, 2008 at 12:59:00 PM CST  

This is SO true...it should be easy for us to see the "real" person instead of seeing someone that is overweight, or too tall or too short. I also have a friend that has to go thru unnecessary hardships at work because people see her weight at times instead of who she is and what she stands for and I think that it's so unfair.

Mandy January 9, 2008 at 1:03:00 PM CST  

I just really don't get mean people. I have a person or two in my life that are fairly rude to me when I see them, for no reason at all, and it always leaves me wondering why. I've learned to just know that those people really need prayer. Like I said in a different comment on here recently, it's just truly sad that some people have such sad lives that the only joy they get is from putting others down. I've always been sort of for the underdog I guess... I hate to see someone lonely or outcast, so it's really hard for me to see anyone suffer at the hand of another. Weight is such a tough issue on its own. Trying to lose these last pregnancy pounds is really tough on me. I know how you feel.. i'm well within "normal" weight but not for me. I can't imagine if someone said anything about my weight now, much less if I truly had a weight problem. I saw a bumper sticker that is appropriate here: "Mean people suck!"

dean January 9, 2008 at 1:13:00 PM CST  

unfortunately, we live in a society that takes measure of people by what they see. that is way too easy to do because it's the first thing we notice (unless our first contact/impression is via phone or email).

problem is, there a people that are either too lazy or too shallow to go deeper than appearance. you'd like to think that the people you work with would get to know you well enough to care about your heart and personality, rather than your looks. perhaps some of these people do know your friend well, and their insensitive remarks are a misguided attempt at constructive criticism... i do not want to judge anyone's perceived motive without knowing them. but you'd think that they would at least be cognizant enough to know that your friend is well aware of her weight, and doesn't need any "well meaning" co-workers to remind her of that.

you would also think it should be easier to offer positive reinforcement rather than negative criticism, but you have to take into consideration the pre-disposition of the people giving the reinforcement/criticism... some folks are just negative by nature and are miserable in their own skin (you know, "misery loves company") so it's easier to be negative toward others around them... some folks are just positive about everything and it's second nature to be positive toward those around them.

i pray that your friend surrounds herself with the latter, and in so doing, is able to ignore the former.

Laken January 9, 2008 at 1:24:00 PM CST  

I completely agree with Dean! If our society is this way now, imagine how it will be in 20 years. Our children are going to have to deal with the negativity more than we do now.

And Little Amanda. She was a good friend of mine, too. I really miss her.

The Perry Family January 9, 2008 at 1:46:00 PM CST  

i went to school with amanda every year of school there was. we never once thought about her height. she was one of us and that was it. as far as weight, i can imagine how people are mean b/c in a job at worked at before, it was like people there wanted you to fail and see who could stay on the diet the longest. crazy. i completely agree with your comments on this subject and you are either a friend to someone who heartedly or not at all.

Mommatude January 9, 2008 at 2:27:00 PM CST  

I would say to this friend....

Be confident in yourself,you are a beautiful person.You should never judge who you are or your happiness by other people.
I would say....
People will always find "something"....If I am not overweight,then I am not smart enough,I am not pretty enough,I dont have enough money,They dont like my hair or I have a disability...
I would say...
There are a million little quips to put such people in their respective places...use them,but CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING....no one can take that away from you.
I would say...
Look around you,look at all of these people that think you are wonderful,including me ;D
~~~~~~~
Most of you know,I am "obese".I dont care what others say because I know that I am pretty dang cool,awesome,funny,beautiful,intelligent-whether I am 200lbs or 80lbs, my weight does not make this person before you.And it does not make your friend either-
So I would also say-
Know yourself,Know that you are beautiful,inside and out and keep your chin up.

jenny January 9, 2008 at 3:21:00 PM CST  

I TOO HAVE A FRIEND THAT IS GOING THROUGH THE SAME SITUATION AS YOUR FRIEND...VERY RECENT!! I CANT IMAGINE HAVING CO-WORKERS BELITTLE ME BECAUSE OF THE WAY I LOOK...A JOB IS SUPPOSED TO BE A PLACE OF EXPERIENCE AND HARD WORK NOT BY THE WAY YOU LOOK!!!

MY FRIEND WORKS HER BUTT OFF AND SHE HAS BEEN OVERLOOKED ON MANY OCCASIONS...I ALSO THINK THAT BECAUSE OF HER LOOKS SHE IS UNABLE TO ADVICE TO PROMOTIONS THAT SHE IS HAS SENIORITY OVER AND IS VERY EXPERIENCED IN...I FEEL SORRY FOR MY FRIEND AND HOPE THAT ONE DAY THESE CO-WORKERS WILL SEE HER "TRUE" SELF...

LOVE YA AND I LOVE THIS POST...

Rosjuane January 9, 2008 at 4:55:00 PM CST  

This is a great post. I know that many people deal with this alot. I have family members who go through it often. I just don't get why size matters. Especially when it's someone who takes the time to do something with themselves like dress nice. That is their way of getting you to notice something other than their size.

dean January 10, 2008 at 7:55:00 AM CST  

2 additional thoughts now that i've let this ping around in my head overnight...
1) again, without trying to come across as judgmental about the other people at this business whom i have never met... i just wonder how many of them are genuinely concerned about your friend say, from a health standpoint. it would seem to me that if there was genuine concern for her, it would be approached (if it even had to be approached at all) from that angle, rather than from the purely shallow viewpoint of how a particular outfit might look.

2) shelley, i know you don't like things to get blown out of proportion, and maybe since you never said anything (and didn't delete the comment in question:-) you never thought twice about this, but a while back you posted a pic of you and your family (during Christmas break i believe) and you made the remark that you looked like you weighed a ton. i commented on that post and purely being silly, i said something to the effect that you could have photoshopped it and made yourself look thinner. while that comment was made in jest and goofiness, after reading this post i realize that it was pretty insensitive to joke about that, especially in a public forum.

and maybe that should bring up another possibility for the actions/words of these co-workers of your friend... sometimes people's mouths are way ahead of their brains. i hope you'll forgive me for that.

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