This past week has been filled with so many ups and downs it is hard to know where to begin or how to make sense of it all.
Last week was the anniversary of the day my mother gave birth to me (her words). I was so busy with getting ready for the retreat, work and other stuff that I seriously almost missed my birthday. How’s that for busy?
The retreat weekend was amazing, as usual. If you haven’t been to a retreat, I highly recommend it, I’m not just saying that, I still get a ton out of them, and I’ve been to A LOT. Even Ann Esselstyn sits in the back and takes notes, even on Dr. Esselstyns talks.
I gave 2 talks during the weekend. One is called “Survival of the Fattest” in that talk I go through the evolution and genetics of obesity and being overweight and how it is not what most people think it is. I also tell my own story and I explain how to adjust our idea of what success is. In the second talk “Thin by Tomorrow”I go over the unrealistic expectations people have when it comes to health and weight loss, and talk about what can actually be done in a realistic sense, rather than an over-hyped sense. I also go through calorie density and label reading.
They take a lot out of me. I mean, a lot. I don’t like getting on stage for about a billion reasons. I am afraid people will think I don’t belong up there (something I talk about in my talk). I worry that I am too fat to be on stage. I worry what people think of me as a speaker. I worry if I wore the right thing, put on the right lipstick. I worry that I might not communicate the right message somehow.
Without getting into the specifics – so far at each retreat my talks get really high ratings, like way more than I ever would have imagined, it’s a very nice compliment.
This week I got a few really hateful e-mails about how I did not belong on the Engine 2 Team, that I should leave, and that is recapping them very lightly. They were awful and hurtful and honestly a bit shocking. It wasn’t opinion, it was bullying.
Despite all of the encouraging things people say to me, the negative seems to stick out like a sore thumb and it takes me a while to get those messages out of my head.
I’m fully aware that I don’t look like the team, and that I have a lot of progress to make when it comes to weight loss. And I think that is what makes it a great fit. No one is “done” when it comes to their health journey. No one is perfect. We should all be proud of where we are, no matter where that is. This is not about an end goal, it’s about living a healthier life and moving toward a path of wellness. That will always be a constant for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m at my ideal weight or 100 pounds over it, my only true goal is to keep becoming a healthier person.
It might not line up perfectly with what other people think, but I’ve stopped concerning myself with that as much. I know what I need to do, and I know how hard I work at it.
Sometimes the words people say can hurt and sting more than they probably know. I’ve gone through so much because of my weight, that sometimes I would very much like to lock myself inside and not come out till I’m at an ideal weight.
This was very much the case on Tuesday night. Tuesday night I decided to go to the movies. I was going to watch an Italian documentary at a downtown theater. I parked my car, and realized I was early, so I thought I’d walk around.
I walked down the ramp of the parking garage, and I was on a side street that was pretty empty. This is when 3 college age, drunk guys started to harass me. They were calling me names, and then started throwing stuff at me. I walked faster. I knew that if I could just round the corner there would be a couple of stores that I could run into.
They kept it up, calling more names, throwing more things. I didn’t want to stop to even take out my phone at that moment.
I turned the corner, as they got closer, making more threats and saying really horrible things. Then, a man who saw what was happening stepped in and told them to back off. The guy who stepped in made sure I was ok, and told me to call the police, which I did.
The guy waited with me till the police got there. They took a report, took me back to my car and I went home, completely shaken.
I would like to tell you this is the first time something like this has happened, but it is not, nor do I imagine it will be the last.
And let’s be honest, the people who have sent me really mean e-mails are no different than the drunk guys who were harassing me on the street. The pain caused is the same. Because someone causes pain behind the safety of their computer screen does not make them any less of a bully.
A lot of people think it is ok to put down overweight people, make fun of them, hurt them, say awful things. None of it is ok. People, no matter what their size should be treated kindly. Look at the comment section of ANY article talking about weight loss and you will see all of the hateful and hurtful things people say about obese/overweight people. A lot of assumptions of how people become overweight and then a barrage of hurtful words.
It’s such a sad problem in our society that anyone has to deal with it. I am sad that even at 36 I still have to worry about what others will say or do, all because I’m overweight. I’ve spent so much time crying, hiding and contemplating if I belonged here, all because of bullying.
Last night, after feeling really down for a few days, Rip and his wife invited me over to their place to hang out, have some dinner, sit around the fire pit. I realized how amazingly fortunate I am to have met this family. I can’t even begin to explain the love and compassion they have, and when I say family I mean the entire team. They all love without abandon. And they accept people in ways that I did not think were possible. They meet people where they are, there is no judging, they come from a place of understanding. I’ve never felt like I belonged, until I joined this team. And last night, while sitting around the fire, that was even more apparent.
Despite everything inside of me wanting to hide from the world right now, despite questioning if I belong where I am. I decided that it would just let the bullies win, and I’m not about to do that.
The world can be a mean place, but I believe that the more we work toward putting a little love and compassion into it, the better it will all get.
I’m choosing to have grace. Even with the people who have hurt me, whether they do it intentionally or not. To me, that’s the only way to go.