Mr. Brown

My office is located in a semi-residential area and right across the street live a very sweet old couple. They have lived in this house for 42 years and been married for 60 years (seriously) and a couple of times a week Mr. Brown brings us some tomatoes from his garden, or a cold soda, or something warm and delicious from Mrs. Brown’s oven. They like for us to call them Papaw and Memaw.  Don’t you love them already? I know I do.

Today Mr. Brown came over and brought me 4 tomatoes, a giant yellow squash, an onion, and a story to tell. He was awful excited to tell me that apparently I have a twin in town!

“Young lady, you’ve got a twin! I saw her today at the grocery store and she looks just like you. I even grabbed Memaw and said Who does that look like? And Memaw said Well that looks like Jill! Yes ma’am she was a dead ringer for you. She’s not quite as big as you are, but she’s got dark curly hair just like yours and she really favors your looks!” 

Yeah.

I know there was absolutely no malice behind his statement. He was just stating facts, I’m sure he didn’t mean anything derogatory by it and so I just let the comment slide and listened to him talk for a few more minutes before he said goodbye and hobbled away with his cane.

I know I have gained a good deal of weight. My pants are bigger, my underwear is tighter (seriously, the next purchase I make is going to be new underwear – sheesh!), and my reflection in the mirror is wider. I get that.

However, I guess I always felt like as long as no one acknowledged it, maybe it wasn’t so noticeable to everyone else. As long as we didn’t talk about it, it wasn’t really true and maybe I could lose the weight before anyone noticed (I never said I was the most rational person on the planet). But now it’s out there. Oh boy is it ever out there. And now I would like to find a big bear, follow it to it’s cave, and claim squatter’s rights. I WANT TO HIDE.

This isn’t the first time in my adult life that someone’s comment brought me low. Several years ago, during one of my “up” weight times, my friend’s 11 year old daughter asked me if I was pregnant. When I told her no, I wasn’t, she said “well you look pregnant. And tired and stressed. That’s why I thought maybe you were pregnant”.  Is it wrong to want to smack an 11 year old?

That comment and today’s comment make me feel sad. I’ve been trying so hard to show confidence to the world and be funny and snarky in hopes that I could cover up the shame and sadness that this extra weight has brought me, but you know what? I’m not confident right now. I can bring the funny if I need to, and Lord knows there’s always an opportunity for me to be snarky, but that’s not how I really feel. Every morning when I wake up my first thought, my very first thought of the day is “I hate it that I’m this big”. Isn’t that sad?

So I’m done. I’m done being fat. I’m joining Weight Watchers in the next couple of weeks and I’m getting started on this weight loss journey AGAIN. Because I’ll be damned if I’m going to suffer through another comment like today’s.  I. AM. DONE.

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7 thoughts on “Mr. Brown

  1. I have just downloaded all the photos from my two week holiday. Ok, I know I am big, but I’m not that big, right? Right?
    It is my birthday party tomorrow (and I am also sick) but the diet and exercise start on Monday. This time I am following through.

  2. Older people often lack a filter. I remember being in temple a few years ago and being introduced to one of my grandparents’ friends, a man in his 80s who was about 7 inches shorter than me (I’m 5’11” and was wearing heels.” He shook my hand and practically shouted, “Oh, my – you’re a BIG one, aren’t you!” Ridiculous.

  3. My weight is the first thing I think of too — it hurts to get up, my feet yell at me.

    I admire you for being so honest and putting it out there. We love you for that. I check email once in a while, but I don’t blog. However, I have similar thoughts going through my head. I just don’t want to think about it anymore. When I do, I’ve even thought (gasp) about counting calories. I’ve been too freaking busy to even think about the stuff I put in my mouth. Sometimes I don’t care.

    Sorry about Mr. Brown and the 11 yo. I’ve been mistaken as pregnant, too. Once my grandfather said something, but he said he meant it as a compliment and that I was too skinny before. There was a time DH didn’t hold back his comments, either (I did a guest post on that one — painful times).

    Well, looks like my comment entry was of no help at all — unless, of course, misery loves company. Love away!

    (Bought some new underwear last week… sigh)

  4. Jill, I’m sorry you are feeling so much pain. Your work environment is such a source of unhappiness. I hope you can get out of it soon. I don’t want you to have to put off taking care of yourself, though, until you get a new job. There will always be work stress–even good work stress, like learning a new job, is still stress. You have to carve out the energy to take care of yourself. Whatever that means, and whatever it takes.

    Are you sure WW is the answer? I understand–believe me–about searching for “the way.” I have done that all year. I am so tentative and walking a tight rope on the new plan I am on; I am pleased with where I am now, but I know that I am in a very delicate position right now, and will be for months. So, I do not claim to have all the answers, by any means. I know I am still on thin ice. But each day that I do well, it gets a little thicker.

    WW is such a tricky beast. It is the ultimate “let’s play games with our food” weight loss plan. I get the weekly weigh in accountability thing. That can help some people; but others feel guilty if they know they’ve had a gain, and they don’t go to the meeting–because the approval of the person writing down their weight on that card determines their self worth. Instead of going to a meeting when we NEED it, we hide because we are ashamed. Ashamed in the place we should be feeling nurtured and encouraged.

    And I get the “WW lets me eat like a real person” thing. But, what it usually turns into is “I can have birthday cake if it’s only 6 points, and I can eat pizza with the family because it’s only 10 points, and I can have a hot dog on the fourth of July because it’s only 12 points, and I will still be in my points range today.” I’m sure WW does a lot of good for people–and I’m not intending to offend anyone that it does work for. It’s just that for me, and for a lot of people I know IRL and in Blogland, WW is a game of how much can I get away with and still be “on plan.”

    I have joined WW three or four times over the past 15 years, and gone ONE DAY, and quit. It is just not my thing, so obviously I’m gonna diss it.

    I didn’t think it was your thing either. I still don’t think it is. I think you are searching for help, for someway–anyway–to get out of this hell you are in. Food is a drug. You are comforting yourself the best way you know how, with food. Only the food use causes weight gain and shame, and the shame results in needing more comfort, and the cycle goes round and round.

    You WILL find it in yourself to get the help you need. I’m sure you will. If it’s WW to start with, then so be it. Doing something is better than doing nothing. But don’t play the food game. It doesn’t work.

    Our inside needs to match our outside. That’s what I’ve been discovering through therapy. For the longest time, my fat outside matched my fat inside. I fixed the outside in 2007 & 2008; my inside stayed fat. Now my outside is fat again, but I’m working on the inside, too, so when my outside is thin again, then my inside will match. And then I will be off this stupid ride of weight gain and shame and misery.

    You don’t have to conquer the world in one big leap. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do it alone. You do have to face the truth, if you want to heal. Get help to face that truth if you need it–you may not even know what that truth IS for you, yet. Another diet is a bandaid. A bandaid is not what you need to heal.

    There are universal truths to what foods make our bodies healthy, but what makes your INSIDE healthy is completely individual and utterly personal. Only you can do the inside work. You don’t have to do it by yourself, but you do have to do it if you want to be free.

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