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Formerly obese mom overcoming body-image issues and ailments with a healthy mix of self-depreciation and determination.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Give Yourself Prudence, and Love Your Friends


Around the six-week point of the test group, I got an email from my friend Marie, congratulating me on my success thus far and asking me how my friends and family were reacting. At that point, the reactions were mostly positive, with the exception of one cousin that seemed incapable of saying anything - positive or negative - about the test group, my blog (which I know she reads) or my results. I explained to Marie that petty jealousy comes naturally to this particular relative so it really came as no surprise that she hadn't said anything. In fact, it's become quite comical that three months later, she hasn't uttered one word in my presence, even though everyone else in my family talks about it. Sadly, she comes from a long line of women that never congratulate each other so, in her case, I don't take it personally. 


Marie said that when she went through her own physical transformation a few years ago, she was met with a lot of hostility from people she had once considered friends. It got me thinking about a conversation I had with my beautiful, British friend Lynsey. She told me that while on a diet, a "frenemy" of hers made a snarky remark about her weight loss efforts. A back-handed compliment along the lines of "Look at you...having a go at losing weight..." You know those friends that patronize you when you start to feel good about yourself? The friends that love you when you're a little down, and will kick you if you dare try to get up. They need you to stay in your role as "dowdy, but pretty-enough friend". We all have these people in our lives. I'm slowly getting rid of mine...the ones I'm not related to at least.

A few weeks ago I went to a cocktail party/book signing for a writer friend of mine.  I don't see her very often, but we get along very well and our kids love each other. At the party, I encountered a group of women, whom I only see through the writer friend, but always enjoy being around. Friends-once-removed, if you will. Much to my surprise, they sort-of snubbed me. One of them very backhandedly complemented my success by saying "I'm impressed. I wish I had time to workout but my career makes it impossible for me to budget time for exercise." She really seemed to emphasize the word 'career' as a statement of her importance. Yeah, yeah I get it. You're super busy with your important career and I'm a vain and shallow housewife with too much free time. It wasn't as if I had entered the room by busting through a poster-size photo of myself before I lost weight.

I didn't even mention the test group! All I did was show up to support a friend. Minutes after the uber-busy career woman "congratulated" me, she gathered the other ladies and they huddled in a corner with their glasses of wine while I uncomfortably shuffled around alone, until the reading started. I felt like the new kid that no one plays with.

I had been warned by Marie and a few other fit friends that this would likely happen. Even though these women are not close friends, it was hurtful to be treated as an outcast. But here's the ironic twist: this is the same group of women that high-fived me when I first lost weight with Turbo Jam. They were (I thought) super impressed when I went from a size 16 to a size 12. Some of them even bought Turbo Jam! But when I went from a 12 to whatever size I am now, they were seemingly incapable of saying anything positive.  So it was totally okay for me to go from obese to frumpy, but not okay to ditch frumpy in favor of fit? I understand that my happiness touched the raw nerve of their insecurity and jealousy, but it still really hurt my feelings.

Frankly, I'd be super jealous if my friend got this amazing opportunity. I'd like to think I would take the honest route - as several of my true friends have - and say "I'm so jealous, but so happy for you!" (And girls, you can come to my house for booty workouts ANY time!) I certainly will think twice about the way I react to news that sparks my insecurity. If you can't be happy for someone you care about, what does that say about you? What is it you hate about yourself that makes you so angry when you see your friends happy? Why is it easier for you to hate others than to love yourself?
I've wasted a lot of years caring about the opinions of people that have never really been nice to me, or happy for me. And now I can honestly say, I don't give a damn what "those types" think of me. No one should apologize for being happy. I like me! I really really like me!!

4 comments:

  1. I really am wishing we lived next door from each other now. You are such an inspiration. How could I look you in the face after skipping out on the gym to watch Roseanne!

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  2. I'm so excited for you, but sad that you're met with anything but "high five - you're a rock star!!" I'd love to say how "freeing" it is to just not care what people think, but it stinks to be ostracized like that - and no matter if they're once-remove (hilarious BTW) it still hurts. Hey - you're a TOTAL rock star to me. I'm now intent on getting me a t-shirt that says "dowdy, but pretty enough friend!" what a hoot! And just for the record - I had to go back to the career... I have a good one, too... but I'd go back to stay-home mom in a heartbeat. It's the most fulfilling, fun, and ever-so-brief gig out there. Keep up the good work, fit friend!

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  3. =) Well said Chicky ... I'm happy for you ... kinda, sorta. Oh hell, you know I am!!!

    Big Hugs <3 Diane

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  4. You should've made up a fake routine right then and there when you got the snub . . . "Oh, don't mind me, girls, I'm just going to get a head start on today's workout!" The Eff-You Workout! (Hee!)

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