Are you bitter?

by Christine on March 29th, 2013

filed under Christine's Life Updates

This week I had an opportunity to chat with a perfect stranger about my weight loss and issues related to it. The conversation kind of came up in a roundabout way, the way these things do these days.  Usually they talk about their own attempt to lose weight, and I chime in with my own experiences, and they say, “Wow, you’ve lost over 100 pounds?” And then I pull out my phone and show them a “before” picture. Two things happen then: They either say, “Holy shit, you don’t even look like the same person!” or they say, “Awe, you look as good now as you did then.”  It’s funny how reactions can be lumped into one of the two categories.

This particular gentleman that I was speaking to, Bob, was sharing that he coaches women’s sports at his local high school. He volunteers his time coaching softball, soccer, and basketball. He said there is one young girl that plays multiple sports (it’s a small school district), and he has noticed recently that he treats her differently because of her weight. Bob gives her less playing time than the other girls. He puts her in positions that require less effort (for example, outfield instead of shortstop, etc). He forgets to even think about her when he’s coming up with drills and plans. Bob is less friendly to her in person. He said she’s a very smart girl, very sweet, with a heart of gold. And she tries very hard at all the sports. So it’s really just her weight that causes him to treat her differently. Bob wanted to know how people have treated me differently now versus when I was overweight.

I had YET ANOTHER conversation along this same line with a very dear friend of mine, who we shall call John. John is, shall we say, an adventuresome lover. He has many lovers. He finds women attractive and enjoys sex with them. But there is one woman that has made it clear that she is attracted to him, and he said he is not attracted to her…..yes, because of her weight. John feels terrible about this and feels very self-conscious about his lack of attraction for this woman. He feels like a terrible person and wants badly to be more open-minded. And yet, his attraction…it is what it is.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this more times than I can count. The one that stands out to me is a crush I had on my friend Terry. We spent TONS of time together, even slept (yes, sleep…not sex) together all the time. We had many fun adventures together. I made it clear that I liked him, and one day he was finally honest with me and said, “Look, you are a nice girl, I’m glad we are friends and spend time together. But I’m just not attracted to you. I like girls that are a LOT thinner than you.”

I was crushed. Terribly crushed. It made me hate and loathe myself even more than I did before. But at the same time, I appreciated the HONEST response. “I’m not attracted to you because of your weight” was a whole hell of a lot more honest than, “I just don’t think we’re meant to be together” or some other bullshit like that.

I shared some of my experiences with Bob, and he was very attentive. He said he feels like a terrible person because of how he treats this girl on his sports team. He said he will not forget our conversation anytime soon, that my openness and candor meant a lot to him. He said that our conversation only reinforces that he needs to do a lot better job being a better person. It was one of the nicest compliments I’ve had in a long time.

But Bob asked me, “Are you ever bitter?  You know…bitter when people are nice to you now? Bitter because people weren’t nice to you before?” 

Hmmm. Now that is a complicated question.

Yes.

And no.

Yes: I mean, of course I’m bitter that I spent some 30 years of my life trapped in a body that I did not want. A body I did everything within my power to change.  I’m bitter that, for as much as I hated myself (oh, and I did!) the way people treated me only made me hate myself that much more.  I’m bitter for all the opportunities that were lost to me: opportunities to make friends, opportunities to date, even work opportunities. I’m bitter that people judge so much based on appearances and not based on the content of your heart and soul.

And no. I’m grateful for the fact that people are nice to me today, regardless of WHY they are being nice to me. I’m grateful for the smiles I get at the corner store. I’m grateful for the little flirts and smiles I get from guys. I’m grateful that I have the chance TODAY to meet new people, make new friends, have new opportunities. I’m grateful TODAY that my life is so much better.

Throughout all these conversations, it just reinforces to me over and over how TERRIFIED I am that I’ll someday gain my weight back.  I’ve felt the change in how people treat me. I’ve felt the change in how I treat myself. Even these conversations this week just demonstrate to me that people DO treat overweight people differently. I don’t want to go back. Oh, I’m so scared to go back.

There’s one positive to all this: my husband married me when I was at my fattest. I’m SO GRATEFUL for that. Because I know that he loves me for ME, not for how I look.  And I have hope that if I ever gained weight back, he would still love and respect me. That means the world to me! I am very grateful to have him in my life.

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