Sunday, August 7, 2011
I have a weight issue. My issue is that people feel that my weight is a topic for discussion. It's not. If I should happen to bring it up, which is highly unlikely, then it might be something you could comment on. But I won't so don't.
I don't talk about my weight but it seems that other people feel the need to talk about it whenever the mood strikes them. And most often their assessment of my weight is completely at odds with reality.
This little rant has been developing in my brain since yesterday when a good intentioned friend suggested that I had gained weight recently. In fact, I have lost weight recently.
My weight is not something I obsess about but it seems that others are more than willing to obsess about it for me. This winter my weight noticeably shot up over a few short weeks- something I discussed with my doctor. Note to weighty commentators- my weight, other people's weight, your own weight should only be part of a conversation you have with your doctor unless of course your an athlete performing in a weight category. But that goes without saying- doesn't it?
So my friend mistakenly told me that it looked like I had gained weight and was looking healthier these days. Not only do my skinny pants fit but I feel like hell- completely fatigued. And in point of fact I don't know anyone, no matter their size that actually wants to hear, 'Hey, it looks like you have gained weight.' Even the skinniest people I know balk at the thought of a few extra pounds. Who is supposed to receive this comment in a positive manner?
In my late teens and twenties it was always my grandfather that kept a running commentary on my weight. On one visit home he'd say I had gained weight, the next he'd say I looked too thin. The funny thing is I wore the same pair of jeans for 15 years, he usually saw me in those jeans and I can't imagine how he could have seen any slight fluctuations that may have occurred over the years.
When I went to Asia I looked forward to being tall; that didn't happen. Instead one of the first adjectives used to describe me by a Thai seamstress was big. At the time I was working out in the gym three hours a day, had just completed a certificate as a personal trainer and was in the best physical shape of my life- how could I possibly be big? There are some very thin people in Thailand but there are some big ones too- all in all it was another unwanted commentary on my weight.
Last week one of my students from last years' course came into my office for a little chat; he was back on campus and bored with no classes to attend. He told me that his year went well; he studied hard, got an 85 average, and spent three hours a night at the gym. “I lost a lot of weight,” he said. I hadn't noticed and even if I had I wouldn't have said anything.
I rarely notice people's weight and wish others would be as blind to this feature as I am. If they were perhaps our society would be less neurotic about food, our bodies and what we look like.
Sidebar: I don't notice height either. I used to think my ex-boyfriend was just a little bit taller than me; in fact he's a whole foot taller. I'd be a horrible police witness.
What I do notice is my own weight- when clothes fit or don't- that is all you need to know to get dressed in the morning and meet the world in all its weighty forms.
Note: the picture used on this post is part of Leonard Nimoy's Full Body Project