Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On choices, and judging.

I went to El Paso  a couple weeks ago with Sweet Baboo, where he was officiating at a local sprint.  When you officiate out of town, they put you up in a hotel.  I had tried to sign up for the sprint, but it was already closed, so I hung around the hotel while he was at the event.

The hotel, a decent one, had a hot breakfast.  Being as I ran 13 miles the day before, and was due to run 26 miles the day after, I helped myself.  You bet I did. 
It made me wonder what people thought.  I know that if I was still 194 pounds, there would be that judging.  No wonder she's so big.  Look at how she's eating.  What did they think now? 

There was this article, recently, about a woman who lost 100 pounds.  I already knew what the world thought, because I grew up with a mother who had been morbidly obese most of my life.  She didn't start losing it until after her heart failure was diagnosed. 
I heard the things people said, when they didn't realize I was her daughter.  I saw how they looked at her.  I heard the things they said - even when they knew I was.  Is your mom having a baby?

And, I saw how they looked at me, in my thirties, when I gained over 60 pounds.  It wasn't an overt thing, their attitude.  But coming from a background of being a so-called "normal" weight, I noticed the difference.  Store clerks ignored me. People stopped moving aside when I walked through a crowd. People didn't meet my eyes. 

I would lean over counters at places like the dry cleaners as counter people attended to others who had come in after me.  "Excuse--excuse me.  Excuse me?  Can someone help me, please?"

I know a couple of people who are less than kind when they talk about those who are overweight.  They say this to me, even knowing my history.  When I point this out, they're quick to say, oh, but you're different, Misty.  You had complications.  or, But you're different.  You finally did something about it.  I also hear the comment, and maybe I've made it, too: If you're not willing to do something about it, you don't get to bitch about it.  

Really? Because I bitch about traffic, and yet there I am, contributing to it.  I bitch about lots of things I don't do anything about.  

My story was somewhat complicated, but in the end, I figured out what worked and what I was, and was not, willing to do.  It wasn't easy; it was hard.  But it was my choice.  I would never impose it on someone else. 

Those who know me best know about the visits to the doctor, thyroid medication adjustments, the various diets tried, the sadness, the dispair, the self-loathing, the antidepressants, the tearful mornings and "secret" binges. Dread Pirate could tell you about the hundred times I emailed her during the day.  OMG, I'm so big.  I'm so slow.  I hate looking in the mirror. 

So, this is my life now: counting points, and earning points by running.  I guess I'm willing to do it, because I've slowly gotten used to it, and it's meaningful to me in order to have the self that I want.  There will be many more times in the future when I deny myself things, or have a bite only after considering the alternatives, and whether or not I can burn those calories.    

There are some out there who shrug and say, "I'm not giving up food I love."  or, "I'm not running that far - that's crazy."  That's fine; it's their right to think and do that. I just hope I'm not judged as some sort of zeolot because it's not my choice.  But the comments I've heard, and read, say they do. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what others should, or should not do, about their weight.

What am I trying to say here.  Hmm.  

Fat, and weight, and loss, are just a small sampling of the choices people have to make, and the difficulties they face.  There are others.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't judge.  They're people.  Don't be so quick to judge, to make assumptions, about the choices others make.  You don't know them. 

Regardless of whether they are among the people who have made one choice or another, those choices are never as easy; they will never be as easy as you think they are.  Their journey  is not a simple as you imagine it to be.   Their lives are never as straightforward as you suspect.

Everyone has a story.  It's sometimes useful to know the story.  But more often than not, it's more useful to just know that there is a story, and to forgive others for not making the same choices you made.  

So.  Slight change of topic: where do I go from here?  I stepped on the scale early last week and got a 149.6 pound result.  The I started carb loading, and it crept up over 150 again, for now.  But still: there it is.  It's coming.  What will I call the Athena Diaries then? 

I guess the answer to that is, Athena wasn't the goddess of weight.  She was the goddess of war, and wisdom.  She represents strength, and victory to me.  I'll always be an Athena one way or another. 

Meanwhile, the journey continues.


  1. Very well thought out and well put. I especially agree with you about your closing statement. Regardless of weight, you will always be a true Athena! :)

  2. Those are great thoughts and I will do my best not judge and remember that there is always a story. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Indeed, there is always a story. Great post...very well written. Goddess of war and wisdom, I like that :)

  4. "Don't be so quick to judge, to make assumptions, about the choices others make. You don't know them." Well said.

    I have been and always will be there. The battle is never ending and will continue FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.

  5. I. Love. This. Post.

    You are a fearless Athena and always will be, but maybe with a touch of Aphrodite now too because you seem to have have a self love and inner beauty - a wonderful thing.

  6. Well done! We are all guilty of judging people at one time or another and it's great to be reminded that we don't need to bring others down just to make ourselves feel good! Thanks for this post!

  7. Your blog always reminds me of a t-shirt my daughter has that says "Athena is my home-girl"... I love that shirt!

  8. Nice Blog post!! You look great and its through hard work and dedication!! You are an Athena!

  9. I have been judged in the past and am sure to be in the future. I am also guilty of judging people. While I'm not trying to defend that, I think that judging others is sometimes a coping mechanism to help with our own stories and situations. Not condoning, just saying. But each of us also has the power to build one another up, and that power should definitely not be used sparingly!

  10. So what I hear you saying is...don't judge the judgers! ;-) That's fair. I know that some people vent and need to vent. I guess for me it all comes down to people who do it in a mean-spirited way, saying things that hurt others.

  11. I can always find others besides overweight people to "judge" if I decide to do so.
    Some of my best buds/co-workers are overweight. Do I like them less for it? Hell no. I think I have been an influence on what they eat and many have started to exercise when they hear about what I do for fun. (and I don't talk about it often...only when I have to tell them I will be missing a day of work).
    I too have been invisible...maybe 'cause of my being not overweight? Probably not...probably because whomever was supposed to be paying attention to me at the time was/is an idiot and had nothing to do with my body type. I don't care what other people say about me-if they judge me or not. It's part of being old.

  12. Thanks Misty. :)

  13. Absolutely beautiful post. It is so true that the stories behind people's choices are never as simple as we'd like for them to be to make ourselves feel better. Thanks for the reminder that a little more kindness - to ourselves and to others - can go a long way.

    Congratulations on all your hard work and re-defining the Athena in you!

  14. Love this post! Even though I have been fat earlier (and worked it off just like you through running), I still find myself making judgements sometimes about other large people. Shameful. You are such an inspiration!
    On a lighter (haha, no pun intended) note... Should you miss your lost weight, you could always invest in some of these to remind yourself:
    Hugs, Helen

  15. I've seen the invisible thing too, but it seemed to be associated with youth (and perceived lack of money). Once I was over 35-ish, I got a lot more attention from shopkeepers. Your message of tolerance is valid though.

    I felt very sorry for everyone I saw at the Denny's where we ate dinner Friday night. All were seriously overweight, and I overheard one poor girl talking to her father about trying to learn how to eat until she is full and not overeat, and it was just so tragic to think that so many people are at constant war with their bodies. It's not a choice, IMO, they don't even have a choice because they don't understand what drives their hunger. As long as high fructose corn syrup or sugar is a significant portion of your calories, you are guaranteed never to feel satisfied. I hate that they look at me as if I am somehow blessed with normal weight when I used to be like them too. So I don't judge but try to educate.

    Athena was a good goddess. I see her in you :).


  16. LOVE! IT!
    Awesome post, Misty!

  17. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Nice post. I get stuck judging sometimes because I think I forget how hard it was to take those first steps. What I try to get across to everyone I talk to is that I didn't burst out of the womb as an Ironman - that journey started at 41. But then they all start to come up with their excuses and I want to shake them. My ego and I, a couple years ago, thought we could change everyone we met but I like to think I'm more "you go girl" now rather than "GO GIRL".

    I'm glad WW is working for you - I've used them successfully in the past but needed the triathlon lifestyle to hold onto the size I ended up as. I the program works as best as any commercial diet and I still count points in my head sometimes.


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