I dropped by to visit with some friends a little while ago. They’re leaving the Keys soon and I don’t know when I’ll next see them. They, like all of my friends, have been so supportive of me in these last few months. They have another friend elsewhere who is morbidly obese and struggling. The guy said to me something that resonated. “I’ll love you no matter where you are with your weight, but I’m awfully glad that you’re working so hard to get healthier so you’ll be around that much longer.”
I know that the root of most people’s concern for me has always been my health. My family and friends have loved me no matter where up or down the scale I sat. That has always meant so much to me, and continues to touch my heart and soul. I wish the rest of the world was always so supportive.
Early wounds inflicted by unkind, even cruel, people stay with us a lonnngggg time. Unless I get dementia when I’m older, I will never forget the jerk in high school who would yell, “Thar she blows” loudly across the school campus whenever he caught sight of me. I won’t say that he singled me out because he really was a jerk and came up with equally rotten things to say about other classmates who didn’t fit his ideal.
He’s just one example. Those kinds of abusive, mean-spirited statements made an impact and added shape to my character in good and bad ways. I learned to echo ridicule in my head when I thought about my own body. It got to the point where I could be as derogatory to myself as anybody else, if not more so. I’m still unraveling the damage and will need to continue to do so every step of the way. I sincerely hope that I will be able to accept myself and truly see my body in the way that it is, rather than cart around the old pictures even when I’m far thinner.
The other way the unkindness impacted me is that I don’t ever want to be that cruel to another person. Whether I meet someone who’s obese, or incredibly thin, someone who’s missing a limb or has a facial deformity — whatever the case, I am determined that my reactions and interaction with them will not be affected by their body shape and outside appearance. I want to offer them unconditional acceptance. Truthfully, that is exactly what they deserve. What every person deserves.
Even me. :-) I’m committed to extending unconditional acceptance to myself. My body’s experiencing changes all of the time. It’s getting better day by day. I’m going to love myself unconditionally today and tomorrow, and then every day after. Even when the excess skin left by the weight loss begins to hang in drapes around my body. (Oh yeah. I fully intend to have plastic surgery to remove the problem when the time comes.) No matter what I will show myself this respect and be a better, healthier person because of it.