An ER doc and I were talking one day when he started to tell me about an obese woman who was admitted to the ER wearing a thong in lieu of whatever granny panties a woman of size "should" properly wear so as not to offend him. I hate these conversations. They always feel like a breach of doctor patient confidentiality. You see an ER doctor on the worst days of your life. The last thing you need to add to that horrible mix is to feel like they are going to gossip or judge you. So in this story he is telling me how his patient is wearing a thong and how "fat women should not be allowed to wear a thong - EVER."
Why was this an OK thing to say to anyone? Or even out loud? Why was it OK to say to your fat friend? How could you not see the irony of a fat dude telling me this story? Why did you think it would be funny to me, or anyone really? How did you not see the barb buried in that? That somehow as a person of size, I/she are not allowed to do something that makes us happy for fear it offend someone who might, on the worst day of my life, see it. I say FUCK THAT!
Why should she not wear a thong? Maybe it makes her feel different? Sexy even? Given the ten zillion things that our culture does to make people of size feel invisible, she is entitled to do something that counteract that, to wear whatever the hell she wants on her body WITHOUT BEING JUDGED FOR IT. I'm sure she didn't get up and tell herself that today was the day she's going to the ER so she better snap on the thong. And even if she did - so fucking what?
If I said this, he would tell me that he meant it to be a funny story and that I am basically a humorless bitch for calling him on it. I can be a humorless bitch. But in this case, not so much. There just isn't anything funny there.
The thing is, he's far from alone. I have gay friends who will rip someone to shreds over their weight then turn around and complain about people who treat them poorly because of their sexual orientation. I have friends pursuing an alternative spiritual path that will denigrate organized religions one minute and then complain in the next about how they are treated for their own religious/spiritual choices. Yet, no one seems to see the absolute irony in their behavior. They don't feel inclined to step up and show the way. We have become a world full of victims demanding the bullying stop, but unwilling to stop ourselves when we are the bully. Because "Hey, I didn't mean it to be anything except a funny story so stop overreacting."
I'm not sure when it became OK to tear people apart for their clothing choices, to photograph them and laugh about it. Under that wifebeater with the man boobs strolling the aisles at Wal-mart, under that thong wearing fat woman in the ER, under the young woman with the severe muffin top are human beings. I wonder what we might do that would support and include them rather than berate and bully them? How might I feel better if I didn't have to worry about the gossip of my ER doc about coming in commando? How might I try to remove judgmental bullshit from my own language?
I know the two things are linked and that the bullying won't stop until we all learn to stop judging others by our imaginary yardstick and finding them wanting? So this week I am going to stand up to this kind of thing when I hear it and I am going to work on changing that in the only place I can - inside me because I can be just as bad as that ER doc.
There's been so much twisting through my brain these last few days. I hardly have time to recognize a delicious thought I want to devour before it slithers on. They're coming at me pretty rapidly and I feel overwhelmed in my lack of focus. I guess I hope somewhere that they are registering and will get coughed up later, a cud for me to re-chew.
Yesterday one of my deep friends posted #4, something to the effect of - when you are in your groove and shooting out vibes to attract people on a similar wavelength, you are also repelling those not on your wavelength. Sometimes that can make people feel yucky and lash out. Cutting ties is the best way out. Sometimes we get the clean surgical cut. Sometimes we have to saw at it with a busted pop bottle until it finally frays and snaps.
Recently, this has come up with my family more and more. My mom has Alzheimer's. I try to make choices based on what's best for her and not what's easiest for me. Certainly NOT what's easiest for someone else. Or prettiest. Or least emotional. I make every decision based in love and love is a beautiful messy emotion. If I can't handle what needs done, I have the equivalent of the Avengers superheroes to back me up. These people are here for the same reason, operate in much the same way and we trust each other's judgment implicitly. Outsiders may never understand why things are this way. They don't have to. Only I have to deal with the person who lays their head on my pillow at night and reviews the parts of the day that were done well on and those that could use improvement.
I have a SIL who's a crazy, extroverted, bully and isn't afraid to shove you repeatedly into her one-size-fits-all mold no matter how much of you she has to slice off to get you in there. Usually verbal angry slicing, the kind that leaves scars. For years, I have let my introverted self be herded by her, but something has changed and I can't stand that anymore. My usual laidback nature gets all FUCKYOU in her presence. I let it be that way for a while, but that FUCKYOU energy is a hard one to hold onto without being consumed. I am trying to let it go. I no longer feel connected to her or her family. And I like it this way. I'm happier for it.
The irony is that the more I let go, the harder she tries to shove me back into her OSFA mold. She can't seem to see how she's destroying things. She doesn't recognize that her goal is destined for failure. It can be annoying, but it's no longer scarring. I hold on to me, to who I am and I feel good. She drifts further and further away. And that's OK.