At the beginning of my weightless journey, a complete stranger told me, in summary, ” you are to fat for that face”….whaaaaat, excuse me?! O-yes, she did say that! Let me share with you how she became one of my closest friends and the power of a genuine and honest and well intended comment.
One day, as I stood in front of my class of thirty students, the substitute para educator (teachers aid), spoke a painful truth out loud to my face. A truth I had thought in my head many times but never imagines the sting of hearing out loud from the mouth of a stranger.
This curly-haired, strawberry blond woman, with the most contagious smile and bold presence said to me,
” You should joint weight watchers.”
….. ummmmm excuse me? I thought,as I stood in stunned silence. She continued on,
” I go, and lost 50lbs so far. You should join.”
I could feel the heat in my cheeks, I was ready to snap at her about how rude, she is heavier than I am, who is she to judge me, the nerve…when she spoke a truth that cut to the bone.
“You have such a beautiful face, I bet when you walk past your reflection you think ‘ o-my god, this body does not match the reflection I see in the mirror, who put my head on this fat body’ “.
Now, in this moment I could have permanently placed her on my shit list and avoided her at all cost (as much as possible when she assists in my classroom at least).
Instead, I said ” ya, sure.. maybe” and turned around in hopes that she and my thirty teenage students wouldn’t see the tears escaping my eyes… because I knew she was right! She wasn’t trying to be mean.
Her comment, blunt as it may have been, was true. I had done such a good job of hiding behind my weight that in my reflection, I no longer saw the witty, confidant, intelligent woman I once was. I saw a sad, insecure woman who let fear and pain suppress all the things that once made me proud to be me.
I had already made up my mind to change my diet in order to be the best me for my daughter, but it was her “brutal truth” that resulted in my deeper reflection on what being the best me meant. This is when I saw the big picture, I had to do more than make a physical change. I had to engage in a mental and physical change. For me, this was the key to my success, in health and going forward in life.
A few weeks later she was in my classroom again. She promptly said
” I haven’t seen you at Weight Watchers, you should really do it”.
This time, I smiled at there and agreed to go.
In our time at weight watcher, and teaching together she became one of my very closest friends. I quickly learned that blunt and straight forward, without apology, is the core of who she is. You get what you get with her, the warmest heart with the best intentions and nothing but the truth! It is actually one of the things I love most about her, in addition to her robust laughter.
We have shared our journey together both losing over 100 lbs, sharing in the platos, set backs, hurdles and victories.
Perhaps there is a gentler way to go about it… but, don’t hesitate to encourage those you care for to take care of themselves. To me it was about so much more then my size. She saw a strength and potential in me, that I had long stopped believing in. She saw a woman we desperately tried to hide behind her weight unable to face the attention that might highlight the pain and heart ache buried deep within.
When you believe in someone, when you see potential and strength being downplayed, start the conversation. You may never know how much the appreciate it!
Thank you Charlotte! You changed my life in so many ways far greater and more significant than my size… and you were there to stand by my side as I overcame each trial and challenge. Cheering me on as genuinely,bluntly and courageously as you called me out on hiding behind me weight.
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