Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Rant Inspired by the Moonlight (Mistress, that is)

Moonlight Mistress commented on my last post and my reply turned into a lengthy rant that seemed more appropriate as a post entry. So, thank you, Mistress of Moonlight, for inspiring this rant as I’ve needed to get this off my chest for a while. So, here goes nothing:

The comments about my weight from certain people have bothered me and I asked my husband over and over about it. He finally said, "Look! You're the healthiest person I know and by far the healthiest person among your co-workers. You run circles around them and never complain of illness or injury. WTF are they doing trying to counsel YOU on a healthy lifestyle?"

And he's right. I used to have an athletic build and I was more muscular. Plus, my weight fluctuated and I tend to carry weight and fluid retention in my face and arms. Once I started doing Bikram yoga and I changed my diet, my muscles became more streamlined and my overall appearance much slimmer. I'm so much stronger than I used to be and I often embarrass the men I work with because I'm able to lift more than them (I'm not claiming I'm stronger, but they're always injured and it's all about how you lift). Most of them are at least slightly over-weight and I don’t think even 10% of them exercise or pay any attention to their diet.

I think the thing that bothers me even more is that there is another female at work who is skinny as a rail. They don’t say a thing to her and she gives me the stink eye every time the co-worker mentions my weight. I feel like she thinks I’m doing this to garner attention. Well, in some ways I am, but not this kind of attention. I like for people to notice me in a positive way. What person doesn’t want to be complimented on their appearance and effort? I’m just baffled that there are a few vocal people (all men) that want me to know that they think I’m too skinny.

Fuck it! I’m going to rant and I’m going to defend myself right now, right here. For anyone to say that I’m too skinny, it is a statement of opinion and personal taste. There is no evidence that I am medically too skinny or in danger of being too skinny. I NEVER get sick or injured. My skin, hair, teeth, nails- all good. No signs there. I’m not anemic and no one can ever accuse me of lacking energy (I am noticeably ADHD so I’m very hyper). Yes, sometimes I forget to eat but that’s mostly due to my ADHD because:

  1. When I become hyper focused, I lose time and I find it easy to go for hours without a break (I love it)
  2. My time management skills suck so I must plan out my meals on busy days
  3. Stress (positive or negative) kill my appetite because I become hyper obsessive.

I work hard to manage my ADHD and to stay healthy. No, I don’t want a donut or cookie or brownie while I’m at work because I’ve learned that maintaining my blood sugar works wonders on my mood and stamina. I love junk food and sometimes I will have a donut but just because I don’t eat that crap doesn't mean I don’t eat. I always have a large container of fresh juice (32 oz) that I drink throughout the day (along with small meals and snacks). Many people think it’s some kind of diet drink or that I’m fasting. WTF? First of all, do they have any clue how many calories are in that 32 ounces of tasty fruit and vegetable juice? It’s loaded with natural sugar which is a great alternative to soda and caffeinated drinks. So the guy that pounds several Monster energy drinks is fine but I’m the one with the poor nutrition habits?

Here’s the thing- It’s nobody’s business, especially at my age. I have a husband and a doctor who would never ignore any health concerns they had for me. I don’t comment on other people’s cigarette smoking or the fact that a lifetime of alcohol binging is going to be detrimental to their health. If they brought it up to me or expressed concern and wanted my input, I would gladly share my honest opinion- discretely (discretion is the key).

When they see me, I’m not sad or weak or expressing concerns about my wellbeing. I’m a happy, full of energy ready-to-go chick (au natural). So what if I’m skinny? I look at my pics and see curves. I see a waist, hips, meat on my thighs and a small but decent rack. I don’t see frail and shapeless. (Please know that I respect each and every person’s personal goal- if you don’t want curves or if you like uber-skinny, I do not judge. We are all entitled to experience this journey of life the way we chose). I still see flaws and I’m still overly critical of my body, but all these healthy changes have not only improved my appearance, but it’s changed my attitude about body image. I’m happily married, my glass is always half-full, and I genuinely love life. So why are they fixated on me having a slimmer shape? Maybe it’s not about me. Maybe it’s a reflection of how they feel about themselves. I can respect that, but here’s the problem (break out the violin):

I’m lonely and I’m isolated. I don’t work full-time at any one place anymore and I do a lot of freelance work as a personal assistant for several different places. I also know people with catering, landscaping and event planning businesses so I jump around from place to place, never really getting involved in workplace politics. I love not being a part of the drama but I’m viewed as more of a transient worker- not really part of the team.

I’m on the fringe, the outskirts of the social world. A lot of my personal growth has stemmed from my transition from being in the middle of the madness to becoming the observer. Yes, I’m one of those existentialist, follow your bliss, always trying to find meaning of life kind of gal. I’m not a loner and I’m not introverted. I actually love being around people and long for stimulating conversations and meaningful friendships.

This time alone has given me great personal strength and a new found confidence, but there have been a lot of sacrifices. I don’t have any lifelong friends and those that are sort of close to me now don’t really know me. As much as I want to engage in social circles and be part of a community, I have not found the right place yet. My intuition tells me that I have more to learn as the observer and that the isolation and sacrifices keep me humble, and help me to appreciate life as well as gain perspective about others.

I could go on but I fear losing your attention so the point is this: I have limited social interaction so when I get blindsided by a remark that makes me uncomfortable (i.e., someone saying I’m too skinny and implying a problem), I don’t have anyone jumping to my defense at work. Yes, I look a lot skinnier at 125 than 135 but anyone who sees me in a bikini or yoga gear doesn’t think I’m too skinny. People at work see me fully clothed but what I hear is that I’m being told that I look bad. That I look unhealthy. For some reason, that makes me feel unwanted and ostracized.

And since I haven’t been to yoga in over a month due to working out of town without a car, I don’t get my semi-regular dose of yoga people commending me for my healthy body. I love it when new people come up to me and ask how I got into shape. I’m aware that women who are overweight are often embarrassed and intimidated by skinny girls in the workout place but I am a kind person and easy to talk to. It means a lot to me that they ask my advice and thank me for my input and tell me that I’m inspiring.

I haven’t heard that in a long time. For some reason, outside of yoga, some people think that the only way I could maintain this size is through restriction or purging or abusing a diet aid. Again, no judgment as I am not straight-edge (I drink, smoke a little green, and love to have a great time once in a while). If I hadn't found something that worked for me (mainly yoga), I would resort to other means as there is a great amount of pressure to be perfect and people are so judgmental. I know how I got to this place and so does my husband, and that should be enough. But it would be nice to be complimented for my discipline rather than looked upon as suspect of unhealthy practices. And plus, if I was in need of help, wouldn't it be more effective to express concern through kind words or be sympathetic if I were really in trouble?

They’re all fucking hypocrites, anyway. Even if I did chose other ways, less healthy ways to achieve a slimmer body, who are they to point fingers? I know plenty of “responsible adults” who use recreational drugs and abuse prescription medication, drink in excess and drive under the influence. For them to scold me as if I’m a little girl trying to get attention by starving myself is ludicrous. How about I give you a little dose of unsolicited advice? Yeah? OK. Here it goes:

  • To the person who told me to eat a sandwich, stop cheating on your wife and spend time with your new baby.
  • To the guy who hugs me just to see if he can feel my spine, lay of the pain pills and alcohol you so proudly brag about abusing on the weekend.

  • And to the girl I barely know at work, I’m not competing with you to be the skinniest girl there. We’re totally different body types. Plus, I’m at least 12 years older than you. It seems like you intentionally exclude me from lunch invites and social work breaks and I can’t help but notice that you roll your eyes every time someone mentions my weight (compliment or other). What happened to female solidarity? What happened to saying “great job for being almost 40 and looking great”? You don’t have to like me, little girl, but your attitude and personality sucks.

Wow! That felt good. Thanks again, Moonlight Mistress. It may be a full moon tonight but you’re the one that brought out my inner warrior and got me to speak my mind. So, when I look at that beautiful yellow rock tonight, I’ll say a toast to you, MLM, and to all the other bloggers who have inspired me to be proud and vocal. I may not know you guys personally, but I feel much comfort in knowing that somewhere out there, there are others like me. It keeps me going and reminds me to never become jaded as I might miss out on finding my own Moonlight Mistress and best friend.


  1. man your bullet point list cracked me up!!! and I SO RELATE TO THIS RANT! last year when I got down to my lw some ppl would say such rude things out of the blue and I was like seriously, why are you judging MY body?! as you said

    "I don’t comment on other people’s cigarette smoking or the fact that a lifetime of alcohol binging is going to be detrimental to their health."

    yet weight seems to be a free for all topic of conversation. I'm losing weight slowly this year to get back down to my summer weight (and hopefully it'll stic) but I'm healthy, happy and feel great. I've come to the conclusion that most people commenting on weight or eating habits are doing it because their own weight bothers them.

    just my 2 cents!

    great rant!

    ~ H

  2. Hi Harlow! I appreciate your input and it's worth more than 2 cents. Promise! It's comforting to know that you can relate, and I'm sure others can as well.

    The last time it happened (last week), I thought I was prepared to handle comments but once again, I was speechless. I was told that I absolutely need to gain 10 lbs. He was loud and repeated it several times. OK. Fine. So, is it ok for me to tell you that you need to lose 10 lbs?

    My boss reprimanded a co-worker because this guy called me a ginger. I wasn't mad and love the term but my boss said that he wanted to make sure I wasn't uncomfortable or felt singled out. Boss man said that it can be seen as a form of harassment. So that begs the question- What if I feel harassed for the weight statements? That has made me feel singled out. I'm not gonna fight that battle but people need to practice the application of analogies to life situations and make conscious decisions before they speak.

    Eventually, I'll let it go, but thanks for letting me rant. It felt freeing and energizing. However, I'd like to go to sleep now but all I want to do is blog!

  3. I LOVED this post!!! you make me smile and I can totally relate. Personally I think others are threatened, they know they're doing the wrong thing and don't want to face it. I doubt it has anything to do with you when it comes down to it. Keep up the great work, don't let them make you sad- you'll find the people who are worth your time xxx

  4. OMG I just typed out a huge response to this and then my internet crapped out and I lost everything!


    Basically I said...

    Thanks for dedicating that post to me...I love you!...

    I have some of the same probs with co-workers and it's just jealously and/or their own insecurities about their bodies and/or lifestyles....

    We are so lucky to both have husbands that love and support us no matter what size we are. (I wish I could follow my husbands example and love myself as well).....

    I love you blog....keep speaking the truth sister!!


  5. Seriously, guys. Thanks. Reading your comments makes me smile in such a genuine way that my husband notices and says he knows something made me happy. I really needed this and I hope I return the favor many times over.

  6. Wow! Hey, Moonlight! I actually wrote and posted my last comment above before your comment posted. We must of commented at the same time. So, wow! Really. I'm speechless. I already felt great and then you placed a perfect cherry on top of a fairly awesome day. As silly as it sounds, I think what I'm feeling is... the happiness one feels when one realizes "They like me! They really like me!" Dare I say it? I have...friends? Not small talk, bullshit, pretending to be something we're not friends, but a budding honest friendship, albeit virtually. I mean that to all of you. I feel a bit like a dork but I think that's what adults feel when they're being open, honest and vulnerable.

    Aw, guys! I think this has changed things for me. I think I'm going to be just find the next time I have to deal with inappropriate remarks. I think it's going to roll off me like I'm sprayed with Rain-X. I've needed to vent, chat and commiserate for some time and I've kept it bottled in for so long. Maybe this confidence is fleeting but either way, the impression has been made. I now know it's possible to feel this way, and I'd like to come back for some more please. I'm a giver too. Promise!

    Much love to all of you