So yesterday I had the most unexpected, offensive, and upsetting conversation happen at work with one of the doctors in my department. He's a small man in his 60's who probably weighs like 130lbs soaking wet and has never struggled with weighing too much a day in his life. He makes a lot of money (but still dresses cheaply), has a huge house on the water and a boat he likes to throw department parties at, and has an odd sense of humor. The encounter started like this:
Me (carrying a tall styrofoam cup of black coffee not quite 3/4 full) So I made some coffee in the back. Bring your own cup though because I couldn't find any back there.
He looks up: That cup isn't full of coffee is it? That's a lot of caffeine.
Oh, no it's only up to here. I probay won't even get to drink half before it gets cold and I dump it out anyway.
Well that's still a lot of caffeine and you're small...well you're short...are you pregnant again?
Noooo. I wouldn't be...
So when are you going to skinny up??
(Insert shocked expression here) I wish I knew. (Too stunned and embarrassed to have any better answer)
Well, you're so short, and it's bad for your heart. You're so cute. I can tell...you know, I really like you (or some off compliment that was trying to show he wasn't being offensive) what did you weigh in high school?
Yeah, I was never small. I've never been skinny.
Oh, really? Is your mom...
No, my grandma. Once I hit puberty I got the boobs, butt, hips, and thighs. I'm also the shortest in my family so I really got screwed. I'm working on it.
He maybe realized at this point this wasn't maybe the most appropriate conversation to have. I don't know if it was the look on my face or my voice or what. But he started talking about other things that I didn't really hear and after a few minutes I finally said " so there's coffee. Bring your own cup" and walked away.
I walked away feeing like I wanted to tell somebody what he just said, but feeling too ashamed and embarrassed to do so. I felt absolutely horrible. I was shocked to the point of not even believing that had just happened. And I just felt like shit. Like I shouldn't put one more piece of food in my mouth for the rest of the day, although it was only like 10am. I walked back out front and never even touched my coffee. I sat and stared at my computer trying not to cry.
This doctor...I don't know him that well. I've never had a personal conversation with him beyond asking about life in general and taking about our kids. I only see him once every six weeks or so, so it's not even like we work together all that often. I have no idea why he thought it was appropriate to comment on my weight. He probably didn't even think twice once I walked away. But that conversation has totally fucked with my head. I know I shouldn't let someone stupid get to me, but I can't help it. It makes me angry because he is first a MAN who has no idea what it's like to be pregnant and have your body got all screwed up after that. He has no idea if I have some medical issue that's maybe preventing me from being able to lose weight, or could be causing me to gain. He doesn't know if I have any stressors in my life that are going on. He doesn't know anything about my personal situation. He probably assumes I'm just a fat slob that doesn't take care of myself and sits around eating Mcdonalds all day.
When he said "You're so cute I can tell..." I know he meant your so cute, I can tell you'd be even cuter, or more attractive, or even pretty if you weren't heavy. In an age where we are supposed to be teaching that everyone looks different, and people of all shapes, sizes, and colors are beautiful...why are we still back to this. That if you changed c, y, or z THEN you'd be better. Why are we still making each other feel like they aren't good enough as they are? How do I teach this to my children. How do I learn this for myself?
The funny thing is I have worked there for 10 years, and have basically been about the same size the entire time. I've been up and down and pregnant, but I'm still wearing all the same scrubs that I've had.
When I look in the mirror I don't love what I see. But I have learned at accept it to a point so that I can live with myself and whatever size I am so I don't fall into a depression that I am very susceptible to. I will never be skinny, but I try every day to make smart choices and add in extra excercise when I can. I had just recently dropped some weight because I could tell by how my pants were fitting.
But this. Oh man. Now I feel like when I am out in public people don't see me as a mom of 5, as an awesome healthcare worker, as a Child of God, but instead as this fat, overweight ugly personal taking up too much space. And that sucks so much. I've never been a skinny person who could eat whatever I want. I have no idea what that feels like. I have always struggled with my weight, and depression, and depression surrounding my weight, and numbers on the scale, and numbers on the tag of my pants. I have to work really hard to make the scale budge at all, sometimes it taking a month or more being super strict to even get a pound off. It's such a mental thing I don't have time to fight with myself about right now.
I am so embarrassed and ashamed that I didn't say anything to anyone about the conversation. Not even my husband, who has always assured me he loves me no matter what size I am.
But seriously...when did it become ok for people to feel like they can comment on someone's weight? It's like asking someone when they are going to get rid of their acne. I really wish I had stood up for myself to him, but I was just so shocked that the conversation was even happening. It hit a huge trigger with me...the shame, embarrassment, and self-loathing I have experienced all my life surrounding my weight. Even the times when I managed to lose a significant amount, I still always felt like the fat girl in the room. I need to be okay with myself as is, because I might never have one of those weight-loss transformation success stories, and I can't live my life that way...hoping and wishing and waiting for the day when I'm the skinny one. That might never be in the cards for me and I need to be okay with that. But this...I feel like it undid all of the work I have been doing just to be okay with myself.
Part of me wants to do something about the situation. I have thought about writing him an email to address the inappropriateness of it all, or go to a supervisor, or even HR. But there comes that shame. I just want this to go away. I don't want it to be talked about. I don't want any more embarrassment of having my weight talked about. And I have this deep down fear that me bringing up the situation will somehow get turned back around on me, and then the whole thing becomes an intervention about my weight. Gosh, as I write this it must sound like I'm big enough to be on one of those my 600-pound life shows. My weight is not that out of control. But that is how I feel when people see me. And it sucks.