June 9, 2010

God spoke to me during the writing of this post--seriously.

I don't really like confrontation. Even if the confrontation is only perhaps with a figment of my imagination. But there is something that is kind of bugging me these days and I need to put it out there.

I think people treat you different when you are skinny. Or not fat. Or even trying to be not fat.

There, I said it. Am I crazy? Am I paranoid?

I don't think so. I can't decide if I am liking this new found nice treatment or I am offended. I guess it's a little of both. I always wondered if this would happen when I lost weight. I really wanted to believe that my looks wouldn't affect the way I was treated by others, but I feared otherwise. I actually even think a very small, tiny, minute part of me avoided losing the weight because I didn't want to find out.

So it turns out that what I was afraid of happening, being treated differently, is happening.

Dawgonnit.

Thankfully for me, this thing I am doing has shifted from a quest for beauty to a quest for righteousness. So as I think about the new and different response I am getting from the world around me, with beauty being only secondary (or thirdary) to my goal, I am kind of at peace. I don't need the approval of a depraved society to find my self worth and security. Still, it is a little disconcerting to find that people are treating you better after a recent 50 lb. weight loss.

As I sit here typing this somewhat whiny post, a still small voice is tugging at me and my vulnerable heart. Oh wow. This is taking a whole different direction than I intended...I may be going at this from the wrong angle.

Another question to ask: Is it them, or is it me?

Are they smiling at me because physically I look better, or are they smiling at me because I am finally smiling at them?

Are they talking to me because I am prettier now or because I am no longer afraid to take part in a conversation?

Are they loving me more because I am cuter, or because I am more capable of being loved?

There will always be ignorant people in the world, of this I am certain. But I hope I never miss out on the good ones because I am too busy playing the victim. Gotta keep the chips out of my pantry and off of my shoulder...or this is going to be one miserable existence.
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21 comments:

Deb Willbefree said...

Hmmm. Interesting, thought-proviking post. Hmmmm.

I think it's both. Sometimes people are more considerate because you weigh less than you did before. Sometimes people are responding to the changes you've made in relating. I think it's both.

Although, I don't think it's a 50/50 split. I think more often what you're experiencing is the absence of fat discrimination.

It is what it is, Keelie. I've been at both sides of that swinging door.

Deb

Keelie said...

Yeah. You may be right. Someone told me a long time ago that people treated overweight people differently because they viewed them as weak and could not respect them. Being an overweight girl at that time I found this to be very hurtful and didn't want to believe that I lived in a world with such people. Guess I still don't, huh?

Verity Vaudeville said...

I think you are right - they do treat you differently depending on where you are weight wise. The largest I've been is a UK size 14 and the smallest is a UK size 6. When I've been the latter; I get much more attention, everyone suddenly starts trying to befriend and date me. Suddenly the universe is smiling at me and yet I'm still the same person I was at either size. And still I'm being treated differently because of it.

Part of it is human nature to like smaller things i.e kittens, puppies, babies. And part of it is due to the media feeding the world images of starving skeletons dressed in the finest fashions. So obviously they are going to look great. What they don't show is no energy/circulation/concentration. No desire to do anything. Fatigue. Hair falling out. Never ever being able to get warm even in summer. Legs going numb quickly due to the lack of blood pumping round as quickly.

Yeah, I guess you could say it pisses me off. I think people have much to learn really. After all the suffering, killing, and bloodshed in the world and yet we're still concerned with what other people look like. How childish?

Traci said...

Wow, that's deep. I bet it's both.

Adori Graphics said...

It's NOT you! I noticed axactly the same thing when I lost 80 pounds a few years ago. I honestly can't say I liked it, in fact I felt deeply offended by the way some people treated me differently. But you're doing great though so don't let them put you off!

Tiff said...

I have this fear as well; however, it's actually not that people will treat me better only because I will be more attractive to others but more because I am afraid to find out that people were really not giving me a chance before. Ugh. I guess the consolation to figuring this out though is that we can consciously make an effort to not treat people differently because of their looks.
Good stuff lady!

MissyMcM said...

Could be that you smile easier and people respond. There are sisters in our both verry small. We refer to one as "Smiley" and one as "Frowney". People treat them very differently because of their facial expressions. We giggle and cut-up with Smiley, but we "barely" speak to Frowney and our smiles toward her very seldom meet our eyes. Most heavier people do not smile a smile that reaches their eyes and some of them make awful jokes about themselves (jokes that other people do not find funny). Do an experiment one day be a smiley and the next frowney...see if it is your smile that is drawing the attention and not "just" your size.
In His Love,
Mis

Keelie said...

Missy McM--like your suggestion. No matter what I am going to focus on the good in others and not the bad. I hope others will give me the same benefit.

Vaia said...

One of the things I am most scared of after my weight loss is how I will be perceived by others. I know it shouldn't truly matter but I've seen my friends be nice and not-so-nice to a fellow in our group after he dropped a lot of weight. It's almost disheartening to think that weight will always be a struggle even when it's not a problem anymore.

Keelie said...

Yes, I know what you mean. I guess that is where all this is coming from. As I am approaching the second half of my weight loss journey, the "what happens afterward" is becoming my reality. Like you said, it shouldn't matter, but we are human. The way others perceive us is always going to matter to an extent. I think we just have to take it for what it's worth and especially realize who really matters in our life. Those are the only perceptions that should truly matter.

Fiona said...

I agree that is a bit of both but I have some "friends" all attractive people who only ask me and the other half to functions when my weight is down. The weight goes up the invites stop. It makes me so mad but we still go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kate said...

I think I remarked once that the way your smile reaches your eyes in your "after" pictures is very pronounced. That makes you seem more approachable, more open, more friendly.

I would say that there's a bit of fat discrimination, but I'd be willing to bet it's more you - being real - and free - and loving yourself - that makes people react differently to you.

Xina said...

I've been both thin and fat in my life and I can absolutley tell you that you are not imagining things. I went from a size 8 in my early 20s to a size 20 at my heaviest at age 35.

When I was thin-
People were more likely to hold a door for me when entering a store.
I had an easier time attracting the bartender's attention if I went out for drinks. I was given more courtesy at the customer service desk. People were more patient and receptive towards me at work.

When I was fat-
People avoided eye contact with me in public. Men especially seemed uncomfortable when I smiled at them in passing. I heard young skinny girls snicker behind my back at the pool. I was ignored and invisible to service people.

It's not right that people judge one another based on looks, but it is a real fact of life I suppose. I guess I'm probably guilty of it too, if not based on weight then on the way someone is dressed, or the color of their hair, or how many tatoos they have, etc.

This was a very thought provoking post. I know I will try to be more aware of how my perceptions affect how I treat people going forward.

Stacey at Living by Faith said...

Oooh! Things that make you go hmmm.

I agree it may be a little bit of both. I am learning that the people who are often the most judgmental are the very ones struggling with their own insecurities or fears (weight, money, parenting, marriage, career, etc.)

This doesn't always make it easier but it helps shed a little light on the situation. Its taken a while but I have also learned ( read months in counseling..)If they choose to feel that way about me then they don't really know me, and they are missing out on all the great things I do have to offer.

Since the post switched mid-way I definitely think He is revealing something else to you as well. Your new found confidence is shining through and others want to know about it, see more of it, and learn how to get it for themselves. Hmmm...a new avenue for ministry outside of this blog??

Jaime said...

I'll agree with most and say that it is both.
And I'll admit there is fat-discrimination. No doubt about it.
But with your "is it them, or is it me" questions, I think you were right too... especially with the "is it me".

I started thinking back through my overwheight friends and tried to think of their attitudes and expressions and confidence. And none of them were cheerful, out-going, smiley types. When I lose weight, my self esteem skyrockets and I turn into a more approachable version of myself. I'm not worried about being viewed as the fat, lazy person.

And if you look back through your pictures, it is very apparent how your disposition has changed. In your first pictures, you looked cranky and not-too-friendly (sorry!), but now, in every one of your pictures you can see a sparkle in your eyes and a smile on your face... and that is magnetic! It draws people in - wondering what it is in life that makes you so happy - it makes people want it, too.

So, while it is partly related to the weight loss and "looking" different now, I put more weight(hehe - pun intended) into the fact that you've changed and your demeanor / attitude / facial expression has changed and that makes you more approachable.

(I'm not going to be outwardly friendly to someone who looks cranky, but you can bet I'll talk to someone who has a smile on their face and seems happy in life... no matter their size.)

Happy Fun Pants said...

Fantastic post - and it is so true! I notice it with myself too...and at first I thought that maybe it was that people were nicer because I was smaller and then I realized that it's because I'M more smiley and outgoing than I ever was.

The same can be true for dating. I've noticed that when I'm in love and happy in my relationship, I get a lot more offers...and I think that's because I'm not putting off this vibe of "LOVE ME PLEASE!"

Sylvia said...

Wow!! This one is getting me thinking BIG time.

So-Me said...

I really like this post :) But, honestly, I think it is more us than them. I know any time I have lost any amount of weight that I feel more confident and happy and people do treat me better. I am sure it is my attitude that makes people treat me better. BUT, I am definitely not going to say that is always the case, some people just really don't think overweight people deserve any respect at all! Sad, but true :)

Cara

KarateSam said...

I am fascinated by this idea. But, I can tell that I'm a different person when I exercise more regularly. I become happier and more content to be who I am. I think the world can see that. Some people will always judge me based on the outside, but I'm the one responsible for interacting with them. Thanks for a great blog - just read all the way back to day 1!

Donna said...

I have had those same exact thoughts...You are probably right on all accounts to some degree.

I know I'm so relieved not to look so fat. It was spoiling my whole attitude about life. Now, I feel so much more hopeful, confident, and respected too. I'm always afraid people don't take me seriously because I'm not skinny.

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Just found you blog... Awesome job losing weight! I am about the same height as you too. I am on a journey with my hubby and we're bogging it at:

http://believingitspossible.blogspot.com/
(This blog is not attached to my profile so I put it in here in case you try to find it :)

In response to this post, I have to say I do believe there is huge discrimination again heavy people. If you discriminate against any different races, then you're a racist, or religions- then you're prejudice... but ridiculing, being rude, ignoring, and making fun of a heavy person is totally acceptable behavior and not considered prejudice at all by most people. In my opinion, it is almost a worst form of bigotry because it's NOT SEEN as that, and it is acceptable to the masses.

But not everyone see's only our outward appearance. There are those amazing people throughout the world that truly look at someone's soul and see them as a child of God. Bless those people and I try to be one of them!!!

~Margene