My first ever guest blog post written by my very DEAR Friend Sara Sherman Owner of Discovery Horse Healing, Posted in DH Blog I hope that it touches you as deeply as it did me. Enjoy! Jennifer Malocha
“You keep eating like that and your gonna get fat.
You know what, you ARE FAT!”
It happened in a concession line when a woman strategically moved to the front of the long line ie. she budged! I made the choice to question her and was not received well. In fact, she became quite defensive and began sharing all the reasons she felt justified in her line advance, “You’re all getting sandwiches and I am just getting pop.” Quite the assumption on her part considering the other 15 of us bundled in snow gear hadn’t shared our orders with anyone. She continued to openly share reasons that justified her belief that her needs were more important than the rest of us. She got her Fanta and my son and I got lunch.
Deep breath. Moving on.
Or so I thought.
I sat down with my slice of pizza and my son’s cheese curds and started typing away at my laptop while my son went back to snowboarding. It was easily 15 minutes later and she pops around the corner and says (rather loudly):
“You keep eating like that and your gonna get fat. You know what, you ARE FAT!”
She walked away.
Another deep breath.
Did that really just happen? Is this a flashback? Am I an adult? Is SHE an adult?
I tried to let it roll off my back, I tried to hold the tears back, but they came. There was so much wrapped into that experience. I was the ‘fat’ girl as a child and reminded of that repeatedly by fellow classmates. I have struggled with body image and weight my entire life. I had a clear choice in that moment. It was a bit of an out of body experience. I saw two choices:
- Own her accusation, feel the shame that came with her words. I tried this on and it felt GROSS! It felt heavy and dark and ugly and hopeless and familiar. I was already planning the inevitable diet that would fail. There was a lot of anger and so much Shame because she was screaming my truth at me. I was willing to take her accusation and make it mine.
- See her pain and realize her words had nothing to do with who I was. It was her own shame speaking in that moment. She wanted me to hurt as she hurt. I tried this on too. It felt empowering, it felt light. It reminded me of what Miguel Ruiz teaches in the Four Agreements “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” I could see in that moment that this was her story and her pain and I could choose to own it or I could walk away in compassion and leave the story behind.
Now, in all fairness there was a bit of truth in her statement…… Eating cheese curds and pizza isn’t a slimming decision and, in retrospect, I wish I would have had the ability to thank her for her concern. As it happened, I was rendered speechless. But you know, there’s some freedom in seeing the facts and letting go of the story. I could definitely be making better food choices and yes, I would like to lose some weight. There is no shame in that without the story “I am bad, incomplete”.
There was a woman and her baby at the table where I was sitting. They witnessed the entire exchange and my tears. She walked over to me and said, “I don’t know what just happened and I don’t know you, but we wanted to come over and give you a hug and tell you there are good people in the world”.
I could easily have turned this experience into a New Year’s resolution seated in shame, as many are. My intention would have been to lose weight based on the belief that I am inadequate. And with this belief as my motivation, I would be destined to fail because regardless of my weight my belief will still be “I am inadequate”. That unhappy woman gave me a gift that day. She gave me the opportunity to see how far I have come in releasing shame and loving myself. For most of my life, number 1 felt like my only choice. I chose number 2 this time and set an intention of a different sort. Instead my resolution is to honor myself and make choices accordingly. I invite you all to do the same.