Weight. Wait. Think. (dummy)

We teach our kids to review old skills all the time. Reminders are good. Remembering things we learned but haven’t applied for a while comes in handy. 

Last night my girlfriend was really down on herself about weight issues. It is only slightly relevant here that she is a thin person and always has been. The issue of that relevancy is what I was reminded of in the conversation we had about this topic. Too late. 

I have documented in past slices my bouts with weight and other image issues I have dealt with (or not) – I was always a chubby kid, massive weight gain (in my mind) played a large role in winding up a single parent – all the fun things.

See, when she and I first met, during the get-to-know-you phase I was struck by how such a beautiful woman, inside and out, could have such self doubt. I invested. Bought in. Learned the roots of these patterns. Saw how it allowed her to previously date those who would mistreat and disrespect. It made me mad at people I would never meet but whose type I knew all too well. Basically from day one, whether this would go anywhere romantically or not, I knew I liked her and I knew I wanted to help her see why she deserved so much more than she was accepting. Why she should demand that from the world. It was job 1. But I also knew she wouldn’t be able to, not fully, until she believed it herself. 

The act of review is important. I was married, for a long time, to someone who had a similar sense of self with eerily similar roots. I say this to explain that because of this I also know that there’s really not much I can do to reverse the curse, as it were. Because I have spent countless quantities of emotional energy trying. It’s an inner thing, dummy, you know that. Review. Remember.

But love is funny and breeds forgetfulness in times of strife. Scrambles schema. Remember the job I gave myself from day one. The one she somehow accepted and gave me the position for. My protective side, misguided and ignorant, pushed aside all I knew and took over. In the name of trying to “cure” this misgiving that seemed absurd to me (the very idea of her visage has stolen so many breaths), because I take my job seriously and want her happy above all, I used my (ignorant, stupid, wrong) notions of rationalization to “fix” what has been hardwired by upbringing, culture, society, trauma. Because I’m such a good boyfriend. Sigh. I know better.

My daughter has the same roundish body I did at her age and I hope she never loses the ridiculous amounts of confidence she already has at 8. 2 of my 3 kids got that gene my brothers and I had. Overweight kids who eventually get it under some semblance of control. My oldest guy thinned out once he got to high school. I threw that at her. She knows about my struggles with weight and image so I threw that at her too. “You know, there are actual fat people out there who would cringe hearing someone as gorgeous as you complaining about this.” Dude. I know better.

Afterschool special themes may sound corny out loud but at their hearts they are relevant and pure. Skinny shaming is as wrong as its inverse and, moreover, is not helpful. The opposite, actually. Ugh – and I know this. 

People forget so much for love. It’s the one thing I can think of powerful enough to deserve all the forgetting, and lots of times that erasure is a good thing. But in this case it was more than banging my head into a wall I could never knock down, not by doing this anyways. I was hammering away at something she’d been hammering away at her whole life, and feeling every blow. When we met I think she was numb to it and now, just as the safety of our thing was letting her feel again, in a moment of idiotic man-centric heroism gone wrong (is there any other result to that type of “heroism”?) I reminded her of that pain. 

The act of review is vital. She’s so cool. Amidst the dumb she knew my intent and we talk about things when I get them wrong, I mean, um, when there’s any sort of miscommunication. But I knew better. Next time, I’ll remember. 

This may be her biggest “hit” but if you don’t know, “the Little Folksinger” has a prolific catalog of remarkable music. 

God help you if you are an ugly girl

‘Cause too pretty is also your doom

‘Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred

For the prettiest girl in the room

And god help you if you are a phoenix

And you dare to rise up from the ash

A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy

While you are just flying past 

                                                                                    – Ani DiFranco, 32 Flavors

One thought on “Weight. Wait. Think. (dummy)

  1. Eddie, this was deep. You addressed so many important issues (relationships/self) issues that we sometimes ignore. Thank you for bringing light to self love, the idea of “feeling again”, and a reminder of putting others feelings before your own (something that we often forget when we get caught up in the circle of love).

    Like

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