Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Losing Weight- For ME or My Ego???

   Although "Beneath the Wings" was originally a blog meant to deal with living with a teen with Down syndrome, my first post was about being overweight:

Yesterday on the bus... living fat.

Yesterday I was on the bus, and as I boarded, I automatically checked first to see if the one slightly-wider-than-most-seat was available. It wasn't, being occupied, ironically, by a waif-like wisp of a teenager. Of course. The single seats were taken as well. I like them, because even though they are a bit of a tight fit, I can relax when seated there, knowing that I am not infringing on anyone else's space. So I choose to stand, not feeling comfortable to squeeze in next to someone else. Luckily, a single seat soon was vacated, and I scooted over to sit down.

A few moments later, a woman who looks even larger than me entered, and sat down in a double seat. I even did a reality check: "Is she REALLY that much more overweight than me? Maybe I am underestimating my size?" (After all, I nearly ever look into a full-length mirror....) However, I decided that even so, she was definitely more overweight than myself. Then I wondered: Does she also feel frustrated by her weight? Is she afraid of infringing on others? Does she feel guilty for filling two seats? Is she feeling exasperated that others label her solely on the basis of her physical dimensions? (Which I was doing up to that point, I must confess.)

Amazingly, a thiny-minny teen soon filled the half-spot next to her. Was the overweight lady pleased to have someone next to her? And why do I care so much about whatever is going on in her mind?
   *     *     *     *      *   
That post was written over 5 years ago. In the interim, I have lost 75 kilos. I am viewed by others as having pretty much a normal weight. I certainly no longer get the type of snide comments, glances, and judgments that are part and parcel of the public life of anyone who is extremely overweight.

   But I still wonder over that last sentence from that post:   "And why do I care so much about whatever is going on in her mind?" Here are some thoughts:

   I believe that people who are overweight should try and lose weight. Let's face it, the quality of life, the state of our health, is so much better when we are thin. It is definitely worth the effort.
  Do I believe that I am per se a better person because I am not fat? NO. NO.  NO.  Yes, I have grown from the journey—but most of us have something in our lives that we grow from. That is what life is about, improving ourselves. So while I am a better, stronger person than I was 5 years ago, that is due to the changes in my personality arising from meeting a challenge, not to being thin in and of itself.

   And yet, I must admit that I enjoy the compliments I receive.

   In a way I feel a bit guilty for that, as if by accepting those compliments, I am validating society's warped view that sees people who are overweight as intrinsically inferior. (Yes, that sounds harsh, but often that is the message society is sending us.)   I want to be thin, in order to be as healthy and energetic as possible. As for my ego, I wish he would remember that my worth depends on G-d's opinion of me—due to my actions – and certainly not due to my weight (or lack of it….)

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