A Disconnect in Perception
By Jeany Miller More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Diary of a Fat Woman Blog Series
"I Can't Believe You Weight Less than I Do"
When a close friend of mine asked my weight recently, I didn’t hesitate to give her the number. In retrospect, however, I wish I had because she didn’t respond quite the way I had expected. Instead of sympathizing or, even better, saying something like, “Gosh, you don’t look like you weigh that much. You look great…” she responded with this:
“What?!?! I can’t believe you weigh less than I do. That actually makes me angry. I thought we weighed about the same”
In turn, her response angered me. That was the last thing in the world I expected her to say. Not only was I startled by her reaction itself, but her words also surprised me. Because, if you want the truth, I think she’s bigger than I am. I know her clothing size, and it’s significantly larger than mine. So what the heck is going on?
Smoke in Mirrors
Aside from the fact that a friend should never be mad at you for weighing less than she does, what’s wrong with me that I still don’t see myself the way that others do? When I look in the mirror, I think, “You’re a big girl, but you’re not huge yet.” But when I talk to others, I think to myself, “Don’t kid yourself, you’re bigger than you realize.”
Why do I look in the mirror and see someone different from the person that others see? I have no idea. I wish I could see what others see because that might actually motivate me to get off the couch and exercise. I have to believe that once I became motivated, I would continue to be, because the subsequent weight loss would probably be pretty pleasing.
The scary thing is that, judging from my friend’s reaction, even she believes I’m a buffalo. If my close friends feel that way, what am I to do? They know me better than strangers I meet on the street, and even they judge me by my appearance. I know this is only human nature, but it’s disheartening all the same. Especially because you want to believe your friends think only the very best of you.
In many ways, I feel that being overweight is like walking around with a scarlet A embroidered on my shirt. I'm pegged before I even open my mouth. Sometimes, when I walk out of one of my advertiser’s storefronts, I worry they’re talking about me behind my back. It’s possible they’re saying, “She would probably look a lot better if she lost some weight.” It’s not nice to think these thoughts, which erode my self-esteem even more, but the sad truth is that I have to acknowledge them as possible, especially after now knowing what my friend thinks of me.
All I can say is this: I have three big events coming up in May, June, and July, which leaves me with about seven weeks to lose at least some weight. The first event is a formal fundraiser in Detroit, and the weather will be nice, which means my dress will probably show some skin. If I could lose 10 to 15 pounds between now and then, I would be ecstatic. With nicer weather here, I hope to feel motivated to get outside and start the couch to 5K program - finally. I’ll keep you posted.