Friday, March 22, 2013

Shame, it's the other heavy weight.

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I have spent this afternoon hunting through old photos looking for one that I thought was here, but I cannot find it.  It was of me in High School, wearing a bikini.  Well, not in the school, but at the beach.  I'm so mad I don't have it to post on here.  I wanted to show a photo of the fairly normal sized girl I was.  (I actually had a very hard time writing that last sentence.  Like someone from high school was gonna read it and laugh at me.)

During a thin time(10 years ago), when I thought I was fat.
I did have some thoughts as I looked through the many manifestations of myself throughout the years. There were times that I thought I was so fat.  And looking back, I wasn't.  Sure I wasn't as skinny as some of my friends, but I certainly was not fat.  And there were photos of me at heavier times too.  So what.  I was still the same person.

Whenever I would lose weight, I remember running into people and hearing the inevitable, "You look great!"  That's nice and all, but the absence of those three words was so painful when I'm was not at my lowest weight. 

Also, as much as I still long to be thin, that's not why people like me.  No one that really likes me cares if I need to lose 15 pounds.  I'm pretty sure they enjoy who I am and aren't thinking..."Wow, I'd like Melissa so much more if she were skinny."  And I don't consider the thinness of a person a quality at the top of my list of things I really like about my friends.  Actually, sometimes, skinny people kinda make me mad.  Just being honest here, sorry skinny people.  It's not you, it's me.

I just really don't want size to matter this much.  But, unless I move to an isolated island (hey, now there's an idea) I doubt I will ever totally get away from the pressure of society to look a certain way.

Wow.  I got sidetracked by Facebook.  No Surprise. 

But where it led me was to a woman named BrenĂ© Brown.  I watched a TED Tv talk that she did.  She is a researcher on vulnerability and shame.  At once, I hated her and loved her. She says a preliminary clarifying remark which is that guilt and shame are not the same thing.  Guilt is "I did something bad."  And shame is "I am bad."  She asserts that, through her research, she's learned shame is a pervasive driving force in our culture that fuels perfectionism, eating disorders, addictions, violence, name it.  I highly recommend checking her out and sharing your thoughts either here or on our FB page.

I am so intrigued by this.  And overwhelmed. 

I just wanted to lose weight.  And now it has turned into so much more. 


Farida said...

Whenever our paths cross, I think, "What a beautiful, healthy woman." I know that your weight has fluctuated over the years (as has mine), but the initial reaction is the same.

Melissa Baumgart said...

What kind words.
Right back at ya!