On my walk this morning I was thinking of something that happened to me recently. At the end of a small group experience, the leader of the small group looked at the other two participants and said something to the effect of how delighted she was that our group was together: a group of 'tiny people'. And then she looked over at me, the 3rd group member and realized in that moment - I could see it on her face - that I was not a 'tiny person'.
At that moment I was shocked and felt diminished. We ended the group and later in the day I confronted her about the statement. Clearly. Directly. Without anger but with my indignant self - and my hurt self- front and center. She said that she did realize - in that moment - what she had said and apologized. I accepted the apology and walked away - but I never felt 'safe' with her again. Never felt that she would not, in a moment of unconsciousness/nervousness/whatever, not do the same thing to me, or to someone around me. Because at the workshop there were ALL sizes of people. ALL sizes.
So this morning I was thinking about all of the above. NOT questioning myself - I have done that too many times - but realizing that in that exchange, that glance at my body I felt shamed. Fat shamed.
I have heard the term and know what it means. And really, over the years it has happened to me a lot - I just never called the experience what it was: Fat Shaming.
I have never been small, and, I am healthy. TO ME that is what is important: I am healthy.
I don't believe the person in question meant to hurt or shame me: she was also not fully conscious and not paying attention to what impact her words would have on EVERYONE. EVERYONE.
So what's the moral of the story? Well, notice when something 'lands on you' in a way that makes you squirm, makes your tummy a little nauseated, makes your heart constrict a little. Those sensations are NOT the warm and soothing ones that feel good: those sensations are your bodies' way of telling you something is NOT right. Pay attention. Do what you need to do to be loving and kind to you. Speak up if that feels right. Ask for an apology. Do some soothing self-talk. My self-talk was: I am ok. I am healthy. I love and accept my healthy and strong body just as it is ( and I do ). I am proud of where my body came from: immigrants, farmers, carpenters, fishermen and women. Hard workers. Good people.
I believe it is important that each of us learn to take care of ourselves in ways that feel good and nurturing. AND, I also believe it is important to let the other person know the impact of the statement/behavior so perhaps in the future it will not happen again. Or they will 'catch' themselves before speaking without thinking.
A good local source for nourishment is BE Nourished in Portland, Oregon. Here is the link to their programs, retreats and on-line programs: benourished.org/
Be good to you. Every day. All the time.