Over forty years ago, a psychiatrist, a pretentious Berglerian (way out Freudian) who was forced to revamp his treatment because his mentor had "got it wrong," passed to me a snippet of wisdom that he did not get from his mentor, but from his life's experience. These are not his exact words, but they ring around this posy: when losing weight, one must give those who are "watching" a way out so that they do not "come after you with a vengeance, making your life miserable."
I never quite understood the extent of that wisdom; at the time I was on my 4th Yo-yo. Eight Yo-yos later, recently, duh...I finally got what he meant. And you know what? I'm just too damn audacious and capa tosta to give a damn about "protecting others' egos from themselves!" I will not give them a way out. Either get with this program or I'll ship you an Asp from Egypt (Cleopatra's painless means of suicide). I am too old to suffer jealous women's foolishness gladly. Sorry! (click link see addendum to my former post)
Do I sound defensive? Yeahhhh. I have just cause. With my most recent successful weight loss of over 100 pounds, the ferocity of reaction from "friends" and some family members has, to my mind, been "a siege." Naturally, the straight men have been wonderful, gracious and complimentary, telling me I look lovely, beautiful and "great." The reactions from women have been...well, INTERESTING: there's a bland word for you! Ha, ha, ha.
Candidly, my dear friends, their various comments oozed with attitudinal, vitriolic bile: they've been seething, venomous, enraged, fearful, denigrating and disparaging, political, disingenuously complimentary, smarmy, affronted, shocked and more...but ALL had such manipulative intensity, and like poisoned arrows, they were designed to KILL. (Don't get me wrong, I learned who my real friends were; they were encouraging. The others who I expected more from were NOT! It is to these I am referring.)
If "the kill" hyperbole is too extreme, let me mitigate by saying "symbolically kill": my lifestyle plan, my improved dress, my more youthful appearance, my younger figure, their own screaming desperation and cataclysmic pain of looking at me NO LONGER FAT AND UNGAINLY. For some, the abject fear was that I WOULD BE THINNER THAN THEY. For others, that I WOULD LOOK BETTER/YOUNGER THAN THEY. For others, the Vulture, Truth, devoured their self-righteous, sanctimonious pride at being BETTER, more disciplined, more controlled than the fatty. Beneath their skewed self-complacency and wrong-headed, faux self-satisfaction was the underlying reality of self-hate, fear, emptiness. They were confronted with soul abyss, the irritating feeling that someone else had gotten it right and they were out there swimming in the deep without a life preserver, without a safe haven nearby.
If I am imagining this, then what happened to the "live and let live motto friends are supposed to bestow?" I am over 60 years old and my life is mine, my body is mine. Who cares, really what I do, how much weight I lose if I am feeling great. I'm not sick. My weight loss has occurred right before their eyes over a period of two years or more...slow measured, consistent weight loss. Why did these women "care" so much to COMMENT negatively since I've lost the weight? Where was THE CARE AND CONCERN WHEN I WAS 210-240 pounds overweight, ON THE VERGE OF STROKE, HEART ATTACK, DIABETES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? When I had asthma, breathing problems, eczema and couldn't keep up athletically, huffing and puffing on a vigorous walk on the beach, where was their great good will toward my well being as they expected/demanded that I pile my plate with food when we went out to eat? And I can't even begin to wrap my mind around their lack of concern for my emotional well being and attitude toward myself as a fatty in America's fascist, goose-stepping, "master race upholding" Culture of Thin. They are enslaved by the same culture; they should know better than to even begin to say one denigrating or harsh word when someone has overthrown the shackles right before their eyes.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, hypocrisy, hypocrisy let it fall!" Oh the contradictions in their behavior. Yes, my dear psychiatrist acquaintance was right. Give them a way out if at least to prevent their retribution for my daring to change my lifestyle and succeeding. I find this very funny. MY WEIGHT LOSS HAS VICTIMIZED THEM????? And their retaliation is JUSTIFIED? I was SUPPOSED TO STAY FAT FOR THEM, SO THEY WOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE? FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES? I thought we were supposed to deal with our self issues, reflect and come to grips with our inner being, work through and then be loving to others because we had learned how to love ourselves. Where is their room for jealousy in all this? Where is there room for selfishness? Where is there room for self-hatred? Where is there room for self-loathing so abysmal that one feels better when one sees others "WORSE OFF," and "IN WORSE PAIN?"
The Jerry Springer syndrome! I thought that was a teenage phenomenon. Such self-hatred and self-loathing reveals infinite depths when one feels better at another's loss, pain, inferior position. Ask me how I know. I am human. I read End of the Road by John Barth...man/woman's absurd condition. I've suffered from the same. The only way out of this rotten "way of being" for me is FAITH. And believe me, I'm still working at it!
I have learned through my experiences with others' reactions during my 12 Yo-yos (first with my mother) that I cannot adjust myself to fit into others' perverse "you must bow down to my thin superiority by staying fat, or at least being fatter than I am." I have learned that I cannot satisfy another's soul longing, cannot fulfill another's soul emptiness. Through my incredible journey, I have become enlightened to the politics of weight loss and thinness as power. Unwittingly, I never anticipated that these reactions would come, that my weight loss would victimize women I knew, strip them of their sanctified superiority, their strength, their complacency. I never knew that a behavior inherently healthful and beneficial for me would, by virtue of the toxicity of our culture, turn others inward to cannibalize themselves. My intention was to be healthy, fit and have my well being restored. And that is what I maintain by faith. The rest is silence and love and hope that they will find the way to deal with their inner loss. I've come to the end of the road, and I've moved on.