The other night I went to a friend's birthday (no, not Lauren's) and there was a plate of cupcakes in the center of the table. Everybody was digging in so I took my fork and tried two bites of cupcake. Then - at the end of the table I heard a voice. "Wow," it said, "Sheila is really sampling aaaaalllll those cupcakes." I don't know if I was supposed to hear this statement, but I did. And it stung. Pretty bad. Badly enough that for the next two days I felt nauseous after swallowing. Badly enough that I would heat up a plate of food and set it back in the fridge, no longer hungry.
I don't know what about this particular statement hurt so bad. Was it the thought that the person who said it thought I was fat? Was it the fear that she had voiced what others were thinking. After a lot of soul searching, I came the conclusion that it actually had nothing to do with my weight. It had to do with the fact that this person, who I have always gone out of my way to be nice to, had chosen to say such a thing. Maybe she didn't know my weight is something I am still sensitive about. Maybe she did. Sometimes I am amazed at the things that come out of people's mouths; the uncouth behavior that society accepts (no one at the table even blinked after she said this to me). But something about that moment will forever stand still in my mind. Not as one where I felt small and insignificant - but as one where my eyes were opened to the true nature of how a human being can treat another human being.
You know, I am really proud of myself. I'm proud that I no longer wear a size 16. I'm proud that I workout almost every day and that I don't do crash diets and binge eating. But I'm even more proud that I have never, ever said something that horrific to a person. I've never singled someone out for the sole purpose of hurting them. My mom put it best when she said, "Why be mean when you can be nice?" I don't know, mama. But your little girl is trying hard to put this aside and remember that a) she isn't fat and b) she needs to let go of petty comments said by unhappy people.