That Conversation

12 Nov

Let’s back track a little bit and return to Monday when I was at work.

I was in an elevator with a fellow staff member, one I am on friendly terms with but am not actual friends with, our jobs rarely intersect and really, once I’ve buzzed her in to the building and given her the cleaning schedule (she’s one of the housekeepers) I don’t see her again.

So there we were, waiting for an elevator, then getting in to the elevator and this is the conversation that happened…

Her: Are you pregnant?

Me: No (insert awkward fake laugh)…I’m just fat…?

Her: Oh…yeah, cause when I started here you were quite slim.

Me: …Yeeeeah…okaaay…


Luckily the elevator got to my floor right then and I could leave the unpleasantness of that conversation behind.

Only, I haven’t left it behind, it’s been bouncing around in my head ever since.

A bit later that morning I was chatting with two of my work friends and told them about the conversation, they kinda chuckled, not out right laughing but not shocked horror at the comment, they were somewhere in the middle. After a minute of talking about it then they started to get, hmm, not outraged or anything but making comments saying she is wrong and off base and of course I don’t look pregnant, or even fat.

I think they thought the comments didn’t affect me so they were laughing them off…their reaction had me even more internally freaked out though because what if I do look that big? I didn’t think I did, and I certainly don’t have the shape of a pregnant lady, but maybe what I see in the mirror isn’t what other people see when they look at me?

I immediately started making promises to myself, (1) never wearing these pants again (2) not eating for the rest of the day (3) going for a long run no matter the weather after work…stupid promises that were only made in response to my self-esteem plummeting. Of course I’ll wear the pants again, I can’t afford to buy new ones. Of course I ended up eating later that day, this conversation happened around 9am, there was a lot of day left. Of course I didn’t go running after work, it’s freakin cold outside and I already had plans.

Part of me was mad that she said that but mostly I felt ashamed, and unworthy and a failure. Like I deserved to be verbally slapped in my face because I’ve gained weight and that somehow makes it acceptable to be attacked with mean words. I don’t understand my emotional response, not fully, but I do know in that elevator I had no response to what was said to me, I was so shocked, so horrified at what had just been said about me to me, and secretly feeling that she might be right.

How can I defend myself against mean words when those words resonate within me as possible truth?

Later that day one of the two friends I had told about the conversation and I were talking and I asked her, in all seriousness, do I look pregnant? Do I look that fat? She, in all seriousness, said no, of course I don’t, and don’t let what was said bother me because it is completely wrong, I’m slim, don’t look anything close to pregnant, and the other lady doesn’t know what she is talking about.

I think we can all agree she said the right things, but somehow they didn’t make me feel any better.

At lunchtime I had to force myself to eat. When I get upset I tend to lose my appetite, in a middle of a meal that I am really enjoying if something happens to deeply upset me I completely lose my appetite and it can be gone for days, it’s weird. So, at lunch time I had no appetite, not only was I not hungry but I was scared to eat, worried about how eating was going to make me bigger and I kept thinking about how I should cut out more calories. Even though I actually under eat most days and am actively trying to eat a bit more on a daily basis to help fix my metabolism (it’s a reverse dieting thing that I keep meaning to write about, and will eventually lol). Intellectually I knew I had to eat, even though I didn’t want to. I didn’t want what was said to derail me from trying to fix my metabolism and skipping lunch would put me one step closer to reverting back to old eating habits and losing all the progress I had made over the past month or so.

I ate lunch. And as weird as this will sound, was half proud I ate and half worried she would walk in and see me eating and judge me even more than she apparently already is. I don’t even know this lady all that well and I was worried she might see me eating my salad and judge me?? What’s with that?! *rolls eyes*

Later in the day I was talking to a friend of mine who is a personal trainer and told her about the conversation. I told it as a funny “you’ll never guess what convo I had today” joke kind of thing, as if I am all light hearted about it and un-affected. She saw right through me and immediately went on the defensive, as in, defensive of me! She got so angry that someone would say something like that to me, she didn’t offer me platitudes about “of course you don’t look like that”, you know, the patting me on the head sort of thing, instead she spoke about how crappy it is that our society has bred people that think it is ok to take out their unhappiness on others by saying hurtful things. After she wound down a bit she even gave me a hug and said to not let what was said get to me.

That night when I checked my email she had even sent me an email with deeper thoughts about what had happened.

Her response, although meant in the best way, is almost overwhelming for me, like, I don’t deserve someone to be that upset on my behalf and I find myself wanting to tell her it’s ok and to calm down and not to worry but maybe she knows me better than I realized because I’m not ok, or calm or un-worried about what happened and her being so upset has given me permission to be upset about what was said.

And now I’m just rambling, and don’t really have a point to make. I don’t know if the lady who said that to me is unhappy and trying to bring me down cause she’s hurting (as the personal trainer friend suggested), or rude, or mean, or ignorant of social norms, or thought what she said was perfectly ok and isn’t giving it a second thought. Unlike me who has given it a second, third, fourth…fifty-fourth thought…All I know is what she said hurt, and has sucked me down in to a vortex of self-doubt, and body shaming, and embarrassment and now, not only am I working to get in better shape I am also working to get my brain to stop thinking about what she said cause dwelling on that convo will do nothing good for me.



Haters are just gonna hate I guess.


2 Responses to “That Conversation”

  1. FatnForty November 12, 2014 at 4:38 am #

    That is horrific. I’m so sorry for what she said. It has happened to me as well, although now I’m too old for anyone to think I’m pregnant. Why would someone think it is okay to comment about what you look like? And your something else, why is it so bad to be fat? Is it the worst thing you can be? Because quite frankly I think being insensitive, rude, and unfeeling is way, way worse!

    • shrinkingwmn November 15, 2014 at 1:48 am #

      I was so stunned when that convo happened, how anyone can think saying those things is ok, I just don’t understand. *shakes head* I’m with you, I think being insensitive, rude and unfeeling is waaaaaay worse than being overweight. A friend suggested because of cultural differences she may have not thought what she was saying was mean, and I suppose that is possible…not like I’m gonna ask her though lol

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