I've always been kind of proud of my town for being so much more accepting and open minded compared to its other small town counterparts. We as a society are “evolving” and hypothetically becoming more accepting and supportive of other humans and their lifestyles. Except for in a few areas:
Overweight people and people of a certain age (i.e those of us over 30 and especially over 40) don’t appear to be in this category. I can say this because I am both: a 37 year old, obese woman. But oh my, I resent saying that "o" word. However, I am certainly overweight, and blatantly aware of it. Especially today.
So I’m walking home from work, talking to God in my head. Ironically praying about how I desperately want to get in a place in my life where I make a living encouraging people through positive arts and my gift of writing. Because let’s be real, if I had my way, I would just get to make my living writing books, music, and musical plays with positive messages. I would be a positive influence and light in the world through writing and share love and encouragement on the daily. I mean, I DO try to do that regularly for free, but it sure would be nice to be able to officially quit my day job and do the writing thing full-time.
So anyway, I'm there meditating on all these positive things, feeling so driven and determined to be productive on my day off coming up. And that’s when it happened:
Sitting at the light of a busy intersection, one block from my apartment, I walk by and hear a man yell out the window:
“… go to Weight Watchers.”
It cut through the traffic noise and hit me so suddenly I thought I imagined it. And my heart sank. I shifted the bag in my hand nervously and became suddenly extremely insecure. I was literally spending the last 10 minutes of my walk home meditating on how I want to encourage people and trying to brainstorm positive things I could work on during my upcoming days off and then some shit-head had to open his big stupid mouth.
And it brought me down. Faster than I want to admit.
Why would anyone say something so rude to someone like that? Didn’t their family teach them that common colloquial: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Apparently that guy never got the memo.
And it not only hurt me, but also irritates me.
I mean we live in a world now that is evolving so much and promoting such awareness for acceptance and equal rights of various races, genders, and sexualities- which is amazing. But we’re still so lacking in other areas- which is crazy to me. I mean I’m now 37 and feel compelled to lie about my age nearly every time I meet someone (and especially at work!) because I’ve become accustomed to feeling ashamed for being over a certain age and not further along in my professional life..and then to be fat shamed as well..
It flabbergasts me.
I mean, yes, I am overweight. I am now the “fattest” I have ever been in my life. But that doesn’t give anyone else the right to comment on it. Just like I wouldn’t have any right to comment on someone else’s gender, sexuality, or orientation.
I don’t care about that stuff anyway. I’m looking at your heart. And the guy driving by yelling rude things out the window to strangers at the intersections of Chestnut and Main Street in New Paltz apparently has a real shitty heart. So I probably shouldn’t have let his words affect me so much.
I hate to say it, but after that experience I came home and drank an excessive amount of cherry vodka to try to block out the negative thoughts that took over my mind after that experience and didn’t get any actual writing or positive work done until this post. Which is ridiculous! How could I let one person and their shitty arrogant comments ruin my night and effect my feeling of self-worth like that (which it sadly did for a while).
But no more! I am a woman on a mission, and I have too much I want to say with my life to let some dumb shmucks screw it up for me more than I sometimes feel like I already have.
I am elaborating on my struggle with self-worth and my process for emotional healing more in my anthology book Better Late Than Never, and expect to share more positive work in the future. And I now feel even MORE inspired to produce my EP of spoken word poetry titled “Tiffany Grand: Enough” as well as writing the anthology book by the same name. Because I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with feeling like they aren’t enough in a world that constantly tells us we’re not good enough as ourselves on our own. And I want to help break that stigma and chain of discouragement.
But until that time, learning to accept myself is a process. And no one else’s negative words need to be echoing through my head. I have enough demons to struggle with some days. But thankfully I’m a writer and plan to get many other positive, life affirming epiphany’s from it in the future.
Being an overweight 37 year old woman is not my identity and has no reflection on my self worth. And if you struggle with any of these things it doesn’t have any bearing on yours either. There’s sadly going to be many more shit-heads in the world that are going to test your mental resilience but don’t let them win. You are lovable, valuable, beautiful, and have purpose just the way you are. Use the "negative Nancy's" in your life as a catalyst to be better, more loving and accepting and encouraging of others. I know I am. And thin or fat, I am more determined than I was yesterday to accomplish the dreams in my heart and encourage others through writing and the arts. Please follow me on this journey. New books, music, and plays coming soon! Because thankfully, creativity has no dress size.