You’re a Bit Chunky: Strange Misconceptions in the Produce Section.
I am going to paint a scenario for you: It is 95 degrees outside and 80% humidity. It is smoldering as far as I am concerned and to stay comfortable and cool, I chose to wear a loose sleeveless sundress. I also decided that I needed to get some grocery shopping done. As I am walking around the produce aisle, a seemingly nice older gentleman (if I were to guess, I would say he was about 75 years of age or older) stopped me and said, “You look like my daughter-in-law.”
Now, I will take a pause here. I really thought he was going to say something nice, and I was looking forward to some friendly chat that would give me a reason to keep standing by the cold air surrounding the vegetables. But this is what he continued to say,
“You know, kind of chunky.”
I simply stared at him blankly. So he continued to explain, “She’s chunky, you see. You are chunky too, no?” That latter part of his statement was said a bit haltingly, as my blank stare at this point was likely causing him some confusion.
While staring blankly at him, I was honestly confused. I thought, what part of my chiseled biceps and triceps tells you that I am chunky? I wasn’t upset even. But greatly perplexed.
So I answered, “No. On the contrary, I have never been more fit in my life, and likely fitter than you have ever been in your life, but I will tell you something else, I can bet a lot of money that your daughter-in-law does not appreciate you calling her chunky, to her face or to a stranger, and while I am at it, you may want to stop telling strangers, especially young women, that you think they are chunky. It is mean, and you do not strike me as a mean person. You can tell your daughter-in-law that she is beautiful, kind, compassionate and strong, and I would then welcome you comparing me to her. Have a gracious day.”
He answered, “Oh, gosh. I didn’t mean to be mean, but you may want to change your dress. It doesn’t show how fit you are.”
I just started laughing after that. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, can you?
The interaction gave me something to think about though. Ten, or maybe even five years ago, I would have reacted very differently. I would have been upset, angry, filled with indignity, and hurt. I might have gone to soothe myself by buying some baked goods and eating the whole lot of them.
See, I was a chubby child, and my extended family made fun of me, and friends and family would make such comments as, “You would be beautiful if you lost weight.” It did a number on my self-image and self-esteem, so much so, that I made my life’s work about helping myself and others fall in love — with myself or with themselves — fit or unfit.
So the fact that I did not get upset, was a testament to my own healing, and also pointed out to me the following:
Society won’t change. People will judge you, poke fun at you, shame you, and hold you up to some kind of expectation of perfection that does not exist. It is just the way it is. How you respond to this behavior is up to you. You can choose to judge and shame yourself and others, or choose love.
If you choose love, this is the process I follow:
- Notice how a situation you cannot change makes you feel, especially the emotions or sensations it elicits in you heart. Notice any restriction or constriction, pain, etc.
- Take three or four deep breaths, and imagine that the Universe is hearing you, validating you, and sending you love and compassion that is surrounding you and filling your heart. You may want to repeat these words silently to yourself, “I am valued and loved. I am the only me. And that is simply fabulous.”
- Let the love and compassion fill your heart until it is able to open like a flower. Keep repeating your affirmation.
- If you feel like it, let that love and compassion flow out of your heart to others, even to those who have hurt you, because you know that others judge and hurt because they suffer and they have low self-esteem.
Dr. Eva Selhub adopts an integrated approach to health and well-being. Using her intuitive counseling abilities and scientific knowledge, she uses both Western and Eastern healing techniques to coach individuals to discover happiness and well-being and create optimum health and resilience. Connect with her via Facebook and on her website.