Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Too Skinny?

I like to garden. I don't like thorns, does anyone?
I like conversation. I don't like thorns, I mentioned that though.
I've had some thorny conversations lately.
Not particularly caustic, but rather thorny in the style of reaching for a raspberry and getting scraped by a stem. You know how those little thorns can break off and stick, and now you have a splinter.
Mental splinters are the worst splinters of all.
Sunday morning I encountered a woman for whom I have very little regard. In fact, she ranks as 6th on the list of all time cruel, horrific people I know, and the top five are criminally insane (I say that with no exaggeration). I spent the next hour trying not to ruminate and trying not to curse, I was in church service after all.
I was in that state of non ruminating-ruminating when I encountered a person for which I have very high regard. This might explain the splinter, which might not have been a splinter at all, I can't decide.
I hadn't seen this person for 4 months, which was still sweatshirt/jacket weather, which possibly explains why, in seeing me in a sleeveless shirt, she exclaimed, Trimama, you've gotten so skinny.
This was not a complimentary, you look great. This was concern, oh my goodness she's got an eating disorder!
Which explains why my immediate response was, "it's not for lack of eating"
Which garnered the look of incredulity. She thought I was lying.
I went on to explain that I had been training for triathlons and that required training sessions of 2-3 hours.
Growing incredulity.
For anyone who counsels in eating disorders, one cue is inordinate amounts of exercise.
I mumbeled some explanation that I'm really at my normal weight, and that having 4 children was a great challenge to normal, but that this is what I used to look like.....
Utter disbelief.
This person didn't have the catagory in her brain to believe that I could be training to tri; endurance sports are beyond her comprehension.
This is a person I have high regard for, and I want her to have high regard for me. How can I explain to her a hobby that goes beyond most of the people I know?

Now this little splinter settled in right next to one that has been festering for a week or so.

I had met another long time, dear friend at a park and we had our normal extended chat. At one point I was explaining some character in a movie who was this young, skinny jock girl.

"Oh you mean just like you?"

I should have sensed the icy twist.

"No, not like me. She was all young and whatever"

"Well you're out there with your triathlons and marathons and all skinny in your skinny jeans"

Ok, I bought those skinny jeans when thin was the time between kid 2 and 3. Thin was relative.

Undefineable look.

Women are sensitive and they are petty. They are competitive and not always so nice when someone else models something they want and don't think they can achieve.

This is nothing new to me.

I was a skinny little "rat" when I was born prematurely. I was a scrawny "stick" through high school. I didn't fight my weight until kid number 4, now that battle is largely over.

What is new is the thorn that ignorance and jealousy produce in people who I would look to for support.

I'm just starting this whole triathlon experience, I won't be gaining that weight back any time soon. I will be pursuing things that will go even farther beyond their understanding.

I think.

It's hard to train when there is a noticeable hole in the cheering section.

It goes back to those criminally insane people that I know. ( I used to know, haven't spoken to them for 10 years.)

It's hard to tri when it garners that kind of dispersion.

Particularly when it is cast by those who you hope will take the place of the criminally insane.

Ironically, I ususally work these thorns out when I run...


Flatman said...

My wife goes through the SAME EXACT conversations with my family (which are almost all overweight). She exercises and also has the metabolism of four men (she eats what she wants, when she wants).

I have struggled with my weight throughout life. My family doesn't understand the "healthy" lifestyle we lead and are trying to instill in our young son. They constantly try to derail our sons education in this matter.

My wife has been accused of the eating disorders too. Why can't they just accept that she has a smoking hot body and they don't. There is a reason for this, people, she works for it!

If I lose even five pounds, the whole family starts saying, "Don't lose anymore weight, you will look too skinny..." I am by no means at my optimal weight and they are already trying to discourage me from continuing in the right direction!!!

Keep doing what you are doing! We are proud of you and understand what you are going through. If they can't understand, so be it!

Comm's said...

Its just a lack of prespective and I think its something your just going to have to get used to.

The majority of people we know that are smart and outgoing have no clue about endurance events. heck you know I am in the fitness business as well as you and i get strange looks and comments when I tell them I am running or cycling for hours instead of the basic sets/reps etc.

Its your new paradigm. Don't despise, educate.

Brett said...

People often look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I do triathlons. I always have to throw in "Little Ones." Then, I think I wish I wouldn't have said that, because now they think that there's nothing to it. So now, I just keep my mouth shut. :)

Keryn said...

Skinny or fat, you're healthy in a way SO many people aren't. So if they're upset by the fact that you're skinny, they should stop and think about what you can DO. You can swim, bike, and run all day long. You are a triathlete. That makes you an amazing person with an amazing body, even if they think it's too skinny. I think you're beautiful, not because you're skinny, but because you're strong. You ROCK!

Chris said...

Alas, this is one of the sad things about this country. Just look around you and you'll see that almost everone is overweight if not on the obese side of things. People see this and assume that's how people are supposed to look. Forget that as a nation just 50 years so, we were *much* thinner. It's the norm now to be fat and people that don't fit that norm get labeled as "weird". Sad, but true.

Wil said...

Are you sure that you're not Italian? I could weigh 180 lbs and my mom would still push the pasta. I think that the older crew is just from a different time (I'm assuming this woman you were talking to is older. If not, which is actually what I'm thinking based on the way you describe her attitude, she's just jealous of you - don't even think any thing else about it).

Easier said than done, I know. But just smile to yourself and know that in one nano-second she'd be the first one in line to trade asses with you. And after four kids you look as awesome as you do??? Oh, that knife has to be very uncomfortable in her side...well, if she can feel it there through all of that, well, I've made my point.

Julie B said...

Ouch. I have felt that thorn and it stings.

I have found as I surround myself with other athletes who do have a high regard for athletic endeavors and my running; the thorny people don't hurt quite so much.