GOOD MORNING WORLD
I had the opportunity recently to be the object of some very rude, insulting, insensitive remarks. The speaker said them as casually as if they were speaking about the weather. It left me a bit rattled about how to respond. We were in a group and I did not want to disturb the atmosphere or ruin the occasion for the others.
Let me set this up for you. We were four old friends having lunch. I see one of these ladies once every 5 years. Another, Lady A, of them I may see a couple of times a year to say hello at the grocery or a lunch maybe. The third is a good friend. We are discussing age. I said that I had decided I wanted to live to 104. Lady A without batting an eyelash says, “Well you will have to lose weight.” WHACK!
Some who are reading this may not know that I am a rather generous plump eclectic aging woman. Weight has been an issue all of my life. At one point a friend was giving me a nickel for the pounds I lost and my folks giving me a quarter. At 30 cents a pound I think I was getting almost the same price of beef per pound at the time! I was called ‘chunkie’ often as a kid. I have dealt with not being able to find clothes to fit. I have listened to the people who ever so kindly think they are helping by offering ways to lose weight or information on exercise programs. Just lose it! Just do it! Ah easy for them to say. Perhaps easy for them to do. I remain a generous plump aging woman.
So I am sitting at that table wondering how I can get out of this situation. Do I make a scene and tell this person how insensitive they are? Do I tell them that what they said was rude and insulting? Do I tell them I was hurt by the comment? Am I being too sensitive? They did not mean to inflict harm. Does this make them less culpable for their words? I have to tell you had I not driven everyone to this restaurant that I would have gotten up and left the table. As it was I just became a little quiet and worked my way through the idiocy of her words.
Do not people think what they say? Did this person know or care that their words inflicted hurt? It was my judgment at the time and still today that this is how this person speaks. Lady A speaks her mind with certainty that they are correct believing everyone certainly would understand this. She says it without a care that she is inflicting hurt. It was my judgment that she believed she knew me well enough to say anything. I believe she does not. She knows who I was not who I am. We can change our paradigms. Others who do not know us well will be unaware of that and assume we are the person they have known all their lives. I am not.
I live much of my life behind a mask. I believe most of us do. We want others to see us in a good light. We can smile uncomfortably at an off color joke as we do not want to offend. We do not let others know when we are scared. We do not let people in to share our concern for our family’s welfare. We rarely share our fears. Joys are easy. We let cutting remarks fall off our shoulders like water off a duck’s back. I want others to see me as a capable in control person. I want others to see me as strong and independent. I am all of these. I am much more as well.
Letting Lady A off without making a scene was the mask in full force. The person behind the mask no longer allows slings and arrows to go unnoticed. I will send a note to Lady A and share with her what she did. I will let her know that she no longer knows me. I will let her know, kindly, that I heard her words as insensitive. I will let her know that while she may believe our old friendship may allow her the comfort of believing she could say what she wanted without care, it is not true. I will suggest that she be careful what she says if she speaks like this all the time. Words are important and we must be ever so careful about how we use them.
I hear it out there like a roar of a crowd at a sporting event. You all are saying why in the world are you making a mountain out of a molehill? Aren’t you being too sensitive? What difference does it make? The answer to you all is no. I n the atmosphere of a casual lunch I did not expect to be insulted. I did not expect to be spoken to rudely. I did not expect to have hurt feelings over my salad. I was looking forward to a fun friendly lunch. It did not turn out that way.
So am I being vengeful. Am I being tit for tat? Is this childish? Maybe all of the above! I do not really think so and it does not matter. I am finally sticking up for me. I am sticking up for people who have been the brunt of insensitive remarks. I am telling my story. It is my belief that Lady A had no idea what she was saying. I actually do not believe she cared how it would sound to others either as it was so casual. If I am honest and kind in my note perhaps she may think a second before she speaks another time. If I can share my story it may give her a moment of introspection. I will not know that. I will only be writing what I felt in a calmer non-confrontational tone due to time past and thought given. She can take it or leave it.
…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…