Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cut and Callous of Words

I don't want to harp on the subject of Fat Sensitivy any longer- the media has thankfully, picked up on the firestorm resulting from the blogger on that Magazine site, whom I am refraining from mentioning, because they are reveling in the publicity. After all, there is no "bad" publicity when it comes to getting your name out there.

What I had wanted to say though, before this spawns into another tangent, is that words hold amazing power. They can inspire, cause our hearts to swell, or tear up in empathy.

Words also have the power to cut with razor sharp precision, inflicting pain, and forever imprinting themselves in our memory. These cuts, though they may heal, don't ever really go away. They callous and scar, always there, laying in wait to remind ourselves of their presence. Therapists, Life Coaches, touchy-feeling Self Help books, they all try to help "overcome" those scars in order to make them disappear, but they don't disappear. What you learn in therapy or in self help books, is merely to recognize the trigger point... but the words and their scars - they don't ever go away- you always remember them, triggered or not. They may not always have the same affect, and you may learn how to deal with the triggers once recognized..but the words and the pain that was inflicted always sticks around.

The problem with what was said by the insensitive blogger, wasn't that she was expressing her opinion, because as it is said "opinions are like a-holes, everyone's got one, and they all stink" But rather, that her opinion only reinforces feelings of worthlessness amongst people who haven't been accepted. And, this isn;t just about accepting the overweight- it goes deeper than that... it could have been an insensitive comment about a gay person, or a minority, but whomever the comment is directed at- it will trigger some suppressed feeling from some time in their past, when they felt that way.

People who have been told they are worthless if by one person or a gaggle of people, has an easier time believing others when they are told them same thing again, because they already believe that about themselves. And, this isn't some veiled post about me and my feelings... I'm just trying to help people to see how heavy insensitive words are.

Ive been told before that my posts tend to the long side, and that people lose interest with them after only reading half of them.. so I will try to say this in fewer words... but I wanted to give you an example of the power of words.

I've said before, that I had heard through the grapevine, that some of the people I had gone to school with, had questioned another person about my training for a triathlon and laughing about the fact that I was even attempting it. I used those words to fuel me, to keep me inspired as I trained, to be the motivation that got me out of bed at 5:30 in the morning and into a cold pool on snowy days.

When I completed my triathlon, I was on cloud nine, I had DONE it. I set a goal, put my mind to it, and DID it. VALIDATION! !! ...

Or, so I thought. The same girls, commented to eachother via facebook (whether they remembered I could see their comments back and forth to each other in my feed [since we were friends on facebook] or not, was never anything I ever bothered to pursue) in short truncaed sentances might I add.. its not like anyone ever said "damn, that Millie is HUGE! I would never post pictures of myself in a bathing suit looking like that" it would be less obvious, like "I didn't know creatures that large frequented our lakes" or " some pictures are not meant for facebook"

The argument could be made that they weren't actually talking about me, and that they could have been having entirely different inside joke kind of conversations, but the point is that I saw them, assumed they were about me, as they were made in a fairly short time span after my Tri pics going up- and perhaps that would be the correct argument to make. But, it still goes into the same point I'm making about the power of words, and scars.

The point is, I saw those comments, and the wind was pulled completely from my sails. I was crushed. I looked at my pictures, looked at my time, reflected on my struggles and no longer felt pride, but instead felt shame. And that shame stuck with me all summer long... I couldn't even think about my Triathlon without a sense of embarrassment coming over me. I stopped talking about it, I put my scrapbook away, my medal- which had been a sense of pride hanging from my rearview mirror in my car, became a jumbled knot in the bottom of my purse.

I saw myself through their eyes, instead of continuing to see myself through my own. All those weeks of starting to feel good about myself, were stripped away in a matter of days.

Yes, I know, I gave them that power. I handed over my pride and allowed them to replace it with shame and embarrassment. But that is also the power of words, and deeply imbedded scars. Instead of seeking validation from the ONE person who really matters (Myself)- I put my own self worth in the validation of naysayers.

Now, a few months removed from the situation, I think to myself "yeah, but that beached whale, FINISHED a TRIATHLON" ,,,
that Large, Flabby, inner tube gut completed something that some attempt and fail, and some never attempt at all.

I did that.


And they can all go eff themselves, because my Sprint Tri, regardless of how short the distances, requires dedication, perserverence, and faith in ones self- something that clearly they do not have, or else they wouldn't hate on someone who did. Oh yeah, and they were all cut from friends list a long time ago. It felt good to let it (and them) go. They weren't ever really my "friends"- just people that I reconnected with when Facebook exploded. But, we've caught up, clearly they never left high school and are still bitches, so I cast them off into the "have a nice life" ocean a long time ago.

But words have power. That was the point.

So, my word, right this very second, that gives me power... TRIATHLETE.

Thats me. I did it. And right now, today, I am going to reconnect with the TRIATHLETE once again. No more of this half assing it as Ive been doing the past few months.

I have a 5K that I'm running next Saturday, the 6th (or maybe its the 7th) regardless, it's next weekend. Sadly, I am grossly under prepared for it. And I don't mean in the same neurotic "Oh Im afraid im underprepared for the Triathlon" thing I did back in May.. no I'm really truly like "Last Saturday was my birthday, the saturday previous I was in South Bend, the Saturday previous I decided to sleep in" UNDER prepared for my 5K.

It's going to be laughable. But I'm going to do it, to show myself what happens when training goes to the wayside. Its time to buckle down, and refocus. My eye is once again on the prize, and the prize is the 2011 Triathlon season.