I haven’t written here for a long time. Honestly, I didn’t see much point. The things I was saying didn’t seem to be reaching very many people and the ones that needed to see/hear them most don’t even look at my blog. The few that do seem to stop by and read, well, I’m pretty much ‘preaching to the choir’ there.
Recently, while discussing a fandom issue on a Twitter thread, a couple of people expressed the wish that I would continue with my blog. I guess if it helps or makes even a single person think then it has fulfilled its function. It isn’t up to ME to dictate how my writing affects others, it’s up to ME to write it and let the universe handle the rest. Makes sense given what I want to talk about here today.
First, I am going to ask…beg really…for people to respond to this question either here on the blog or via Twitter. Please look at this picture and tell me if you think any of these girls are ‘fat’…. ‘porky’……. ‘chunky’ ….. or any of a number of other adjectives used to denote being overweight. I seriously want comments on this – as detailed as you will like to get them.
Now, this is an old picture so no feelings will be hurt. I happen to know that one of those girls (they were all….16 or 17 in this picture) was told repeatedly by her family that she was overweight and needed to trim down. She was told she was fat and would never make anything of her life if she didn’t fix it. At school she was called a variety of names all indicating that she was overweight. Can you pick which girl this was said to?
She believed what people said; believed it so completely that she dressed differently from her friends, constantly stressed about how ‘fat’ she was and never felt good enough for anything. I happen to know she reached adulthood consistently gaining weight and now, as those words that she was bombarded with from the time she was a young teen said, she is indeed fat/overweight. Very likely she would be told she is obese by a doctor – though she tests out fairly healthy. Joint issues are beginning to manifest and the extra weight likely isn’t doing her heart any good, but overall healthy.
Words matter. How might this woman’s life have been different if she would have told – especially by her family – that she was a perfectly normal teen? If she had been encouraged to be more active at a younger age? (She’s a bookworm, has been since she was six and likes to do crafty things – all sitting down activities.) I wonder if she would have had more confidence and followed her dreams rather than working in jobs that she was good at but never really enjoyed. Would she at this stage just be slightly overweight rather than obese?
Words matter. I am using this story to illustrate that. The tongue is one of the strongest muscles we have; it can build up or tear down. If you have never read them, I highly recommend two books: Hung by the Tongue and The Tongue: A Creative Force.
Words matter. What we say matters. How we say things matters. How often is ‘constructive criticism’ actually more DEstructive and meant to be? What we say to others, tweet to others, respond to others – blog – matters. It has cause and effect. Should we keep silent in our own worlds? Of course not – but we should be ever aware of the words we use and how we use them.
Some people are very secure in themselves and their chosen professions and so can take a lot of criticism in stride without too many negative side effects. Many are not in that place. I encourage you to ‘speak’ to people from a place of respect: both for yourself and them. They may look different, think differently than you, believe differently or have different ideology – but they are still a human being just like you. You may not agree with them, but respect that they believe differently. Discuss those differences! Learn about and from each other! Have respect. Words matter.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I screw up on a regular basis. I have probably ‘said’ things here in this blog I shouldn’t have or that came across badly. I try to be very mindful when I post anything as to how it comes across and might affect others – but I get angry sometimes and just don’t police myself well.
I just pray I never do to anyone else what was done to that girl that so irrevocably affected her life.