A couple weeks ago I was walking down the street at lunch time (on my way to buy an icecream… errrr… I mean an apple …) and a man called me fatty. Literally. A stranger. Just called me fat.
Now I’m not skinny but I’m not fat by any means. I’m quite strong and reasonably defined – but not overweight.
I am also apparently quite thin skinned because this throw away comment really ate away at me all day and knocked my confidence a lot.
I’d not had the best week food wise (and was on my way to get icecream) so it fed into all my negative perceptions of myself, because I already felt a little bit out of sorts.
I mulled it over several times in my head and with people before I felt better about it. I wanted to write about it at the time but to be honest it actually knocked my confidence too much to commit it to paper.
A few weeks later and with some perspective, I want to make two observations about this comment.
First, for your own mental wellbeing learning when not to give a shit matters. I lost so much of my day being upset about the opinion of someone I’ve never met. More to the point it wasn’t even an accurate comment because I’m not fat – would I have been so upset if he’d have said today is Tuesday (when it was in fact Thursday), an equally inaccurate comment? Of course not. Even more importantly – if I was fat his opinion on the subject still wouldn’t matter.
I’m healthy and fit – what anyone else thinks of my choices surrounding my body or lifestyle are irrelevant as long as I am happy with what I’m doing.
Second, setting aside point 1, we should all be careful with our words. I’m almost positive that man thought nothing more of that throw away line. I mean yes, it was unnecessary and mean, but he probably never gave it a second thought. Yet it affected me for hours- knocked my confidence, bought up insecurities. If he had thought about that would he have still said it? Perhaps… but I think he was probably just a dick to be honest.
What we say without thinking and see as insignificant may mean more to and affect the person we are talking to in a much bigger way. That doesn’t mean we should never speak our mind- sometimes people get too easily offended- and we can’t be held responsible for how others interpret our words and their meaning. But. If we know something could be taken negatively (calling someone fat for instance- a pretty sure bet) and there isn’t an actual need to say it – why do it? Even if you think it’s not a big deal- it could be to the person you are talking to. It’s just spiteful. Be a nice person not a prat.
So the next time someone decides to shout an insult at me in the street (I’m sure it will happen some people are just idiots) I shall ignore them and be happier for it knowing I’m more in control of my own feelings that I was just a few weeks ago.
So really the man did me a favour.