The other day, I got a response to “You Don’t Get to Comment on What I Eat”, saying:
I guess what I don’t understand is why you felt the need to offer up any kind of suggestion beyond “yes” in the first place. When you do that, I can’t help but feel that the other person feels an invitation to elaborate or follow up on your comments.
I did comment back, but I think this deserves a bit more discussion. I know a lot of people think that if you just don’t volunteer information, then people won’t do or say whatever it was they did or said. However, in this case (and I’d wager a lot of cases, but I have no statistics on that, so it’s just my own thoughts here), that’s not so.
See, the woman already felt the need to insinuate her advice into my life by asking if I was hungry. Being a good cashier, she asked if I wanted the candy left out, and that’s where good customer service ends. When I said yes, that should have been the end of that. But she felt the need to continue by asking if I was hungry. At that point, she already went over the line. If, at that point, I’d said it was none of her business, I’d be an entry on a customers suck forum as at least a “WTF”, if not being a “suck”. (Yes, I read customer sucks forums. It’s like a train wreck, I just can’t look away.)
If I answered back just “yes”, since she’d already gone there, answering back a one syllable sentance probably wouldn’t have stopped her reply.
Why do I have to always guard what I say? Why is it always up to me to have to live perfectly so I don’t get questioned? Why do I have to defend myself and my actions, when my actions and words were appropriate actions and normal to the environment I was in?
This is a classic case of blaming the victim. Being a survivor of extreme child abuse and rape, and then domestic violence as an adult until I got into counseling and changed how I saw myself, I know what blaming the victim looks and sounds like. I can’t count how many times I was told that if I’d only behaved myself, I wouldn’t have forced my parents to ‘punish’ me like they did. (This is also why I am so vehement against people trying to claim the parents of obese children are really abusing them. You want to know what real abuse is? Let’s sit down and talk. Don’t eat anything before you come over though, your stomach might not appreciate it. But I digress.)
I should be able to go wherever I want, and say whatever I want (as long as it isn’t inflammatory to other people) and be able to expect that people will treat me with respect. Period. I shouldn’t have to guard what I say. I shouldn’t have to be paranoid about what words come out of my mouth, constantly wondering if what I’m saying is going to cause somebody else to say something that’s offensive, abusive, or just a WTF comment. I shouldn’t have to live my life in fear of what I say.
Because, if I do live my life in fear that if I say, “Yes, I’m hungry. I’ve not eaten since breakfast,” I’m going to cause them to say something inappropriate to me, then I’m also going to live my life in fear of going outside dressed in shorts because somebody might harass me, call me names or tell my husband he needs to put a “wide load sign on her ass”. I’m also going to have to live in fear because if I go out to exercise, somebody might try and run me over in a car. Or if I go out to eat, and choose to have anything other than a small salad (dry, no croutons), I’m going to be accosted by another diner who is just “trying to help” when she tells me I really shouldn’t eat *whatever is on my plate*, because, you know, it might kill me. Heavens forbid I want to go to an ice cream shop and get a gasp shake. Or gee, I want to go to McDonalds and actually get a Big Mac Meal (TM), because then I’ll be playing right into the stereotype of all fatties eat McDonalds all the time.
If I stop being normal, and expecting people to treat me like they treat normal people, then I buy into their BS which says that I’m too fat for anything (read: not good enough). Too fat for respect. Too fat for a good life. Too fat to be desirable. Too fat to live, even.
And, I’ve bought that line for a long time. Since I was 18, I never went out of the house in shorts. Until this past summer. I rarely wore bright colors because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Until last summer when I got a red shirt and skirt. Nice and bright. Now I have three red shirts, two for summer, and one for winter. I never wore bold patterns, again, because bold patterns draw attention to myself. Now, I have a few things that have bold patterns.
I’m not afraid to demand the modicum amount of respect that everybody deserves. Nobody deserves to be harassed or abused. Nobody “makes” another person do or say inappropriate things just by answering a simple question.
I’m done living my life by other people’s rules. I’m done living my life in fear of doing or saying something that is going to “make” somebody abuse me, harass me, respond somehow inappropriately to me. If somebody asks me if I’m hungry, I’m not going to think, “Oh, best not answer that because she is probably setting me up for inappropriate remarks”. No, I’m going to respond like a normal person would, and expect to be treated like a normal person.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I’m not giving up all the ground I’ve gained.
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