Sticks and Stones

We are taught at a young age to not let things bother us.  Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.  Or so they say.  How many people truly live as this motto says?  Probably not very many.  When people think of obesity, bullying might often come to mind.  The children featured on Biggest Loser this year spoke a lot how the biggest challenge of being fat is being teased or bullies.  That seems like a given since children are known to be cruel.  But what happens when adults bully adults?

This past Sunday, I was munching on a biscuit in the hallway at my church when an older man passed by and said:

“Don’t you ever stop eating?”

I’m not sure if it was what he said or how he said it but it struck a nerve that I had never felt before.  Sure, I was teased and slightly taunted throughout school.  I knew I was fat and that the other kids knew it too.  But as an adult?  By a fellow adult?  In church?  Something just hit hard.  He kept walking as he said it.  I looked at TJ with tears in my eyes and hurt in my heart.  Yes, that had really just happened.

I’ve had time to reflect on it over the past few days.  The words have been repeated over and over in my head time and time again.  Tears have been shed.  I know that the man may have not been intentionally cruel or that he even meant what he said.  But I do know that his words stung and they stung hard.  Am I being a baby for being upset and crying over someone making one hurtful and rude comment to me concerning food?  Maybe I am.

But I want to encourage everyone to think about what leaves their mouths no matter the topic.  Is it uplifting or degrading?  Could it be misinterpreted?  Does the other person know you are joking?  These are things to consider.  Bullying doesn’t stop after high school. No, it can follow you into adulthood.  But we as individuals have the power to control how we react to it.  Believe me, comments like that hurt really deep but I’m not going to allow some man’s words to negate my self esteem and make me feel unworthy as a beautiful woman.  Yes, sticks and stones will break my bones.  Words may actually even hurt me.  But sitting around and crying about it isn’t going to make it any better.  Turning to food as a band-aid isn’t going to make words and hurt magically disappear.  But standing strong and keeping my head high where it should be can make dealing with bullies and harsh words much much easier.

I encourage you to say something nice to someone every single day this week.  Lift them up and be a positive part of their day.  They may need it.

12 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones

  1. oh kelsey. hugs. what an A-hole. next time you see him, I would say “yes, i eat. I eat to fuel my body because I am an athlete.” i think i would ask him what he has done lately and tell him how rude he was. well, in my head i would do all of those things. 🙂 xoxoxo

  2. I second Elizabeth’s comment about being an athlete!

    Also, people need to mind their business. Sometimes people will say a comment like that to me about what I’m eating/not eating OR say something to me about not drinking – AND IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. Like “Oh, you aren’t drinking? Why? That seems stupid.” I just want to scream: “I DON’T WANT TO DRINK RIGHT NOW, BACK OFF.” What if I was an alcoholic?!! People have no idea what other people are going through!

    Sorry my rant is over now.

  3. Hi! I think this is my first time commenting on your blog, but I’ve been reading for a while – always an enjoyable read 🙂 I am so sorry to hear of your experience, and your reflection on it is so wise. Funnily enough, almost the same thing happened to me at church a while ago. I knew the man well and knew that he didn’t mean to come across harsh, but it was a shame to experience a careless comment. I’d replied cheerfully “Yep, need to refuel from the run I did before church!” before I could stop myself and happily we both laughed.

  4. Words do hurt no matter what and it’s hard to look past something once it’s been said. But sadly I am guilty of not thinking before I speak or even thinking of about what I want to say but it still not coming out how I wanted it to. I am working on making sure that think more about something I say, even if I am just teasing, because I would never want to accidentally hurt anyone’s feelings, this is all part of my journey back to Christ and becoming a better person!
    I’m sorry that that man hurt your feelings, I’m sure it was not intentional but sometimes people just don’t think.

  5. I am sorry someone said that to you. Not cool at all. I have often wondered if people who are regular-sized have the constant mental issues with what people think of them when they’re eating. I doubt it. Most people I’m sure don’t think anything of it but it’s comments like that that stick in your mind forever. I don’t know you in real life, but I can tell just from reading your blog that you are strong, smart, funny, and beautiful.

  6. wow the nerve of some people! I used to have a quote I kept on my computer and for the life of me I cannot remember exactly how it went, but it said to always watch what you say to others because you leave an impression, good or bad, on everyone you meet and never leave them unaffected. It sounds more profound in the actual quote, but I used it as a constant reminder when coaching individuals to always take responsibility for my words. You’ve got tough skin and just know that he is ignorant for what he said and that you are a better person to not retaliate. (i know i would have)

  7. Wow, I’ve been there. Even after surviving being bullied in elementary/middle.high school – now, I work in a nursing home and have been brought to tears several times Re: the horrible and insensitive things some of the residents have said to me about my weight. Anyways, you’re not alone. Keep your chin up!

  8. What a jerky)&*(^. I would have been snarky right back to him, but that’s a defense mechanism I’ve managed to create.

    I have that self-consciousness of being overweight. I know I would never be a “slim” size as my bff was in elementary school. I can admire beautiful women without realizing I need to starve myself.

    I got hit with the “you got married, so you gained 20 pounds” (that person was downgraded from friend to acquaintance!) (and the weight gain was due to a lot of things, including medication side effects and undiagnosed celiac). I also, often enough, get the “why aren’t you smiling?” from people who don’t realize that even peppy people need a break!

    You’re a great person and MUCH better than the old man who doesn’t possess a brain to mouth filter!

  9. Pingback: True Life: I Have an Eating Disorder | Go Girl

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