Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do I have a Post-It On My Forehead?

My weight is a battle I am ever waging. I have a vision that the day my thighs drop the saddlebags and the jiggling of my upper arms no longer causes the butterfly effect, I will magically meet any one of my imaginary boyfriends (Lee Pace, I'm looking at you tonight), and he will fall in love with me instantly, from across a crowded room. Naturally, as we're walking towards each other, eyes alight with finding our soul mate in each other, a giant, many-tentacled alien will destroy the planet. Such is my luck.

Wait, where was I? Oh right... I'm fat. Anyway, I've been hanging with the peeps at Jenny Craig lately, and have been losing some weight. Yay! The downside, people have eyeballs. When people notice things, they love to talk about the things they notice. Somehow, in the Great American Lexicon of Poor Manners, I missed the chapter that a change in your appearance becomes an open invitation to random passersby to dissect your personal style.

I am completely flabbergasted by the nerve of my co-workers- indeed, some people with whom I have NEVER spoken- to come up to me and discuss not only my weight, but my hair (color, cut, whether I wear it up or down), my makeup (my particular favorite was being called "dewy, but too heavy on the eyemakeup"), whether I look better with glasses or contacts, the clothes that I wear, the collection of shoes under my desk, what I eat ("is that Jenny approved?" Who knows? Keep working on those curly fries). It's like working on a noticeable flaw gives people carte-blanche to point out everything that is wrong with you. Settle down people, I'm rehabbing the kitchen, not rebuilding the house.

Throughout these overweening conversations, I inexplicably find myself dumbstruck, smiling and trying to explain my fashion choices to my meddling turkey of a conversant. Why of course I DO look better with my hair down. You're right, I should go and buy hairdye tonight! Better yet, I'll do it at lunch!

It's only after these overfamiliar exchanges have taken place and the intrusive peck has walked away from my desk that I feel the sting of the back-handed insult buried in there.

It brings me to ask, if this is you with a filter, what are you really thinking? However, I often wonder whether or not people really do have a filter when it comes to situations like this. People genuinely think they are being helpful, and tact doesn't come into play when giving unsolicited advice. People blurt out whatever alights on the gentle breezes of their minds.

For all my self-righteous indignation, I'm no exception. I am an overly-opinionated bossy boots with enough knowledge to talk about anything, and abounding gall to fake what I don't know. So where does this verbal diarrhea come from? Why do we feel compelled to say whatever is on our minds about how others live their peaceable existences, without any regard for what is likely a carefully thought out personal choice?

Simple- we always think we're right. It is human nature to judge others by our own pushy, self-assertive life code. It is inconceivable to think that others live by an equally effective, though disparate set of choices/values/plans. This is the delicate eggshell-thin construct of our own EGO. We are constantly checking the mental checklist of our life (choices, actions, experiences) against those of other people. Are we normal? Are we appropriate? Are we right?

Deep down, I know that most people don't have vicious intentions when scrutinizing every aspect of my being. For most, it is a message of solidarity, their way of showing that they are supportive of my lame attempts at self-improvement. I just wish that I could be going through rehab or something less noticeable... maybe then Joyce would keep her hands to herself and not pull the top of my shirt up: "You're a pretty girl. You don't need to rely on your tits. Cover those up."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think my favorite comment, of all time, was from a coworker saying to me, "Did you *mean* to cut your hair that short? Well, it will grow back." -Rachel