I know, I know – "More food posts!" Bear with me, they're on the way.
I wrote this post about a week ago and it seemed to resonate with some of you, and then a little something happened that got me thinking about other related things…so here you go, I'm pouring that out for you today.
I've been walking on a semi-regular basis with one of the other Kindergarten Moms (Rosa's Foster Mom, actually) (I know – I don't have any pictures of Rosa to post, and I'm sorry – I know so many of you are wondering how she's doing. Hahahaha.) and we've got plans to go on an even MORE regular basis once the school year is done and we have a little bit more flexibility. Anyway, one of the other Kindergarten Moms (who has four kids kindergarten age and younger) was talking to us about the whole exercising thing and losing weight after having kids and all that (I have NO excuse – my youngest is now 6, I can't blame any of this on a recent pregnancy)…and this other mom we were talking to – she is in FABULOUS shape – was telling us how huge she was at one point, maybe after her third child was born, I can't remember. Anyway, Rosa's Foster Mom and I basically didn't believe her. No, no, we said. You could never have been huge.
And so she said she'd bring in pictures and prove it. A couple of days later, she did. And yes, she was bigger then – her face was fuller, she wasn't as toned as she is now.
But the thing was, we shook our heads and said "No, no, that's still not very big."
And I thought about that afterward.
About how the immediate response seemed to be "No, you're not as big as I am!"
And really? I'm not obese. Neither is Rosa's Foster Mom. And neither was the Other Kindergarten Mom.
But it still seemed like the knee-jerk response was almost a competetive one, in terms of who has/had the most weight to lose. It was like "sorry, you may have been carrying some post-baby weight around, but look at ME! I've got you beat!" Like if we were men, we'd all be unzipping our pants and comparing…our huge guts…or something…well, you get the idea.
It's strange, how we can be about ourselves, isn't it?
And then, after I'd chewed on that for a bit, I started thinking about Other Kindergarten Mom (instead of me and my thighs, which are The Biggest Thighs In The Univers, at least in my mind's eye sometimes), and about the two pictures she brought in from several years ago, and about how she looks now, and no matter what, she has gone from the way she looked in those pictures to how she looks now, and that took a lot of hard work and perseverance. And for me to look at the pictures and be somehow dismissive of them – "Oh, you didn't look that bad – not as bad as ME in my current state of Sta-Puff Marshmallow Womanhood" is to deny her credit for all the work she put into changing how she looked.
So I apologized to her yesterday.
But I'm still thinking about the whole thing.
It would be vain to tell someone "I look so much BETTER than you do," and so most of us don't go around doing that. But what we do when we say things like "Oh, you were never as fat as I am now" is kind of the same thing, only twisted around and…weirder.
Why do we do that? It's competetive…but in a negative way. Do we feel better if we tell ourselves we are somehow worse than one of our peers? What the heck is that all about? Not only are we putting ourselves down, but we're also indirectly putting down the other person, at least a little, by, in effect, saying "you had it easier than I do in going from where you were then to where you are now." Is it a way to make ourselves feel better about where we are right now? That we aren't there yet because for us, the road is oh so much longer and hilly? Are we trying, somewhere in our heads, to tell the other person that they weren't as out of shape or whatever as we currently are? Are we thinking that we're paying the other person a compliment?
I don't know.
I just know it's got me thinking differently.