Wednesday, April 16, 2008

unsolicted weight loss advice

i recently received a couple of emails from my aunt, with whom i established a lovely relationship when my dad was in the hospital. i've never really had a realtionship with Auntie M before, but spent a lovely evening chatting about this and that and catch-up when i was back in chicago. we exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch at the end of the visit.

two days ago, she sent me a short email greeting. the weird part, though, is that she also included images of a couple of wedding dresses she'd found on the internet... sweet gesture (i guess) considering that i briefly mentioned that my guy and i had wedding plans on the near horizon, but a little odd, too... sure, i mentioned that after 5.5 years together, we wanted to tie the knot soon so as to A.) get my folks of our backs about living in sin; and B.) to avoid reproducing bastard children, but this information was shared in passing, just one bit of conversation lost in the mix of a variety of 'catching up' tidbits. funny thing is that both wedding dress images were of plus sized models in CHEESY dresses. she informed me that she would also forward images from her friend's wedding because her friend's dress was a thing of beauty. she closed with a directive, "get excited about your wedding."

huh?

frankly, i think i'm probably the only woman on the planet who isn't head over heels about planning my wedding (it's been nearly six years, for crissakes! the thrill is gone... although i couldn't love my guy more, but make no mistake...i am not the picture of blushing virginal bride). so the directive to "get excited" seemed strange... as strange as the wedding dress images, because i don't recall talking about dress buying with her. i didn't take her email to heart, though. i figured that she was probably trying to build on the connection we made in chicago - reaching out to me via something she thought i was interested in. i sent a short note back thanking her for thinking of me and letting her know that i was glad to hear from her. and that was that...

...until the next email came. this one had a link to an extravagant wedding dress manufacturer (vastly different from the initial images) and the note said "this is the dress that my friend wore... although she's not a size 0 like the models... she has a full and beautiful figure." *blink*blink* what the hell does that mean? again, i thanked her and noted how lovely the gowns were.

the third email came last night... she had forwarded some information about a technique called "tapping" which she said may help with my weight loss (again, i don't remember talking specifically about my weight loss journey to her... maybe i said something about weight watchers in passing at another point in the visit?? i certainly didn't go into detail about it.) my weight loss?? she went on to say that she thought i was beautiful as i am, however, if i wanted to lose weight, it was my prerogative. WTF??

i'm SURE i'm just being sensitive. from the weekend i spent in my aunt's company, i got to know a little bit about her life... and she's lonely. she doesn't have close girlfriends. she doesn't even have family that she can rely on. so i choose to take her recent emails as simply reaching out to another compassionate soul in the universe. after all, she also said on numerous occasions over the weekend that she was so delighted to feel part of a family.

still... i was a little... hmm, i don't know how to describe the feeling... taken aback?.. by the content of my aunt's emails. she is not overweight... she's not underweight... she's perfect the way she is (and who am i to judge this?) so i thought it was kind of weird that she would dwell on MY weight in every single email. it kind of felt presumptuous on her part that she would be able to inform my personal journey with weight loss. this is a very personal thing to me. i feel a certain level of vulnerability around my weight and my choice to lose weight. i certainly did not invite her in to comment on my journey. so why was she doing so IN EVERY SINGLE EMAIL???

perhaps i really am being a ninny... after all, via blogging, i'm opening up some of my most personal and private feelings around this whole weight loss/body acceptance journey to perfect strangers... what's so wrong about sharing with my auntie?

what's so wrong is that it's not on my terms... that's why it feels a little uncomfortable. the enlightened part of me sees this interaction with my Auntie M as a means of getting to know a brilliant member of my family (after all, she's a harvard phd and does huge humanitarian efforts in africa!!!how cool is that??). if my weight serves as a catalyst to a fruitful and deep relationship with another amazing female who is FAMILY, then who cares?

but then there's the smaller, more sensitive part of me that feels like, "HEY! i did NOT invite you into my room! GET OUT!!"

for now i guess i'll be satisfied with the middle ground and be grateful that
  • my feeling really weren't hurt by her emails
  • how cool is it to develop an adult relationship with an amazing lady who lives her life more outside of herself than most peeps i know??
  • how cool am i for not being sucked into the she's-taking-liberties-with-my-person-that-she-has-no-business-taking
still, it feels better to get it all out...

13 comments:

justoofat said...

First off... my husband and I lived together (no joke) for 14 years before finally getting married... and then, (I like to joke), it was mostly for tax purposes. In the end, when we did it, we just went down to the courthouse, signed the paperwork and then went out to dinner with our two friends who served as witnesses. It was totally low key and perfect for us. I guess what I'm trying to say is I relate to and admire your decision to follow your own path and do what works for you, rather than allowing yourself to get caught up in what everybody else wants.

As for your loony (but sweet) Aunt... you are definitely taking the high ground here and I admire your restraint, self-assuredness and gentle spirit. It's really quite something that you can see through her clumsy comments and realize that she's just a bit lonely and that in her own awkward way, she thinks she's being helpful.

Good for you. I wish I were so level headed.

Cheers!
j

Lasserday said...

hmm, strange. glad you are not letting it make you crazy, as is so easy to do.

i, too, am not a big wedding girl, but dh and i married after only 5 months of knowing each other! even with the romance, i never really got why girls get so riled up about a big white wedding.

Heather said...

oh my goodness! I dont like when people comment on my body/life or keep implying something that I know! I knew I was fat, I didnt need to be told over and over like I was. so I udnerstand how youd feel. Im sure she has the best intentions at heart, just doesnt know how to shut up and let you decide what you want to do with your own life and body. and I can relate about your relationship situation...I have been with my boyfriend for 8 yrs and I definitely am not one of those "blushing virginal brides" or someone to get all wrapped up in a wedding. its a piece of paper that makes what I have "legal".

belly said...

14 years, jtf?? that's quite impressive! aren't you commonlaw at that point? thanks for the kind words of support... i guess life wouldn't be quite as fun if there weren't a few loonies thrown in the mix for good measure - and to keep us on our toes!!

lasserday: i think that i'm experiencing those elusive, rare days of the month when i'm sane and level-headed. i probably would have gone off on a ranting tirade if i'd received her emails any other time!!

heather: glad to know i'm not the only one out there who doesn't get freaky over weddings... don't get me wrong, i LOVE big weddings... when i'm a guest:) i think the thing that kind of intimidates me is just the sheer volume of time and energy and resources that go into the planning... terrifying when i think about it!!

bikinime said...

tag.

Jenny said...

So true, the comment you have about ease of talking up to virtual strangers. Personally nothing's more likely to send me to a chocolate cream eclair than a loved one offering unsolicited advice. But it's so comfortable to receive advice online from people you've never met...strange.

FAT BRIDESMAID said...

I think you're perfectly within your rights to be taken aback by your auntie's comments about losing weight. On the one hand she probably means well and is just trying to make conversation, but on the other hand, GAH! it's not the best email topic with somewhat distant relatives, is it?

And don't let blogging make you feel like you've got to knock down all of those privacy walls you've got around your family and friends. Want to know a secret? My family doesn't even know I write a weight loss blog. Neither do any of my friends, and you know why? Because I'm just not ready to share that with them. It's got nothing to do with them or the support they offer -- some things are just easier said to strangers.

belly said...

bikinime - thanks for the tag. as soon as i hunt down a few bloggers to tag, i'll pass it on:)

jenny - it IS weird, isn't it?? i mean i pour my heart out to you wonderful strangers, but put me in a room with my relatives and weight talk? HEYYLLL no...

fat bridesmaid - me too. i take every caution to retain my annonymity on this old bloggy. my fave inside joke is that my profile occupation suggests i'm good with numbers... HAH! i can barely keep track of my freaking weight watchers points, let alone financials for an entire company!!

K. said...

Geez, No wonder auntie doesn't have many friends...lol. I am thinking 2 things: as overweight people we tend to kinda make quick comments about our weight, the elephant in the room just to justify ourselves...this may just be a coping mechanism but could be interpreted as an invite to some relationship craving family members, lol. Alternatively, it may just be that she is indeed trying to build a relationship and is just a tad untactful and pushy, lol. Could be...but I think you should keep saying thanks for thinking of me without commenting on the weight or the dresses. Since she is a PhD, she should soon figure those topics are off limits...it is funny tho, and would annoy the heck out of me too. K.

manda31 said...

i think you are a bigger person than me to not get mad at Auntie, cause I would have been very upset.

I give you credit for not ripping into her.

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