It’s All About Perception

It’s been a very long time since I posted to this blog. Every day, I’ve thought, “Do it today,” and then I didn’t feel like it. It’s a lot like losing weight. For most of 54 years, I thought, “I should lose weight,” but didn’t do it. And then, one day, I decided to do it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about perception; how we see ourselves, how others see us, and how others see themselves.

Several months ago, a male friend announced that he was going on a diet. Good for him. I’m all in favor of people making changes if they want to. He was quick to note that he wasn’t overweight or fat, but just weighed more than he wanted to. Okay. Except that his belly hung over his belt, obscuring the buckle. A comparably sized woman would have been called fat. My friend lost the weight and looks great, but he’s still a big guy. If he was a woman, he’d still be called fat. But his perception is that he never was fat to begin with. Interesting. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Conversely, I have a female friend who is certain that fat is the worst thing that can happen. Over the past few years, she’s gone from a lovely, fit, regular-looking thin person, to a gaunt-faced, extra-thin woman, obsessed with having men tell her how hot she is. She claims she hasn’t really lost weight, just toned a bit. Her perception of herself is that she could stand to “tone” a bit more. I fear that if it was possible, she’d tone herself down to nothing.

Then I have the multiple “helpful” friends who are full of advice and criticism. According to them, I’m doing everything wrong. Not just the diet, but everything.

Friend: Low carb diets are bad for you. You’ll ruin your kidneys. Eating fat will make you fatter.

Me: My blood tests are all in the excellent category. My doctor and I are thrilled. I’ve lost over 100 lbs in just over a year.

Friend: Why are you writing a book? Do you really think anyone will buy it?

Me: I think I have something to say about giving up the pain we inflict on ourselves as the result of emotional abuse. If no one buys it, I will have done it for myself.

Friend: You’ll never get to your goal weight. You should stop when you get under 180.

Me: Uh-huh.

Friend: I exercise all the time. You should too.

Me: Most days, the most exercise my body can take is showering and dressing.

Note – As some of you, including my friend, know, for the last 14 months, I’ve been dealing with an hereditary blood condition. The treatment has left me anemic, exhausted, and prone to fainting. Exercise isn’t even slightly an option.

Friend: You have a negative attitude and you’re a whiner.

Me: Not true. You should stop listening to gossip.

Friend: You’re not really a writer. You’re more of a typist.

Me: I didn’t actually respond to this, because I couldn’t think of a way that didn’t involve screaming, very bad words, and pointing out that my friend’s use of language sometimes makes her look like an idiot. I didn’t take it to heart though.

My friends’ perception is that I’m doing everything wrong. My perception is that when faced with multiple difficulties, I’ve handled them well. For most of my life, my perception of myself was determined by what others said about me. No more.

My life is all about my perception.