Soon You’ll Be a Small Person

“Soon you’ll be a small person.” Someone said that to me recently. I knew what they meant; soon I’d have a smaller body. But that’s not exactly how I heard it. There’s a difference between having a smaller body, and being a small person. I don’t want to be a small person. I was small for so many years, taking whatever scraps of praise or affection that were offered. Scraps feed the Inner Fat Girl, who doesn’t think she deserves more.

I remember an interview Roseanne Barr gave many years ago when she first became really famous. She said that when she was young and thin, she felt invisible. Now that she was fat and loud, she was visible. She finally felt like she couldn’t be overlooked.

A few weeks ago, I got into an online argument with my friend C. I posted something on Facebook, she made some comments I didn’t like, so I said so, and she responded that she didn’t like my response to her. Probably not the finest hour for either of us, but I assumed we had each had our say, agreed to disagree, and it was over.

Then came the private message. C listed an extensive list of my personality faults, the dozens (or hundreds) of people who hate me, and pretty much tore out my heart and stomped it into oblivion. The nicest thing she said was that I’m bitter and jaded. Call me impatient with stupidity, and I’ll cop to it. Intolerant of lying and meanness? Yes. Bitter and jaded? Nope, not even close. I knew it wasn’t true, but I still cried for three days.

I kept reading the message, trying to decide if I was delusional and didn’t realize I was the most evil, hated person I know. Then I reread the rest of the message, in which C talked about herself and how she felt bullied and was no longer willing to let people bully her. I hadn’t bullied her; we had just disagreed and both said so. But I understood what she was saying; she had felt bullied. She was asserting herself as a large person. I respect that entirely. I just wish she hadn’t used a sledgehammer on me to make a point about herself.

The funny thing is, never once have I seen C as a small person, or suspected that she felt like a small person. She’s smart, funny, and outgoing, with a laugh that can be heard for miles. She’s also made huge life changes in recent years. Those changes have to have been difficult, but she stuck to her plan, and her life is better and more exciting because of it. And now she’s also stopped seeing herself as a small person.

I’m not a small person anymore either. Sometimes when we make big changes in our lives, we don’t know how to assert our new self. Friends and family want the old us back, and it can be difficult to make them see and accept the new us. Some won’t ever accept it. They’ll keep telling the old myths about who you are. They may not be part of your life anymore, by your choice or theirs. Go easy on them; put down the sledgehammer. But be who you are.

Be a large person.

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7 thoughts on “Soon You’ll Be a Small Person

  1. Karen, what an interesting post! I have to wonder, though, if C is actually no longer a small person. What gives her away, for me, is the need to use that sledgehammer. Once we’re big girls, we don’t project our stuff on to others, just to demonstrate our “bigness.” It is truly hard for others close to us to see the new version of us when we’ve transformed. No question. But when we’re in the process of transformation, just partly morphed, we’re a little raw. And that’s when the sledgehammer can come out. I hope you and C are in each other’s lives long enough for her to morph just a little more–enough to maybe acknowledge that at least a part of the exchange between you might have come from the old parts of her that were still adhered a bit.

  2. Melanie, thanks for your comments. I’m willing to give C the benefit of the doubt, and assume she didn’t have complete control over her largeness, a bit like driving a Toyota for years, then being given the keys to a Ferrari.

  3. Gail Storey says:

    Karen, one of the things I most appreciate about you is your big, big heart!

  4. Thank you, Gail. That means a lot to me.

  5. I went through this with my brother not too long ago. The same unprovoked attack, the same judgement. I cried the tears, fought the rage, Once I was calm, I was able to put things in perspective. Sometimes people get so overwhelmed by their own problems and the strength it takes to persevere that they explode at those who choose to handle things differently. They fight their demons, and actual resent those who just let their demons go. Unfortunately, though we resolved our issues that day, he was still trying to beat his chest a few months later. I got tired of the tug of war and I was forced to end the relationship, at least for the foreseeable future. Because sometimes being the bigger person means letting go of the rope and moving on. This was a great post. I hope neither you or C are forced to drop the rope, and that you can get back on the same team.

    • Melissa, I’m sorry to hear about you and your brother. I have a similar situation with my brothers. One currently wants nothing to do with me, for the silliest reasons. I have a tenuous relationship with the other brother, who recently talked trash about me to a longtime friend of mine, and for some reason doesn’t believe I’ve lost weight. At this point, given my health issues, it feels better for me to ignore his nonsense, than to get upset.
      I think C and I are ultimately on the same team. We just need to see each other clearly.

  6. zeewhoo says:

    Sometimes people hear something, make assumptions, and assign meanings that the other person wasn’t actually saying, and sometimes speakers are not aware of how the other person is perceiving what’s being said–often in fact. The problem with being corporeal life forms is that it is very difficult to get outside of one’s corpus to have any clue that another corpus is not on the same wavelength! We can only speak and hear through our own set of flawed filters while using language and mediums of communication that are usually insufficient. For example, I wonder if C would even recognize the situation described as even remotely like what C experienced. Being human is pretty complex and sometimes hazardous! 🙂

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