What, and what not to say

The question I dread hearing the most has to be: What happened? Now, I only dread this question when it’s in relation to my weight. Such a rude question to ask a person, don’t you think? Well, what happened to you? Huh? Can you just explain it all? Without shame? Probably not.

More horrifyingly (to me) this question usually comes after a person sees a picture of me at 20 years old, ie almost 7 years ago. Personally I look back on pictures and think of happy memories, or think that it’d sure be nice to get back to that…but it’s okay if I only get half way there. But some people see pictures and somewhere in their brain they think it’s okay to ask what happened to cause me to change so drastically?

Well do you want the long or the short of it? Do you want to hear how I battled depression? How I didn’t really notice the first 5, 10, or even 15 pounds. That I sure noticed the first 25 pounds, the first 40 pounds; but the 40 pounds after that wasn’t as noticeable to me, because I didn’t own a scale, because it’s all in my belly, and I didn’t go up any more pant sizes. Do you want to hear how the stress of being 21 and struggling to make rent each month, the mental illness of depression, the bullying I enduring daily at work, somehow took precedent over running? Do you want to hear how my brother battled with drug addiction, and how his addiction didn’t only effect him, but my entire family and their daily lives? Do you want to hear how my beloved grandmother died of natural causes, and left me in a deeper depression than the previous five years? Or maybe you want to hear how my grandfather died of unnatural causes, and I spent another year grieving another death. People ask, well why did you let it get so out of hand? Why did you buy bigger pants instead of hitting the gym? Why did you keep letting this happen? I didn’t let anything happen….it just did. How about the short version; LIFE HAPPENED. That’s what happened.

Most polite people won’t mention your weight, unless you do first. From there it’s hit or miss. Some people are very positive, encouraging, praising you for trying your best to get healthy. Others are not so positive, criticizing what approach you take, saying you should be doing more, that it’s about time…..really? Since when is that ever okay to say to a person?

Little do most people know, that every day that I walk instead of sitting on the couch is a personal victory for me. That every day that I choose to eat a salad instead of pasta is a win. That every healthy, delicious meal I cook for my family is a conquest won for me. It’s a process, a very long, drawn out, full of wins and fails, process. It’s never okay to ask a person what happened. It’s never okay to criticize them when they’re trying their hardest and already feel like crap. It’s never okay to assume that you know what that person has gone through, or is going through at that moment. However, it’s always okay to be supportive and positive.

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