I told you all that I'm in the middle of Louisiana, hanging out with a bunch of old ladies. At first I thought I'd arrived on another planet, but now I'm really starting to get to know some of them. And y'all, they are kick-ass...for the most part. My favorite is an 80-year-old woman named Dolores who has been a leader in her community for decades. She funded one of the Lost Boys of Sudan to come to the U.S. She has funded her own summer camps for children to have experiences in the arts. She tells me amazing stories, and I carry her trays in the dining room. She is the best part about being here.
Now all of the grannies aren't as awesome as Miss Dolores. There's another old woman by the name of Emily who is just a pill. She complains, she bitches, she alienates everyone. So, I guess it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise when yesterday she offended me BIG TIME. We were at the dinner table with about six other ladies when she decided to tell me that I was overweight--and that I was going to get fatter as I got older.
Everyone (those who could hear, at least) was horrified. And I was embarrassed and pissed. The thing is, this is a ridiculous thing for her to say, regardless of me being overweight or not. But the truth is, I'm not (even though I have insecurities about my body, I know logically that I am NOT overweight.) I weigh the same as I did in high school, and while I'm no skinny bitch, I am at a perfectly healthy weight for my height, thank you very much. (The bitch went on to say that Michelle Obama was overweight, too, if that gives you any indication of her definition). I wish I could've just written her off as some stupid old hag, but instead she'd triggered something in me. As I told her how much she'd hurt my feelings and that she'd basically ruined my day, I began to cry.
Seeing me get upset, this wonderful minister took me out of the dining room and into the hallway to tell me about this lady--that she has a reputation for offending anyone and everyone, and because of that, no one talks to her. She said, "You are not the first--and you won't be the last--person she has offended. But don't let her take your joy from you."
Frankly, all I could think of was going home and not having to be around this woman anymore. She had humiliated me and pissed me off big time. And because she'd touched on something so sensitive, I couldn't just write her off as a crazy old hag. No, it brought up every insecurity I have about my body, which had really nothing to do with her at all.
I want to get to the point where I can recognize other people's words as judgement and reflections on them rather than see them as truths about me. Clearly this woman was insecure about her own image and was projecting it onto me. When I told SCL the story later on, he called her a "random old ho." It made me laugh, him calling an old lady a ho. But the truth is in the "random" part--she is not important in the grand scheme of things. She isn't the reason I'm here, and she certainly doesn't represent all the people here. She's just a sour old lady with an attitude problem.
So, don't let an 84-year-old woman make you cry. Even your grandma. Your joy is yours; don't give it away.