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.
I love you, dude. I needed to hear this so bad today.ReplyDelete
When people do that I think to myself, "Wow, how miserable must their lives be that they feel the need to make everyone around them as unhappy as they are." That's what it is. This woman is so miserable that she felt like being a bitch and bringing you down.ReplyDelete
Don't let her! DON'T! Let her go be a miserable old hag and you continue to be your wonderful, witty, insightful self.
And seriously... Michelle Obama overweight? That old hag definitely needs to get her priorities straight! Michelle is classy and gorgeous and certainly not overweight. Lord!
Screw that lady! I woulda flipped shit if someone had said that to me...but you seemed to keep your cool pretty well.ReplyDelete
UGH! What a old hag! I hate when people's comments make me cry, because I can be so sensitive. I could totally see myself crying over this but you are so right that our joy is ours. We can't let other judgments make us feel inferior when we know who we are and what we are capable of.ReplyDelete
What the heck!!? Old people sometimes! ooo weee! All our patients our 65+ and let me tell you, it gets worse! And its like the are so bitter about life they just cannot see the good in anything and its terribly sad! Cheer up lady =DReplyDelete
This has happened to me sooo many times and I understand completely, but why the sexist language to describe this woman? Yeah, she made a big mistake and should not have said such things. Perhaps this could have been turned into a teachable moment. Tell a sistah that she's being offensive, don't let that shit slide and certainly don't let it sink in. This woman is not a "bitch", "hag", etc. She's just another sister who has insecurities like many women do and needs to be called out for it and given support. The last woman who told me I was "fat" and "overweight" turned out to have a history with rape and abuse - we talked about it and mutual understanding was achieved. You never know the history behind the claims such people make about other's bodies. I appreciate the post, but plz cool it on the sexist language; you are employing the language of the patriarchy you deplore. Women are socialized to take other peoples' insecurities personally - we gotta stop and let this shit roll off our backs or while doing so, we give the offensive party a piece of our minds.ReplyDelete
Point well taken, Jiliu. You are so right! The language I used was not cool. I did, in fact, tell her that she had really hurt my feelings, and she apologized. And I can honestly say all is well now.ReplyDelete
Sexist or not, there is something funny about hearing an old lady referred to as a "random old ho." I can't help but laugh. But then again, I'm sort of a bad person. Glad you're feeling better about things. People really can start to lose their minds as they get older (not everyone, of course, but some people) and they really just stop making sense. It's hard not to take it personally sometimes, but it really has nothing to do with anyone but them.ReplyDelete
Thanks for making me feel slightly less guilty, Jane! The word is so absurd to use in reference to a proper 84-year-old woman. And when I was really upset and SCL said that, it was the first time I'd laughed that evening.ReplyDelete
when i was 17 and trying on a prom dress, my grandma happened to be in town and at the mall with us. she told me i have a "weird" body. i am 30, and it still hurts my feelings. i didn't say anything to her but should have. good for you for saying something. anyway- a bitch, is a bitch, is a bitch :)ReplyDelete
Bitch, bitch, bitch, cunt, cunt, cunt, ho, ho, ho......yeah, we are being really productive here, ladies. My God! This does nothing to reverse the shit that the Non-Student feels after being told she is fat! Non-Student, I hope you know that you are too strong to internalize the bullshit that insecure folks tell you. The older generation is not prepared to let the next generation of women take the lead and they will let you know that in any way they can. It's time that our generation keeps living into our true selves despite what we are told to be. Yeah, the overall system/world needs to change, but let's not totally rely on that as a precondition for being true to ourselves and true to one another. We will encounter many assholes in our lives, but it is our obligation to let them know how they have hurt us (as you did, Non-Student) while being aware of their own insecurities and setbacks. That's all.ReplyDelete
That is just a nasty thing to say to someone and I really don't care what her background is. All of our actions have consequences and the fact that she hasn't learned that in her 84 years on this earth should tell you something about her character.ReplyDelete
That being said, I wouldn't take offense to you calling her a "ho" either. Clearly it made you laugh and, after a day of feeling crummy, you deserve to smile :) Chin up, and don't let the old women get you down, girl :)
There is one in every group, even if it is a group of old ladies.ReplyDelete
Delete. Delete. Delete. That is what my friends and I say to one another when we hear this stuff. It is not your job to absorb other people's crap.
People get set in their ways and you must never let yourself get caught up in theirs. I'm glad you told someone because had you left it quiet, you would have been stewing unhealthily. Good on you for finding the strength to pass the advice on :)ReplyDelete