So tomorrow I go back to my home in Utah, get back to work and training for my swims in my free time. Aside from a little stomach ache today, I’ve had a great time and it was a nice break from my everyday life.
I don’t know how detailed I can get without shaming people but I learned a lesson this week I felt was worth sharing with all of you.
When I was about 17 I had an experience that stuck with me. I had always felt bad about my weight and felt like it was something I couldn’t fix that I wanted to fix. I was at a family reunion that summer when someone said something cruel about my eating ice cream and I threw the ice cream away and stormed out in tears.
My brother, who I was not normally close with, got very angry, stood up for me and stormed out of the restaurant, walking the rest of the way home. My parents, uncle and cousins were also very supportive and the incident blew over with probably nobody remembering it but maybe my brother and me (although he claims to remember nothing from his childhood).
Well, that’s always stayed with me and on Friday night I was with the same person eating ice cream again and he/she made another comment about my weight and at first I s laughed it off but then I got mad. This time instead of storming out I stood up for myself and said
‘You know what…..I know you would be happier if I was skinny but you will just have to deal with it’ and then I left the table and cried outside. I’d say an improvement in 15 years wouldn’t you? I was pretty upset and frustrated that nothing seemed to have changed over such a long period of time, that nothing I had done in the intervening years had made a dent or changed that person’s attitude towards me. I was still the same girl eating ice cream, feeling bad about myself.
For a second I felt 17 again…How could a situation mirror itself so closely after all that time?
Or was it? This time it was not my brother, Dad or cousins standing up for me. It was me, and yes I felt the tears of 15 years of frustration and pain, but I had said something that made an impact. In fact, the next day I had flowers and a letter of apology from the person. Forgiveness was granted and yet none of that would have happened if I had kept my mouth shut and smiled through the ridicule or if I had made an unsightly scene. I certainly had not received an apology at 17.
Maybe all of us had learned something in the last 15 years after all? Hurray for humanity and a victory for underdogs out there.
Redemption and a high five to the 17 year old me!