It's hard to know where love begins and ends. I accept the fact that parents love their children unconditionally. When a child suffers from feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, he may question every positive interaction from outsiders. It can be difficult to work through the gray between true feelings and lip service. Who do you trust as genuine and who do you not? Do they really like me or do they want something from me?
I have grown up being suspicious of most positive reaches into my life. I never questioned my family. As my weight has teeter-tottered over the years, I have allowed more people in, though I maintain close friendships with only a few. Had I not been on a down teeter when I met Deb, I don't know that I would have had the courage to ask her out.
It's hard not to notice the difference in how strangers treat big versus not as big. When walking down the street, you can see people look at you through their sunglasses and then avert their eyes at the last possible moment, so as not to be caught staring. I think it's very much like an accident on the highway. Would anyone ever admit that they slow down to look? No, not many would, but the truth is, they do anyway. If no one looked at the accident on the shoulder of the road, traffic would continue to move at a normal speed.
Having moved into a more "normal" weight class, I do not sense that same aversion. People seem to be more outwardly friendly and helpful. Is it me? I don't know. Maybe I'm just less suspicious. I'm no longer an accident on the side of the road. Have I been so programmed to look for these things? It is difficult to overcome.
I know that it will take years to reprogram myself to not be so suspicious of others that offer their friendship. I am learning through this blog that there are many who offer their support and that has been truly amazing. I accept these offers as genuine. Total strangers, eyes straight ahead.
It is unfortunate that our world places values on people based on outward appearances. Although I look forward to many years in the unaffected class, I will always remember where I came from, what I've been through and the journey out. I pray that you will too!