Never Look Them In The Eye

April 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

The other day I went through a drive thru

GASP!! I know….I know…

But admittedly I do still hit the drive thru on occasion

Even though I eat grilled chicken salads in lieu of Big Macs these days

So the kids and I went through McDonalds the other day

And it was Charlotte who mentioned it to me

After I had taken the drinks and the food from the person at the window

And we were driving away

She said it

“Mom…why are you always like that at the drive thru?”

To which I naturally replied in confusion

LIKE WHAT??

And she clarified

“You’re weird…”


So here’s the thing about being a parent….

Being called weird is not really that unusual of a thing to hear

I’ve learned after having 4 kids

They always seem to reach a point where they think you’re weird

So no shocker there

Until CJ agreed with her

My son is the youngest

So he hasn’t reached that point yet where he thinks I’m weird

Also, he rarely agrees with his sister on anything

Siblings after all generally try to find any loophole

Through which they can utterly disagree on anything the other one has said

So for them to be in full agreement was earth shattering

EXPLAIN….I insisted

And so it began

 

Both of them recounted some evidently OBVIOUS behavior that I engage in

Whenever I go through a drive thru window

Where I always recieve the food

While looking away or down

But never EVER looking the person in the eye

Even if I am asked a question or spoken to

I refuse to look directly at them

I look to the left

To the right

Up

Down

Even turn my head completely away from them at times

But never

NO NOT EVER

Do I engage in any form of eye contact

 

By this time, we were at home

And the conversation continued as we walked in the door

Once Annabelle got wind of what we were discussing

She jumped on the bandwagon too

Oh yeah!!”, she started nodding in agreement,” Mom is weird like that ! 

The flood gates had opened

And now they had all collectively ganged up on me recounting the numerous ways in which I act weird at the drive thru!!

Even RUDE according to Annabelle

Who thought looking away from someone who is handing you something or speaking to you

Isn’t the most polite behavior

She even added that she found it embarrassing that I acted that way

Recalling a time when the employee had dropped a drink trying to hand it to me

ME—a person who reached for it

While completely turning my head in the opposite direction

It’s kind of hard to reach for something blindly

So she let go of it before I had it

And it fell to the ground

The employee had to apologize and get us a new drink

When clearly it was my fault

Annabelle says this happened several years back

But she still remembers it because she thought it was

Hmmmm…

WEIRD

 

By this time, it’s official

I’m WEIRD

And now it’s out there

And I’m a little offended by all this

And yet pleasantly surprised that for once my kids can all agree on something

Albeit that the “thing” happens to be the fact that I’m weird

And they’re 100% supportive of one another on this point

They in fact have found something on which they can all support each other with zero doubt

And it’s the fact that their Mom

Is completely, unequivocally, and without question

WEIRD !

 

I took some time to think this over

And I realized that indeed I do behave this way

And have for longer than I can remember

It’s totally NOT intentional

Not premeditated

And not even a conscious thing that I do

I’m usually a quite friendly person actually

I always say hello to people

I don’t ignore someone

Or turn my head 180 degrees when they try to speak to me

I don’t make a point of reaching for something while looking in another direction

Like some strange game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Where I see how many times I can hit the spot blindly

And how many times the poor employee will end up dropping a drink

Because I reached for something while refusing to look up and see if we’d made contact before letting go

But THIS is what it’s all about

And it has nothing to do with me trying to be rude or weird!

You see, It’s a defense mechanism

It’s me putting an invisible shield down around myself

And hoping that if I can’t see you

Then you can’t see me!

 photo.PNG-64 photo.PNG-65

Why do I do this?

That’s simple–

SHAME

EMBARRASSMENT

INSECURITY

And NOT wanting to see THAT LOOK in someone’s eyes

As they hand you the food THEY know you do NOT need

 photo.PNG-63

 

When you weigh over 400 pounds

Going through a drive thru can be an exceedingly stressful event

And yet often it is also  your primary source of food

Because walking around a grocery store becomes a feat of Olympic proportions

Requiring at times physical strength an obese individual may no longer have

That is just the obvious difficulty

Not including the emotional fortitude it takes as well

(People staring at you and eyeing what you have in your cart with silent judgement)

When you can barely walk or breathe

And have enough problems without adding more!

 

So the drive thru becomes both your savior and your ultimate demise

And while it may be that most people are not judging you at the drive thru

There is always a risk

When a 400 pound person pulls up

After ordering 4 Big Macs with 4 large fries

6 Apple Pies

And a round of dollar burgers just for good measure

There’s a chance

That someone will judge you

But it usually won’t be verbal judgement

Instead it will come

THROUGH THEIR EYES

And when your life is already depressing

Miserable

And full of self inflicted judgement

You just don’t need to see that look in their eyes

Thus….the solution

NO EYE CONTACT

And THAT, my friends, is the story of how I became weird!

 

Here I am though

200 or so pounds thinner

Ordering grilled chicken salad with a diet Coke

But still subconsciously looking away

Fearing judgement that now mostly exists in my head

Worrying about things that aren’t out there

Hiding from people who aren’t thinking HALF of what I assume they are

Shrinking from someone who is merely trying to hand me my food

So they can do their job and go home!

Photo 32

Here I am though

Still behaving this way

And modeling for my children a strange behavior

That they all silently found weird

But hadn’t voiced until Charlotte decided to finally say something

 

Even after you lose a significant amount of weight

You often find yourself carrying with you a number of lingering beliefs and behaviors

That no longer seem to make sense

But at one time those same behaviors

Were necessary survival skills just to get through the day

 

So my goal now is two things

One—go through a drive thru and make eye contact

Say hello

Smile

And always look at what I’m reaching for

Stop fearing judgement from others about what I eat

When I eat it

How I eat it

Or where I eat it!!

 

And two….

Remember to pray for those of us out there

Who are still having to use the drive thru as our grocery store

Because our feet can no longer support our weight

It’s a chilling irony really regarding those who deal with obesity

That even when you’re trying to “be good”

Even when you WANT to change

You find it exceedingly difficult to do so

Because your crushing weight has created a debilitating physical situation

That creates a huge dilemma when trying to shop for healthy food

Something very hard to do for someone who can barely walk across the room

Without experiencing mind blowing physical pain

How many people out there suffering with obesity

WANT to change

WANT to try and make better food choices

But find themselves still heading for the drive thru

As it’s just too hard to walk through the aisles and stand in the lines at the store

 

There are so many issues we face in this struggle

Things we encounter that are real

Things we encounter in our mind

But regardless of the uphill climb

Regardless of the shame we carry with us at times

There remains only one truth

We are NOT our weight

Even if we ate 5 Big Macs today

And someone judged us with their eyes

It still does not change our worth

We are not a burger  on the Value Menu

We are worth more than a dollar

Our worth is immeasurable

No matter what the world thinks

No matter what their eyes convey

Or the scale says

 

We can be 400 pounds

Or 200 pounds

Or 115 pounds

And still carry inside of us an internal belief

That we must fear the judgement of others

But there is only ONE who has the right to judge you

And in His Eyes you will never see condemnation

You will only see love

You will only find hope

 

 http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-hope-concept-image28927468

We  carry ourselves out into this world

And often worry (even subconsciously) more about the opinions of others

Than the opinion of the only One who counts

It’s a side effect those of us who have suffered with obesity

Will often deal with even subconsciously to some degree

Even if we’ve lost all the weight

 

And so I take this with me out into the often cruel world

In an effort to remember that I can look someone in the eye

No matter WHAT I weigh

And be proud of who I am

In SPITE of mistakes I may have made

In SPITE of my imperfections

And yes….(dear kiddos)

In SPITE of my WEIRDNESS!!!

 

Oh to be sure….

When I have fixed this odd behavior

My kids will find something else I do that’s strange

But to this…I have only one reply

I’m your Mama!

If I wasn’t at least a little weird

Wouldn’t life just be desperately boring?

photo.PNG-66 photo.PNG-67

 

 

 

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronda April 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I like reading about your progress…I have 50lbs to lose and I like your encouraging words 🙂

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Linda April 27, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I totally understand Holly as I have done the same avoidance with many people and still do as well. It’s amazing how our kids can pick up on our weirdness. 🙂

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Karen P April 28, 2014 at 12:09 am

Interesting observation, Holly. Glad you thought about it. There are many things to think about “Why I do it this way” getting dressed in a locker room ( If I hide I won’t get beat up physically or emotionally (Jr. High)

Nice thing about being in my 40’s, I started not to care so much what people thought. It’s been a nice gift. Even at weight maintenance, I still do things that are old habits. Great post, as always. Karen P.
Karen P recently posted..part 4 of 7 Non food triggers in emotional eating- AngerMy Profile

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Natalie April 28, 2014 at 1:09 am

I could see where this one was going from the start. Obviously embarrassment, fear of seeing the judgement. Some people make it clear to the server that they are buying for several people, even when they aren’t. It’s easy to say why care what this stranger thinks of me. But we do care, don’t we.

The other day I walked to the corner store (because 10 minutes each way was totally enough exercise to wipe out those extra calories, right!) and bought a family size bag of Doritos. To eat alone. At home of course, where no-one could see. And I wished so much I had brought a bag or backpack, because I ended up carrying this big bag of corn chips home for all to see. All those random dog walkers and people driving past judging my food choices. Knowing I was going to eat the whole thing, because I am fat. Really embarrassing. Did it anyway.
Natalie recently posted..End of the holidaysMy Profile

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Lori April 28, 2014 at 1:48 am

You have got the greatest kids ever! I love your relationship with them. How they are comfortable enough to tell you that you are ‘weird’ at least in that one respect. Now you know and can work on it.
Lori
Lori recently posted..I Eat What I Want, When I Want, in Amounts that I WantMy Profile

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Heather C April 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

I am a couponed, and often do this when I have to return an item because I HATE to make returns. Often, I will send my husband to do this for me, just so I can “get out of it.” Also, I know what you mean by holding onto insecurities at a thinner weight. The thinner I get, the more insecure I am. What’s up with that??? I’m thinking maybe it’s that the closer I get to my vision of perfection, the more I realize my body isn’t looking like I thought it would

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Janis April 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

wow thank you for this blog. Your amazing and it really hit close to home for me. I always enjoy your writings. Thank you and you are an inspiration to me. Have a great day!

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Grace April 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Beautifully said. I so understand about avoiding the eyes. Wanting to avoid “that look.” I was having a wonderful Easter Sunday, and “that look” I received sometime in the day from an in-law stayed with me for days. I too am a believer and am very involved in our church. I carry about 70 pounds I don’t want. I am continually trying to lose it. I think the hardest thing about struggling with food and weight (as opposed to other strongholds such as alcohol or gambling,) is that you can repent, decide to start new, and you can be a whole new person. With weight…. you may have had a whole week of wonderfully healthy and controlled eating, but you still get that look of: “you’re a glutton.” That baggage has kept me in that bondage again and again. My prayer today is that (just like you said) I can see myself ONLY through God’s eyes. That HE knows our heart, our struggles, our desires and attempts to make things right. I truly believe ONLY then, can true healing and health begin. Thank you for sharing your story. It is extremely encouraging and you are beautiful!

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Anna May 1, 2014 at 1:49 am

Well said

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Living 400lbs April 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I am glad you feel better about yourself now. It is odd for me, as

“Something very hard to do for someone who can barely walk across the room”

brings to mind my father before his death. Anemic from cancer, winded from COPD, down 50lbs from his high of 220. He’d lost a couple inches in height, too. It’s hard.

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