Hey everyone!! I haven’t posted an update lately so I wanted to make sure you all knew I was still alive.
Things got really busy near the end of the school year. So much has been going on that I have barely had time to focus on much else. My oldest daughter, Savannah, is currently in Texas where the massive flooding has been happening. Texans already don’t do rain so THIS was major. On top of it, she has been sick during this. All is ok there but it’s definitely kept me worried. In addition to that, we had the end of the school year things happening with all the kids. And then THIS:
My daughter, Charlotte, got hit in the eye with a baseball. She was outside playing in the cul-de-sac and the ball hit her directly in the eye. It actually almost knocked her unconscious. I took her to the emergency room where they gave her an x-ray and cat scan. Luckily nothing was broken but it was VERY scary. It is probably one of the worst injuries I’ve experienced out of all my years of parenting which again…means I am VERY lucky. She could have gone blind from what they told me. We are so grateful that she was ok. But truly it was awful. Her eye swelled almost completely shut. It was so bruised. And then a few days later blood in her eye appeared and almost filled up half her eye. I took her to the eye doctor and aside from how it looked—she was ok.
It has been almost a month and just now her eye is almost back to normal. She still has some red in her eye but it is much better. She had to spend the last month of school like that. Unfortunately some children in her class were really mean to her about it. They told her she looked scary (because of the red in her eye) and one child even said “Can you look the other direction? I don’t want to have to look at you”.
No one even wanted to sit next to her when they went on their end of the year class trip because she was “too disgusting” to look at according to some of the children.
Yeah….it took everything I had in me not to jump out of my skin on that one!
I think one of the best things that came out of this was the fact that Charlotte handled it so well. She wasn’t even all that upset about the way she was treated even though you would have thought that she would have been. When I asked her why it didn’t upset her that much, she replied that she was good at dealing with things like this. And then she recounted the numerous times that children would make comments to her about my weight as she was growing up. I’m not going to lie. That took me by surprise. It’s been a few years now that I’ve walked around in a normal looking body. Albeit still overweight. But ‘normal’ according to society. I don’t walk in somewhere and shock the room by my size. I don’t stand out in the crowd. And I don’t have to worry anymore about being pointed at and stared at.
But Charlotte reminded me of the time that I attended one of her award ceremonies and a little boy made comments to her about my weight. It went beyond the typical stares and side comments that she was used to. This particular kid was really making a point to bother her about it. Of course this was just one of many experiences we had. It was common for us to deal with being ostracized anytime we walked out the door. And I suppose my kids (while not being the object of the ridicule) felt as if they were by association. While it pains me greatly that my children ever had to go through this, today I have a reason to see something positive in that experience. Charlotte said that it taught her to “not be surprised” when people judge you by your looks. And that looking ‘different’ is going to often cause you to be stared at. She recently had read a book called “Wonder” about a disfigured boy who dealt with being stared at. (perfect timing!) And both the book she had read recently along with our experiences of me living in a super obese body gave her a foundation for dealing with the rude comments she told me.
The best part though was this. Charlotte said that she spent many years living with children making rude comments to her about ME. About MY weight. And that while she learned to deal with it from HER perspective, she felt that she didn’t really know what it was like to be the object of those comments. She said it bothered her and hurt her because she hated the idea of MY feelings being hurt. Yet she said that having never been treated that way herself she wasn’t able to totally know what it must have felt like to be me. She said this experience of being the actual object of “disgust” (her words not mine) made her really know better what people who catch this kind of flack must feel like. Instead of being upset by the experience, she was grateful. She said that her eye wound was temporary and that she knew it wouldn’t always look that way. She made a joke about missing the perfect chance to play a zombie on the Walking Dead because they wouldn’t have needed any makeup. I can see she has learned from me that self deprecating humor is a coping mechanism as well. But in the end she said that she felt as if she had been given an opportunity to understand what it must feel like to be rejected from others based solely on your looks. And that she was grateful for that opportunity because now she could understand it from both sides.
I don’t really have pictures of exactly how bad her eye looked but here are a few
I didn’t get a picture of when her eye went half red but a few days after this it did.
In spite of all that, my little girl handled it with grace. And I ‘m so so proud of her!!
It also reminded me of how grateful I am that my daughter sees the positive in a situation instead of the negative. That alone is an amazing gift. So many times we are tempted to only see how a situation has hurt us. She was able to make a decision that this would be used for good! That she would view it as a learning experience. And if you ask me THAT is a huge life skill that many don’t learn when they are only finishing the 5th grade. Knowing that she is able to do this makes me less nervous about her starting middle school (ugh!) next year. It’s an age where the superficial really takes front and center. So to know that she can find a way to view life experiences as a lesson makes me very happy!
Here we are a month later and she graduated from 5th grade. Her eye has almost totally healed!
It often feels to us that not much ‘good’ can come from living in an obese body. Living with the stares and finger pointing and rude comments. But today I found out that the way I handled that through all of those years managed to help one of my children in a way I could never have anticipated. It’s the way you handle life sometimes. The things that are seen but not talked about. I haven’t always handled things well. That much I know. But on this day I was grateful that something I did allowed my child to deal with things in a way that brought good out a bad situation.
And that gives me hope that in every troubling circumstance, some good will prevail!
So today if you are one of the individuals enduring the comments of others—know that you are not alone. All of us most likely do experience this on some level and the most important thing to remember is that what you may look like on the outside will never define who you are on the inside. If no one else has told you that you are special then take this opportunity to tell yourself. What your body looks like is only a small percentage of who you are. It will never tell the whole story. That can only come from the people who take the time to get to know you. And if no one else will do it then remind yourself of the very real fact that you are more than just a picture. A number on the scale. An injured eye. Or whatever else may keep people from seeing the real you.
Mirrors don’t tell the whole story.
But what is in our hearts will.