Sometimes I don’t feel entirely like a member of the human race. There are so many things that other people get their panties in a twist about that just perplex me. I wonder, “Am I supposed to care about that?” Some people see me as cold or uncaring, but it’s not that (at least I don’t think so); I’m just not going to waste my valuable energy caring about something that doesn’t affect me directly. I’m not talking about Important Things, like homelessness or world hunger. While those don’t affect me directly, I do care about those things. No, I’m talking about little things, like weight and skin color and sexual orientation and what kind of job you have and what you drive and how you dress and how pretty or attractive you are and whether or not you’re socially awkward and… There are so many issues I read about that just perplex me.
I’m a fan of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, but a friend of mine recently posted, “How is it okay to teach our daughters it’s okay to be plus sized?” I was taken aback. I’m plus sized and I wasn’t aware that I “wasn’t okay.” Sure, I’d like to lose some weight, but it’s not the grand passion of my life. Before I move losing weight to the top of the list, I’d like to have a book published, travel to Ireland, take more pictures, visit with friends, read all 100 books on my Classics list, visit my husband’s family in Poland, play with my dogs, take a cruise, unpack my house, have a party, visit my uncle in Virginia, adopt another shelter dog, get more exercise, party with my neighbors, watch the next Star Wars movies, go to the library, try new places to eat, see the Congress Street Bridge Bats, learn my way around Texas without my GPS, to name a few things. I mean, I eat right and get exercise. In order to be thin, I feel like I’d have to dedicate my life to it. And I’m not willing to do that. If you care about that stuff, I’m not trying to put you down. Different interests are what makes the world go round… I just don’t think you should do it because you’re “supposed to.”
This is the article that made me start thinking about all this. It’s all about a girl who “isn’t fat” but “isn’t skinny,” and how she wonders all the time what others think of her. She wonders if people think she’s fat and she’s afraid to eat in front of other people so they don’t think she’s fat. I think that sounds exhausting. I mean, who cares? If you don’t like me because I’m overweight, that’s your problem. I’m one of the most interesting, loyal, funny, kind, witty, optimistic people you’ll ever meet, and if all you see is my weight, then it’s your loss.
You know all those attributes I mentioned above like skin color and sexual orientation and job status and attractiveness? Yeah, the same goes for all that stuff too. I don’t care about any of those things. I care about: Can you play the most awful combination of cards in Cards Against Humanity? Will you go hiking with me? Do you like Star Wars? Will you text me just to keep up contact? Will you take silly pictures with me? Will you go to a haunted house with me? Will you read what I’ve written, even if you’re not a reader, because you want to support and encourage me? Do you like my dogs? Will you make me laugh? More importantly, will you get my jokes? (You don’t have to laugh at them; just getting the reference is enough.) Can I call you when I’m down and know I won’t be judged?
I see Facebook posts about the drama everyone seems to have in their lives, and I just don’t have that kind of drama. I have to wonder if it has something to do with me choosing friends for who they are, and not all that surface stuff. I’ll never compete with my girlfriends and silently compare who’s prettier or who looks better. I’ll never judge you because you have stains on your clothes or you went back for a 3rd piece of pie. I don’t care what color your skin is or who you love.
We pay money for these things that I say don’t matter, to lose a few pounds or for a clearer complexion. For the “right” clothing. We worry about what we say, not to be kinder or gentler, but to make sure that it’s politically correct, that it won’t offend.
Does it seem odd that I’m okay with offending people, yet I want to be kinder? I’m okay with offending you if I say something about an issue that you take personally. My solution: it wasn’t about you; don’t take it personally. Yet on a one to one basis, I’d like to encourage you and won’t judge you. Even if you don’t agree with me. I can disagree with you and still think you’re an okay person. Unless you advocate hurting puppies. Then, I’m going to judge… sorry.
When someone dies, no one ever says, “Gosh, she was so thin and always wore the latest styles,” or “He had the best muscles, and I admired his dedication to making money.” We remember people for how they made us feel. I had a friend at Wal-mart, a young man with Cerebral Palsy who walked with crutches and died in a tragic accident. You know what I remember about him? He was funny, always happy, and he never said “I can’t do that.”
My personal goal is to always try to be kinder to everyone. Anyone who knows me knows that this is both easy and difficult for me. As an introvert, I’d prefer not to be bothered. But as a member of the human race, I have to constantly remind myself that others may believe that my characteristic standoffishness is personal, and so I need to smile and say a kind word, even if it leads to a conversation I didn’t want to have. Why? As a member of the human race, I take my responsibility to make the world a kinder place very seriously.
My suggestion for everyone is to try to be just a little kinder than you were yesterday, to others, but more importantly, to yourself. How will you make the world a kinder, more accepting place today?