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Monday, April 02, 2007

Unsoliticted comments: Where do they lurk in your life?

Over at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood we have been talking about body image pre and post weight loss. Many of us carry battle wounds from childhood when we were called unkind names by children on the playground and sometimes by insensitive adults. I found this article by Laura Lallone about the wounds we carry from childhood to adulthood. If you are like me her story is all too familiar. I wonder how much of my life I've spent replaying those hurtful unsolicited comments? As she says, "This is not healthy."

She offers hope in the conclusion of the article: Awareness. I'm going to police my negative thought cycle with more awareness, and I hope you will too.


Carrot Legs, Oh Carrot Legs - Why Do You plague me?
By Laura Lallone

When I was 10 years old, a little girl friend turned to me at day camp and said, "Your legs are shaped like carrots. They are skinny at the bottom and fat at the top. Mine are shaped more like string beans."


When I was 14 years old, a girl named Danni on my swim team informed me and my friends that, "If you can see a roll of skin on your stomach when you sit on the toilet, then you are fat and need to lose weight."


I don't know about you, but when I sit on the toilet (maybe it's my posture) I see two things - a roll around my middle and my thighs smashed to their widest possible girth. I figure in the past 20 years I've sat on the toilet about 32,000 times. I'd say that at least half of those times the little stories from my youth have passed through my mind. Hmmm... that is 16,000 times I've had those thoughts. That is just not healthy!

Unsoliticted comments. We've all received them. Where do they lurk in your life? Why do they stick?

In this case, they stuck probably because I was at a really impressionable age. It's probably because of some nature/nurture, self-esteem, self-worth issue. My rational mind can see that the girls probably said what they said because THEY were feeling insecure in some way. Wait. Does that make insecurity contagious? Can we literally pass on insecurity like a hot potato? That's silly.

There's so much to talk about here. Somewhere inside of each of us, there is a little kid who is still whiplashed from these unsolicited attacks. I guess the issue comes when she (the little girl me) shows up when I'm sitting on the toilet - or otherwise feeling "less than". She doesn't have any more skills or savvy to deal with the comments than she did back then. The adult me has an arsenal though: ways to get grounded, an ability to control my thinking and be more rational, compassion for myself and those other little kids, gratitude for my body and all of its working parts, a sense of humor and a sense of "who gives a flying monkey wrench".

Most of all, when it comes to dealing with emotions rising from old unsolicited zingers, awareness is key. Awareness of what "part" of us is responding inside and out.

P.S. These carrot legs can really kick some stringbean butt.

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