Please Ask; Please Don’t Ask

Well if today isn’t a happy Sunday, I wouldn’t know it. It’s absolutely gorgeous outside, my friends, as I hang out in my outdoor office, watching the sun shine through the never changing leaves (Florida). Useful Utopia is in full effect.

Day 7 of the #PNIWritingChallenge – which does indeed still stand for Potatoes Not Included and what the hell am I going to do with that when it’s time? – has two questions about questions. We should leap in, I have football yet to watch today and one of these two topics is going to get me ranting. I’ll begin with the least likely to make me rant topic and then we’ll go from there.

What is your favorite question to be asked?

This is a tough one. I don’t see people and hold my breath in expectation that they’re going to ask me a certain something, but I suppose I could …

I have a buddy that I talk to pretty regularly. He’ll ask how we are, what’s going on, and the usual stuff. Then, once we’ve gotten the pleasantries out of the way, here comes the question that always makes me giggle inside – just a little bit.

“So, Mami, what’s good?”

Four words, lots of giggling. He asks it every time.

The explanation for this one is pretty simple. My friend is of the latin persuasion, by way of Columbia. I’ve talked about him before in an article or two, including World of Food (Trucks).

He’s been in the States for a while, and yes, he and his family are legal and citizens. It’s awesome. They have an insane story about coming to America to gain their citizenship and someday I’ll tell it.

So, he calls me “Mami” sometimes. I think it’s out of habit, a general term of endearment. I giggle because I have got to be one of the “whitest” women out there. When I say words in other languages, I’m practically a caricature.

If you’ve ever watched stand-up comedy by Gabriel Iglesias you will have seen him do his non-latin white woman voice. That’s what I sound like when I say things like “arrepas” when discussing food.

I’m also technically old enough to actually be his mother. That adds to the hilarity for me. We all forget the age difference until he says something so young, so millennial, that I lose my composure.

The “What’s good?” portion kills me. A lot of people would assume it’s another way of asking what’s up, or what are you doing, or something along those lines. It’s really not.

We discuss food when we’re with my buddy. Like, a lot. All the freaking time. Every conversation winds its way back to assorted foods we’ve had, want to try, and are in the process of making. I gave one example before when we were discussing Gitmo and, legit, the conversation went from “We need to close Gitmo ASAP,” to “Have you tried Cuban food? There’s this restaurant down the way …”

This means when my friend asks me, “So, Mami, what’s good?” it’s basically code asking what we’re doing for lunch, dinner, a snack, and oh by the way, should he swing by and help cook or eat? It’s sweet, really, and he does our dishes when he comes by which drives us nuts but I’m seriously not going to complain. He does them by hand even when the dishwasher is hungry for dirty dishes.

That covers the favorite portion. Next?

What is your least favorite question to be asked?

Incoming rant warning, and it’s the only one you’re going to get.

I’ve actually posted on this topic a few times. There’s a question that automatically pisses me off and I am asked all the time – in line at a clothing store, in line at the grocery store, in restaurants (sometimes by the serving staff themselves which should be a big no-no), on the street as I’m walking anywhere, at my apartment complex’s pool, on airplanes, in cabs, pretty much anywhere you can think of, I’ve been there when I’m asked the one question that is sure to set me off for maybe a half an hour? I’d have to ask My Companion. I lose track of time when I reach that level of annoyance.

What is this infuriating question?

“How do you stay so skinny?”

It’s asked in different ways, but that is what the question boils down to. Some people don’t ask, they say, “I wish I was as skinny as you,” instead, and that version is just as bad.

I have been the same height and weight since I sprouted two inches and gained five pounds the year after high school. My weight does not fluctuate all that much, unless I’m in the hospital or something.

I eat. Obviously I eat or I would be dead. People have seen me put away a 12 ounce ribeye with all the fixings and side dishes and had nothing but pieces of fat left on my plate and it’s like they assume I have some secret place where all the calories go.

Like I’m the calorie fairy and at night I sprinkle calories over the not so thin people thus ensuring my girlish figure.

If my eyes rolled back any further, I’d be able to see behind me.

It’s body shaming. Yes, in this PC culture where the smallest slight can make people select the nuclear option, I am body shamed and no one cares. Why?

Because everyone would LOVE to have the weight problems that I have and not the ones they have.

Every year come springtime, I am inundated with posts and photos about obese women and how we shouldn’t shame them. I agree with those posts, I really do. If someone wants to wear a bikini to the beach even though one can’t actually see the suit due to rolls, I’m not going to say a damn thing. It doesn’t even cross my mind.

It’s none of my goddamned business.

The same people that scream and shout about fat shaming have no qualms whatsoever about staring at my plate at restaurants and asking, “Wow, are you really going to eat all of that?”

“Not anymore, asshole, now get the fuck away from me. Server? May I have a to-go box, please?”

I go to the gym or pool here at our complex. Why I go shouldn’t matter but it’s for the bad back and neck I complain about so often here and on social media. The looks are bad enough, but the people who actually say something set me off and it can ruin my day.

Why would anyone want to make me feel guilty for being the size that I am?

It’s goddamned genetics/metabolism/SCIENCE(!). I’m not at the gym trying to run off the cheesecake I had for dessert last night. I’m at the gym because my goddamned skinny ass body can’t handle real life tasks if I don’t do basic maintenance.

There are doors in this world that I cannot pull open. There are bags I cannot lift. There are children I cannot pick up and carry no matter how badly I may want to. Why? Because this body that is so skinny that it makes people comment betrays me on a regular basis.

I’m cold all the time. Have I mentioned that? It’s one of the reasons I had no problem with moving permanently to Florida when the opportunity arose even though the politics make me cringe. Seriously cringe.

This skinny body everyone seems so in awe of bruises and breaks easily. Now I’m forty and discussions of supplements take over the conversations at my check-ups with the docs. Calcium, Vit D, all the other usual suspects, including Folic Acid – something normally given to pregnant women – to help with my circulation and, hopefully, stop me from feeling cold all the time. They don’t work.

I have short hair. From behind I am often mistaken for a “sir” and not a “ma’am”, I assume because I have no curves.

You know all those cute clothes that designers have been making for years and everyone bitches that they only look good on super skinny people? I’m here to tell you that stuff doesn’t actually look good on anyone except the models. Oh, and finding jeans, bras, t-shirts that fit me correctly and AREN’T IN THE CHILDREN’S SECTION would be fucking awesome.

We’ve done the medical tests. Thyroid, blood work, I’ve been run through the gauntlet of needle pokes and prods and there is no answer. According to science, this is how I am meant to be. There’s no magic pill that I can take that will make the weight stick. No pill that will make me hungrier and actually be able to keep the food down.

I even went to a counselor for a bit, to try to work through this. The theory at the time – and currently – is that it’s something unofficially called Stress Starving. There were no exercises to help with the way my mind reacts to food, especially after my food or weight have been pointed out to me. My stomach shuts down and everything tastes like ash.

A body/medical doctor I ran into at an Urgent Care facility gave me that phrase. He used to suffer from it as well.

Yes, I meant to use the word suffer there. Because this sucks and I hate it.

That doc started weight training, using protein supplemental shakes. He has to keep his workouts going six days a week or he backslides almost immediately. He said he could weight train me and I give him props for thinking that would work but the injuries that I’ve sustained make weight training very difficult if I don’t want to sign up for dual shoulder surgeries in the next few years.

Both of my rotator cuffs have tears in them. Like a fraying rope, eventually they’re going to give out. Weight training will make that happen faster.

Let’s follow this hypothetical, shall we? Say I work out with the weights for six months. I gain fifteen pounds – because that seems like a reasonable number – and BAM! there goes my right shoulder.

A surgery and 8 weeks of recovery later where I can’t keep up the workout and those fifteen pounds would be gone and I’d probably lose more besides as that’s what happens. So, after that recovery, I go back to working out. Now the left shoulder goes, probably quicker because it would have been strained from before, and I would have to cycle back through the surgery/recovery thing.

Let’s not forget the fact that I am sick to death of hospitals and injuries and going under the knife for pretty much anything. I’m fucking over it. I feel the need to say that again: I. Am. Fucking. Over. It.

I have been extremely thin my entire life. My mom used to call me her “Skinny Minnie” right up until I was in my 20s. Classmates, grandparents, friends, everyone used to think this was such a great thing.

Thigh gap? Yeah, I’ve got one and it would make most anorexics sick with envy. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, the people suffering from that condition should seek help immediately. I used it as an extreme example. Extreme, but accurate.

I tried the protein shakes a while back. I wrote a blog posting about it, and an update. Here’s the thing with that. By tracking my progress or lack thereof, I was reminding myself of Stress Starving which, in turn, created more stress starving. Human psychology can be mystifying.

Stress Starving – Yes, that’s a thing and 60 Day Update on My Struggle With Stress Starving

When I’m asked the question I refuse to type out once more, I’m instantly reminded of every piece of information I just now gave you, the reader. Everything in this post flashes through my head and I feel embarrassed, I feel shamed. And this shit isn’t my fault. There’s nothing I can do, and that makes it so much worse.

But you, dear readers, you can remember not to ever ever ever ask someone about their food. Unless you’re asking if something tastes good, that’s the only exemption I can think of.

Don’t ask for diet tips from the skinny chick in line at the supermarket. She may be standing there wanting to ask you how to put weight on. You wouldn’t like that very much, I assume, and it all goes back to the “Do Unto Others” thing.

You don’t want me asking about your weight goals? Don’t ask about mine. Don’t comment on mine. You aren’t family, you aren’t me, you have no right to point out something that feels like a failing.

Some people think it’s a compliment, to point out that their two hands could fit around my waist (that’s assault and battery, assholes, so don’t do it!). I’ve had people I don’t know pick me up, literally lift my body off of the ground (more assault and battery), purely to see if they can.

It’s not a compliment. It’s shaming. It’s reminding me of something that I cannot do no matter how desperately I may want to.

If you want to compliment me, tell me how awesome my comic book t-shirts are, that you like my shoes, or my hair color or cut, whatever. But do not comment on my weight.

I could write so much more on this topic. Yes, I could write more even though I’ve already written 2000 words on the subject. I find myself feeling angry, however, and I don’t want this posting to ruin Football Sunday. I’m nearly there.

My Lions are playing Washington which means they have a chance to win their third game in a row. We need that. My Companion’s team is playing Kansas City today so they, too, have a chance to add a win. And Denver is playing Houston Monday Night. That may be a slaughter considering the absolute bust that Osweiller seems to be. Did he learn nothing from sitting behind Manning?

Again, this is generally where I would ask you, the reader, a question about today’s topic. I wasn’t going to do that today, because I feel agitated and want this topic to go away, but you know what? Someone out there may read this and have an epiphany or something.

Let’s go with this: How do you feel about the PC Culture and all of the body shaming that goes on in this world? Have you been shamed? Feel free to share in comments as this is a No Judgment zone.

One thought on “Please Ask; Please Don’t Ask

  1. I’m told to eat a hamburger all the time, which isn’t going to happen since I’m vegan. Then I went vegan and people starting saying “that’s why you are so skinny.” Never mind the fact I have been skinny my whole life even when I ate meat. It does get annoying when people tell me that they wish they had my body. I contemplate asking them if they’d like the inconsistent periods and stomach trouble too. But I stop myself before asking it. Great article. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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