Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 81 | Backyard Bully

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 81 | Backyard Bully

When I wrote my very first Trust Your Gut, on February 2, 2017, it started with an intro like this:

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people that have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them, as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Since then, I have written numerous entries into this category. Most of them have been about my own story and struggles. There have been a few guest entries, and I am still open to more in the future.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the urge to blog. I took a break, When it became a long break, I just focused on other parts of my life for a while. Then I moved my website. While I am finally getting back to work with my blogs, I wanted to revisit the original post that started them all, and drop that link above for anyone who wants to check out the very first one. I encourage you to read them all, of course, but I think a reflection on where I started to where I am now is a nice place to start.

In May, 2020, I experienced something that I have not had to deal with personally in a long time.

I was the target of a Backyard Bully.

It was a nice sunny day, and I was not yet working at my part-time day job. It was a Saturday, and I was wearing a pair of leggings and a t-shirt. I had no plans to go anywhere when I picked out my outfit, that day.

I remember Roy, my husband, saying he wanted to go run an errand. I decided I would like to go with him, but thought I should change. He assured me that I looked fine, and that we should just go as we were. So we ran the errand.

When we got home, I decided it would be nice to go out into our yard to take pictures of the different little flowers that had delighted me when they grew in the spring. They are wildflowers. Some are commonly referred to as weeds, but after being cooped up all winter, and trying to find things to do while being home, it seemed like a reasonable option to me. So, I got my camera, and out I went into the yard. It was so sunny and warm that I didn’t even need a jacket.

I started in the front yard. I found a patch of forget me nots, and some dandelions.

As I played with my camera, and wandered to the backyard, I noticed bags of garbage beside my neighbour’s shed. I don’t go out into the backyard very often, and I thought to myself that I hoped it didn’t always look like that. I shrugged my shoulders and found more flowers with my camera lens.

As I focused through the lens of my camera, I heard my neighbours in their shed. I was relieved to realize that they were doing spring cleaning in their own yard, and glad there was a reason for the garbage bags behind me. As I continued walking through my yard, taking pictures of the little flowers, I heard my neighbour make this comment to his wife, “Will you look at that.”

I didn’t hear her reply, and for a moment, I just thought he was commenting about the neighbour wandering around in her own backyard with a big fancy camera, taking pictures of weeds. Then, it dawned on me what he was really commenting about.

I was wearing my leggings and t-shirt out in public. It wasn’t a longer t-shirt, but it matched my leggings nicely.

He was referring to his own disgust at seeing a woman weighing over three hundred pounds in leggings and a t-shirt.

It took a few moments for me to regain my composure. I had my back to them. I took a deep breath, and took one last photo.

One tiny flower

I felt about as small as that flower in the picture, the one all by itself.

The words of the backyard bully stung an old wound, one I have fought against ever since I encountered bullies for the first time as a child.

I may not have lost a lot of weight since I have started writing in this blog category, but I have spent a lot of time working on me.

Previously, I would have let those words into my heart, to pierce it like so many mean things people have said to and about me before. Just as I had let my self talk reveal the ugly nature of the backyard bully’s words in my mind, I had to talk myself out of letting them have power over me.

I told my husband and some friends what had happened. I was angry, but I was not sobbing quietly to myself from the sting of the words. I was angry.

Had those words been about someone else that I was with, the person I am now would have stood up for the other person. In those few minutes while I finished taking pictures, I talked myself out of running away to cry. I finished what I was doing, then walked to the front of my house and went back inside.

The joy of my afternoon was lost.

I still have the pictures, and shared them on my social media, without the ugliness of the hurtful words. I can still smile when I see them, but I also remember what tainted a beautiful afternoon.

One friend said that people who are that mean need extra kindness in their lives.

I still disagree. I see no need to reward a jackass for being an asshole.

Which is how I feel about what happened.

As difficult as it was for me to remain calm and quiet while I finished taking the pictures that afternoon, I realized in the midst of dealing with it that I was not reacting like I used to. My self talk had averted what would have previously been a meltdown.

I decided that I would not give the backyard bully the satisfaction of making me feel miserable about my body image. It is not the body of an athlete, but it is a body that uses layers of fat as a cushion against the harshness of the world around it. Becoming angry or upset and lashing out would not have ended well. I know that from my other experiences with bullies. Being quiet and walking away was difficult. But I did it, and I can be proud of how I handled myself and my feelings in that situation.

I have grown up.

Bullies still exist, and sadly, they probably always will. How I react to them is not in their control, not anymore. It is me who decides how to react to bullies. Although the occurrences are less in my adult life, they still happen. The difference is that I am in control of how I react to the situation and that I can choose to not hold the words in my heart where they will do the worst damage. I do not forget, but I do not let the words of bullies have power over me anymore.

A new year is approaching and I look forward to it with hope, as I have every year. I am also working on making better choices again. I decided to start now, instead of waiting for the new year to start fresh. By implementing small changes now, I will develop better habits to be already established by the time the new year begins. It seems different, this time, and I truly hope that I can see the results of my hard work as I create a new habit on a weekly basis to add up to a healthier version of me.

#trustyourgut

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 31

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 31

 

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 31

Another week has come and gone.  Thursday was yesterday.  I am a little sorry that I am writing late this week, but my heart wasn’t in it yesterday, and I want to keep it real and honest with you all. I have suffered a loss nine days ago that has affected me more than I expected in some ways, and just as much as I thought it would in others.  This loss was neither on a scale nor of inches.

There are two certainties in life.  You are born, and you die.  A dear friend of mine lost her battle with cancer nine days ago.  I plan to speak at her Celebration of Life Ceremony tomorrow.  While I was writing what I wanted to say and organizing my thoughts for that, I realized that it was more important for me to focus my attention on it when I decided to do it.  I got a friend to give it a read through in an editorial sense, but because I drafted and edited it myself, she thought that it was a great piece of writing.  So I am sorry if I let anyone down that is following my journey in this category, but all is not lost.  I am here today, and I feel like writing.  If the family is OK with me sharing my story after I read it tomorrow, you can expect to read a different kind of Weekend Warrior story later on this weekend.

So what brought me around, other than the guilt of missing my self-imposed deadline for the weekly story?  I was watching another video along the lines of Branding, and learning more about how to be effective at it.  Wait, what?  How does this relate to a struggle with weight issues?

The guest speaker was talking about taking what makes you mad, and writing about it.  Not an infuriating anger filled frustrated rant, but to use common sense thought processes and provide a solution.  This is the basis of what I want to do here.  I am mad that I am the way I am, physically, and health-wise.  I write about what I need to do, and I learn new recipes and ways to improve my health and change what I am using for fuel in my body to have a positive outcome.  I can write about it, I can think about it, I can talk about it, but the bottom line is, only I can care enough about myself to actually DO something about it.

I seem to be at opposing sides with my food choices.  I will eat a really healthy meal, and then go WAY off track and have junk food or fast food.  Willpower is certainly lacking in my life these days.  I am struggling with some old monsters.  They are ganging up on my inner light and causing me strife.

The feeling that I am never going to be good enough is a main contributing factor in why I weigh over 300 lbs.  I get it from many sources in my life.  My childhood was not bad, not at all, but sometimes the messages were not presented in a way to make me flourish.  I don’t believe people when they compliment me right away.  I need to hear things that are positive about a million times before I believe them, and then I get upset.  I just don’t know how to accept compliments.  I am working on this and getting better about thanking people when they say nice things.  For me, this is a real struggle.

Work is another area where this arises.  Workplace Bullying is wrong, no matter how subtle it is, or who the bully is.  I am not singling out my current employers, let’s be clear about that.  But when I see or experience it, it makes me feel like I am not good enough.  I struggle with that internally, and it is not always somebody else’s fault.  Sometimes I can be too sensitive.  I am learning to stand up for myself, and this is not easy for me to do, either.  As I learn, I have to make mistakes.  Picking battles is a trickier thing than you think it is.  If I was to cry out about every little thing that happened in my life, people would stop listening, stop reading, and stop caring.  Then I would be alone and back to doubting myself.

Sometimes the monsters are on the outside.   That is something that makes me angry.  People that abuse power are the worst kind of bullies, and I come from a long history of being a victim.  I struggle every day to be a good person.  It tears me up inside when that is perceived to be not good enough.  At this point, I can react in two different ways.  I can hide, and cry until I have no more tears.  Or I can speak out.  I am doing more talking, and it does not always go as well as I plan it in my head.  Some things are not OK, and some things need to be confronted.  When things backfire, I do hide for a bit, until I deal with my feelings of being hurt.  Sometimes I can be overzealous in my attempts to stand up for myself.  In these cases, I do get upset, but these days I stand to face the music, instead of turning tail and running.

Still not sure how I am planning to tie this all together?  Well, the ugly monsters inside are the worst ones of all.  The inner bully that kicks you when you are down and sucker punches you when you weren’t looking is pure evil.  We all have the negative self-talk, the hard feelings about one thing or another that we let win.  I have been doing a little too much of that this month.  I am letting the monster win, and that is not going to end well.  I have two choices.  I can do nothing, or I can do something about it.  I think it is time to take action and kick some monster butts.  I feel the inner glow getting a little brighter as I wrote that.  I needed to get it out.  So I am going to take my common sense and use it to change what makes me angry.  For this category, that means I am going to start making better choices and be the change I want to see in myself.  One thing at a time, one choice at a time, one story at a time.

Trust Your Gut.