Saturday, August 24, 2013

To My Faculty Colleague

The Matron recounted much of this on Facebook and will do so again here, to inform, delight or disturb blog readers who are not her friends on Facebook (yet!).

Open Letter.

Dear Faculty Colleague,

Thursday, you needed to leave the faculty union meeting early.   This meant juggling through a myriad of tightly packed chairs and bodies.    When you got to the two colleagues at my side, you politely said "excuse me" and they did.   But when you came to my chair--the last one, aisle -- you paused to put your hand on the chair and say with venom:   I am SO SORRY that I'm not a size MINUS ZERO like you.  I wish I was but we can't all be FREAKISHLY thin.  I am SO SORRY I'm not super skinny.  I wish I was but I'm not."

Then you shoved my chair in (with me in it), glared, and walked away.

Please know that I would never, ever malign you for being overweight.  Actually, I wouldn't have noticed this without your comments.  Please do know that those of us who are a "minus zero" might have food and body image issues that precisely parallel those that you have -- if you have any (and your hostility makes me think that you do).  We just have different responses.  Same feelings.  I think you know this because your aim was so true.   You meant to wound and knew how -and wound, you did.

 I don't know your name-- and because our encounter left me so stunned (deer in the headlights, actually) -- I probably won't even recognize you, should we meet again.   While I briefly entertained thoughts of revenge and retaliation, these were instantly unsatisfying.   Revenge also requires some degree of energy and pursuit on my part (and would mean learning your name).  

In the end, of course, I realize that participating in whatever cycle of ugly this was won't do me -- or you -- any good.  I don't need to know your name to wish you well -- to wish you freedom from whatever burdens you carry.  No-- I won't take on the pain for you (good try, though) but I hope that your own suffering can be alleviated.   Freedom from suffering.  Peace.

That is a much more satisfying cycle and a better place to live.

Sincerely,

M

8 comments:

Cate said...

I don't understand people sometimes. Does this person not realize that they've made a spectacle of themself? How did the people around you respond? I am irate on your behalf, and I don't even know you. You are lovely, and s/he is just jealous. That's what any mom worth her salt would say, and I say it to you.

Suburban Correspondent said...

That's bizarre, in that it seems completely unprovoked. She must have misread the expression on your face. Issues, definitely...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Wow. Just, wow. ANY derogatory commentary on someone's appearance is unprofessional, period. Shame on them.

Ann in NJ said...

I can imagine that she was embarrassed if she felt people had to pull their chairs in even mor than they had, but I can't imagine saying something so venomous in that situation. Definitely issues. As someone who's always been heavy, I DO have to remind myself sometimes that there are those who struggle the other direction. But I would never be nasty to them about it.

Deb said...

Boy, I don't even know what to say. It should make faculty meetings interesting in the future, though!

Xtreme English said...

I read somewhere years ago that obese women tend to be also passive-aggressive if not downright hostile. I know some who fit that very nicely. Your nameless faculty person does, also.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

As someone who struggles with weight and body issues, I am astounded and aghast at her behavior.
As someone who admires you and your moxie, my admiration for you has grown with your response to her hostility.

Peace to you.

Rainbow Motel said...

I've found that there are those in the world who believe they deserve to wear the "victim hat" more than others and--because of this--they can be as nasty to anyone as they want. Because they were victims first.