Thursday, January 8, 2009

Belonging to a Minority...

My daughter-in-law Heather and my sister Kate have posted some interesting thoughts about religion and evolution on their blogs. My sister commented on how, being an atheist, she may feel more comfortable raising her daughter in a more liberal city than Spokane. Actually, I know better, she loves debating on religion, politics, or anything else worth talking about.

But her comment made me think about minorities and how they must feel when they are looked at simply by the color of their skin or some other thing that makes them "different". In some way, I think we all fit in to some kind of minority whether it be by skin color, our beliefs, our income, whatever.

You know I hate blogging without visual aides, but I just couldn't bring myself to Google a picture of "skinny" and see all those starving children in Africa. So this post will be without one.

I have always belonged to a minority but never really realized it until I started thinking about Kate's post. I am, and always have been "thin". That's a real nice way of saying "skinny". Now before you all say, "Oh how lucky you are", let me tell you how this has affected me.

Until I got pregnant for the first time, I weighed 96 lbs, and I'm 5'6" tall. Fortunately, I now weigh 110. I've had friends tell me, "When I first met you, I thought you were anorexic". Thanks for the kind words.

When I was younger, I'd walk down the sidewalk and hear people whisper as I walked by "Oh my God! Did you see how skinny she was!" and then their companion would turn around and look at me.

I can't tell you how many times I had TOTAL STRANGERS walk up to me in a store, or stop me on a street and say "Oh my God you're so SKINNY!" WTF???? I always thought to myself that no one would dream of walking up to a total stranger and say "Oh my God you're so FAT!" or "Oh my God, you're so BLACK!" I'd never stop someone and say "Oh my God, you're so UGLY!"

But yes, for some reason, it was always acceptable for people I didn't even know (and believe it or not it still happens occasionally) to comment on my weight. Thankfully, I've never taken it personally and realize that people just don't seem to understand their ignorance. Maybe this will help my family understand why I'm so "hard" (which is a kind way of saying "mean"), which I prefer to call "strong". It took me many, many years to get that way, but I guess it's how I've learned to cope and survive. I know that this is why I've never been prejudiced, why I've tried to be kinder to people with disabilites or differences, and why, above all else, I taught my kids when they were young, that no matter what, I would never tolerate them teasing or bullying other kids and that I cared more about their kindness, tolerance, and compassion for others over grades in school.

I feel like I've learned SO MUCH from my simple existence on this earth...


Dee said...

I do know how you feel, Jodi. For many years, between children, I was 110 lbs and was 5ft 7 1/2 in. The husband of my best friend called me Mrs. Thermometer (and he was overweight ). I always felt the same way as you stated, I would NEVER in the world have called him a name that indicated his size. I, too, don't know how those people can feel that such statements are ok.
You are beautiful ! Take pride in that and show it with attitude !
love you !

kate said...

Yep, I get it too. In highschool, I wore my legwarmers UNDER my jeans so that my legs didn't look so skinny. And I once had a girl corner in the bathroom at a bar and DEMAND that I admit I had an eating disorder. She wanted to get me help. ha! Of course, I don't have that problem any more!

But like you, it helped me to be compassionate and always remember to be patient and kind because every person on this planet is struggling with something, be it childhood abuse, weight issues, sexualty, skin color, whatever. That's what makes us human. Even (and probably especially) a*holes. Although I still struggle with that one occassionally... hee

GREAT post sis. I love you!! And you are beautiful exactly the way you are.

jpogue said...

Yea, we have all had issues but it makes us stronger and (usually) leads us in a better direction in our lives. I guess that's why so many people root for the underdogs!

Kate, I erased my picture off my blog and tried to paste yours but once again, I've screwed it up and now it gives me an error message when I try to put any picture there.

I'm going to find me a nice picture of "Maxine". I love her - we "get" eachother.

JACKI said...

mom... good post! Although, I wouldnt change anything about you... I yub you the way you are! And, WHY do you want a picture of KATE as your avatar??? No offense, Kate.

jaci said...

I get that same line. I just roll my eyes. It's right in there with "you're so tall" or "you're so short!" It was really hard when I was raising Arwen - she is built like Don's side of the family which is much heavier and I never wanted her to think she was abnormal because her mom is so skinny and she wasn't. People said the rudest things to me because she was such an adorable little chunk of a girl and I'm so skinny. Dumb people.

jpogue said...

Jacki, I was telling Kate how much I loved her new picture and asked if I could use hers on my blog and she said sure! She looks just like some 50s movies star!

And Jaci, thanks for the kind words about the Jan 5 anniversary on the other post. You know, we really MUST get together one of these days! Maybe sometime this spring we can meet halfway and if not this spring, lets do it this summer for sure!

copswife said...

I've always had this sort of fantasy that when someone said something to me like that, a rude question or comment, that I'd be brave enough to say: Oh, is it rude question/comment that are none of my business day? In that case, I've always been curious. How long have you been that fat/ugly/bald/stupid?

But in reality I'd never do it. Holding back like you do is better. Two rudensses don't make a right.

Bonnie said...

I am 5'4'' and weighted 98lbs when I got married. I was skinny in the days of Marilyn Monroe, and Jane Russell. My charming brother said, "When you were thin it wasn't in - now that you're stout it's out".

In the late 60's I began birth control pills and when I got up to 120lbs. I was elated. Then a couple of years later I was with my daughter in a department store and saw our pictures on TV, but I didn't recognize the fat lady with her.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Dee's friend, Bonnie

Bonnie said...

Forgot to tell you a memorable comment made to me. "If you turned sideways you'd disappear.

jpogue said...

Hi Bonnie! I hear you're loving being back in Arizona! I'm so happy you made it back there. I hope you get back to Boise to see mom though!

disa said...