Victims of fat shaming

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There is a debate on fat shaming happening on my IG right now. I don’t know why unhealthy (includes fat and skinny people both) people feel victimized. It is the health conscious people who should cry about victimization. Don’t believe me? Try adopting a healthy lifestyle for a change. People will laugh at you, mock you, raise their eyebrows, assume you don’t know how to have ‘fun’, force you to booze, dope, eat junk and force feed you desserts. All of this has happened to me. From acquaintances to family to colleagues to close friends, they have all been an impediment on my fitness journey. Here is the funny part- none of these people are healthy. In fact, most of them are fat or on their way to being fat.

I will give you a picture of what these ‘victims’ are like. Few months back N, a colleague from my previous team, and I went for coffee to a nearby coffee shop. She ordered waffles drizzling with chocolate, ice cream and what not. I don’t remember the last time I ate something with so many calories. Atleast not in those portion sizes. I had to take a bite or two. The conversation revolved around her love for chocolate and while she gobbled up 500-1000 calories in a snack, she complained about how much weight she has gained. She didn’t stop there. She grabbed the fat on her waist and showed it to me. While eating the waffles dripping in chocolate.

In all aspects of our life, we agree that we are responsible for whatever turn destiny takes. More or less. I am not talking about tragedies or life threatening diseases or other things beyond our control. But when it comes to weight and health, general tendency is to act like it is beyond one’s control. That isn’t fair. I have worked hard, trained like a maniac, read up on health, sucked up to trainers for their knowledge and help, isolated myself, killed myself with guilt over every piece of chocolate devoured. So when someone who hasn’t even tried, screams victimization and fat shaming, I can’t help but guffaw at them. Sorry. You are not getting any free passes here.

If you are genuine, I will provide you with all my support but there are no shortcuts in life. This reminds me of women who refuse to stand up to their parents when it comes to arranged marriage, then spend all their lives acting like victims without lifting a finger to try and get out of the situation because it’s too hard.

I am pretty sure someone is going to defend such people too. The weaker you are, the easier life is for you. I have seen that happen all my life. You only get support when you act like a victim. Shirk it off and act like you are strong enough to deal with it and nobody gives a shit.

 

 


The Meeting 

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Friday evening was significant. Very casually, my mother invited KC over for lunch at the new flat in Mumbai. KC’s schedule in Mumbai is always packed. Over 2 days he has to catch up with school friends and MBA friends. And spend quality time with me and his mother. Sometimes at the same time. I didn’t want him to reschedule his plans at the whims and fancies of my mother. 

I told her it wasn’t possible but left the final decision on him. I wondered how I would feel if he didn’t make the effort to make the time. I was going to resent him forever. I have suffered his mother for 8 years, he couldn’t take out an hour for mine?

To give some context, my parents met him and his family in 2008. It did not go well, to put it mildly. They haven’t met since. My relationship with my parents has mostly been stormy over the years. My dad’s heart ailment is what got me to call and visit after almost 2 years of no contact.

KC readily agreed. I was surprised when he insisted we accept the invitation. I moved it to breakfast because it was more convenient and we wouldn’t have to linger for more than an hour. It was a peaceful breakfast and I ferried KC out in 45 mins. 

I don’t know what prompted this change in my mother. I can only speculate. What I know for sure is that it doesn’t matter. I’ve gone through the whole circle of hurt, pain, tears, loneliness, learning to live without family and turning hard hearted. Am at a point where their views, opinions, affections, approval or disapproval have no place in my life. I walk on egg shells around them because they don’t understand me and I don’t understand them. It’s too late to repair anything now. Polite distance is all I have to offer now. Any gesture towards appeasement is too little, too late. 

My family is fraught with manipulation, jealousy, happiness at relatives’ misery, distrust, gossip, slander and selfishness. Everytime a relative calls after years of not staying in touch, my first thought is “what do they want now?”. I can almost predict their intentions and political designs and keep myself safe. It is a vortex I can’t get drawn into. Worse, pull KC into it. I will get out unscathed but he may not be so lucky.

This meeting was to test the waters but I have no intentions of breaking down the fences that have been built in the last 9 years. They do not get to mess my life again. Once was enough. Unfortunately the damage they’ve done is permanent. I will always be cynical about a parent child relationship. 


Appraisals

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Now is the time for mid year appraisals. That time of the year when your salary must justify the judgement someone gets to pass on you and your skills. My idea of a good appraisal is when you can anticipate correctly what’s coming your way- good or bad. Whatever feedback that comes your way must not be a surprise. This can happen when you’ve taken feedback at regular intervals and can read the signals given by the reporting manager accurately. 

Of course, this feedback should be taken with a handful of salt. There are certain skills that everyone can be better at but at the end of the day, the corporate wants robots. Everyone evaluates everyone else against themselves. Every manager wants their reportees to be like them. “I am people friendly and have lots of informal, after work interactions”. So should you. “I treat people like pawns”. So should you. Etc etc etc. 

It’s a tricky balance. You have to show you have worked on the feedback without actually turning into the reporting manager. The higher you go, the tougher it is to say No. Being upfront about your views is actively discouraged at the top. And yet, I have worked with managers who are upfront and yet successful. Their rare breed does exist. You would expect that your power to say No increases as you move closer to the top. But it is the opposite in reality. And if you are a person who can cut through the bullshit easily and are upfront, you already know expecting you to be politically correct will be the first topic on the feedback list. 

Key takeaway – pretend to change while not actually changing. Have at least 1 person who you trust, preferably someone senior, and take their feedback and work on their advice. 


Crash and burn

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Forward and backward.

Backward and forward.

Round and round in circles.

Take me back.

Back to where?

Where is now?

Where was then?

 

Backward and forward.

Forward and backward.

Round and round in circles.

I crash and burn.

Crash and burn, if I stop.

 

No closer to the answers now, than then.

Backward and forward.

Forward and backward.

Round and round in circles.