I have recently dropped a significant amount of weight. I will share why and how another day. This rant is about a ridiculous comment that keeps spewing out of everyone’s mouths when they see me. Most people in my physical social circle only see me once or twice a month, if they are lucky. Because of this, they have been seeing a skinnier me show up each time. Now that my weight loss has become noticeable, people have been asking about it. They begin with a compliment and question. “You look great, have you been losing weight?”. If I were easily offended or if this were the only question, I would reply with “Did I look like crap before?”. But this is not the comment that has my panties in a wad. It is the comment that follows my acknowledgment of weight loss that has me spitting nails.
“You must feel so much better”!
Why does this comment irritate me so much? Because it clearly displays the ignorance about chronic pain conditions in our society. For starters, I WAS SKINNY when I was first diagnosed. I didn’t gain weight until I started medicating. I expect this comment from those who have only known the fat me, but not the ones who knew the skinny me.
I have learned that I must be very careful in my response. I can not reply with a “yes”. Because that yes is not answering the question that they are really asking. When I say yes, it is because I like how my clothing fits and I don’t miss the digestive issues. What they hear is “yes, my pain is much less”. AHHH but that wasn’t their question…. Or was it? It is. They all assume that my weight loss will result in my being “healed”. It was after I began to clarify my answer that the true meaning of their comment was revealed. What they mean to ask but fail to word correctly is “Has your pain decreased?”. If they would ask in this manner I could easily answer with a NO.
Coming up with a response that accurately conveyed how I felt was tricky. I have learned to never start with the YES portion of my reply. When I did, the other person tuned out and didn’t hear my NO portion. This led to even more confusion the next time I wasn’t well enough to attend an event. Here is what I say:
OP (other person) “Wow, you look great. Have you lost weight?”
ME: “Yes, thanks for noticing.”
OP: “You must feel so much better”.
Me: “NO, if you are referring to my muscle, nerve, back, and tailbone pain, NO. There is no change in my pain level”.
OP: **gives a unbelieving stare****
Me: “But YES I am enjoying not dealing with as many digestive issues as I did before”.
I wish I could just say yes, because I do feel better. Intestinal cramping wasn’t fun. In the meantime I will just stick to my two fold reply. With more pounds to drop, I may just record my answer or put a sign around my neck. :)~