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The old "People treat me different" topic

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Old 03-23-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
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Default The old "People treat me different" topic

My head's in a bad place today, so take that in mind with this major pity post. I think my problem is that I'm scared to mow my lawn. Stupid huh? I've never mowed a lawn in my life and it's looming like some test I have to pass in order to prove that I can handle my life. I'm terrified of failing because if I fail...I will fail at being a mom, a house keeper, and will just plain fail at life. Drama queen much? Yeah, I know. But that's how I feel right now. It will pass.

BUT...that's not what this thread's about!

Threads all over this board talk about how people treat you differently when you've gone from fat to thin. The typical complaint or comment is that you're treated better, with more respect and that doors "magically open".

I think I'm experiencing the opposite and it's really starting to mess with my head. Women look me up and down and are constantly commenting on my clothes, or snarling at my cleavage.

And men? Well, men flat out ignore me. They used to smile and as I've always had a very easy nature around men, they used to befriend me. Now, I'm invisible. How on earth did I go from a friendly face to whatever the heck I am now? I mean, most men actually turn their nose up, look over my head (not hard to do) and sometimes I get evil looks. I'm not talking about men that I know. They haven't changed at all. I'm talking about men just passing by.

And at the gym this morning? Geesh! I was doing sets on a machine and had completed 1 of 3. I had it all set up, which is a struggle for short women. There's a component I had to move high above my head and it's a struggle and another component that needs to be switched out. Anyway, these two guys came over as if I wasn't even there, changed it all around and got set. So I headed over to an identical machine that has two ropes, and I only need one. So I asked this guy if I could use the one, and he explained he had two more sets. I thought, sheesh...so did I. Feeling a bit forlorn, and short on time, I moved on my merry way. The only consoling factor was that another guy (one who NORMALLY totally ignores me) came up and said, "You know, if those two guys weren't so busy checking each other out, they might have noticed you were there." That made me feel a bit better, I admit. Come to think of it, this same guy lowered a barbell for me yesterday. I accidentally set it up too high with 140 pounds of weight on it. He noticed it right away, stepped in and lowered it for me.
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Last edited by Eliana : 03-23-2011 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #2
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And at the gym this morning? Geesh! I was doing sets on a machine and had completed 1 of 3. I had it all set up, which is a struggle for short women. There's a component I had to move high above my head and it's a struggle and another component that needs to be switched out. Anyway, these two guys came over as if I wasn't even there, changed it all around and got set. So I headed over to...
How on earth could this happen? Did you walk away from the machine for a bit? These guys were being rude and you didn't speak up?? This doesn't sound like you.

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Feeling a bit forlorn...
Awww... hugs

Scared of mowing your lawn, fear of failing at everything, people snarling or ignoring you. I think there could be a different issue here. I think there is something overwhelming you right now. What could it be?
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:28 AM   #3
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How on earth could this happen? Did you walk away from the machine for a bit? These guys were being rude and you didn't speak up?? This doesn't sound like you.
Actually, this is totally me! I only speak up for myself online...you know, where I can think before I type! LOL!

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Awww... hugs

Scared of mowing your lawn, fear of failing at everything, people snarling or ignoring you. I think there could be a different issue here. I think there is something overwhelming you right now. What could it be?
The current "something" is truly my lawn. There aren't too many hurtles for me to jump over going from living with my husband to being on my own. For me, it's one thing to be "alone" and truly alone. It's another to be "alone" with two little ducklings under your wing. I'm feeling overwhelmed by my house. Even though its care always fell 90% on me, he did take care of that 10%. If I can't mow my lawn, I feel like I can't keep the house, and then I feel homeless. So yeah, it's overwhelming me right now.

Sometimes I remind myself I could always hire the boy across the street. Because there's that logic too, I know this is entirely symbolic of my life. I have to mow that lawn just to remove the symbolism.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:35 AM   #4
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Oh, dear, Eliana, your fear of mowing your lawn just set a whole train of associations going in my head.

My mother's been a widow since November 2008. And what's she's constantly kept me apprised of since my father's death is how often she's mowed the lawn or cleared the driveway & sidewalks with the snowblower or shovels. In fact, her e-mails circled those two subjects so obsessively that I sometimes feared for her mental health. I thought, "How sad, her life & her thoughts are contracting down to such little everyday things." And I resolved to get her to visit me or to visit her & take her to the movies, to a museum, to get some stimulation, anything, anything to broaden her world beyond lawncare & snow-clearing.

Seriously, I didn't really "get it" until reading your post. My mother's not as articulate or self-aware as you are, and isn't able to have any perspective on her concerns & her actions, so she never made the link clear for me. And I have been oblivious to it, all along.

It's her autonomy & self-sufficiency & strength as a woman alone. Widowed, in her case.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:48 AM   #5
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awwwwwwww hugs!! mow your law at first light so no one's around! I know it's scary to do new things (i was afraid to walk outside at first! like someone would pity the poor fat lady trying to lose weight)

As for PEOPLE, well, i've posted many many times that PEOPLE SUCK lol but it's not always their fault. When we're fat or thin, or changing, maybe WE act differently in the first place, so their reactions TO US is different. Just a thought!

As for MEN smiling at us or not, i think it's an easy answer -- nice round fat ladies are SAFE. They won't get the wrong idea, they know it's just joking around, no big deal. However, a non-fat lady, gotta watch they don't think we're flirting or the wife will kill us
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:26 PM   #6
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I can feel the power of your need to do it.

I feel frozen in fear of doing some painting (maybe doing something wrong or doing irreparable damage). For example, I have previously successfully painted rooms in a prior house, no big deal. But after years of XH condescending criticisms, I am paralyzed to attempt to paint again. I totally get it but this part concerns me...

equating it with failure at everything else. Your life is not a house of cards. If you remove the card of lawn mowing, everything will not fall down.

I am sure you would be great at mowing a lawn. I wonder if you can change the head thing by making it more of an exercise thing rather than a mowing thing. I have a friend that uses a push mower and does it to get a good arm and quad workout.

ETA: This crisis of confidence may be affecting your perception of how other people are acting towards you. Not that the gym guys weren't out of line but maybe they didn't do it intentionally.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #7
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I have all the same feelings as you do in regard to keeping my yard and house up. When I was single I was determined that I did not need to pay some boy to cut my grass, and resolved to do it myself. Well, first I was a total novice at the whole "how to start/stop the lawnmower" then I was a total novice at "how do you do this, what direction do you go in, what if I run over my flowers unintentionally" etc. etc. and then it was sooooooo time consuming. So I did it in baby steps. I fiddled around with the machine in my shed where no one could see me. When I figured out how to start it, lower and raise the blade, how to empty the grasscatcher, how to turn it off, then I tooled it around the yard a couple times. I segmented my yard into 4 parts and just mowed one part each afternoon. (This sux because when you finish you immediately need to start over!!) Wow, you would have thought I'd discovered the cure for cancer or something, I was so proud.

It's the little things, really! You are a capable woman, a wonderful mom, and you will show that lawn of yours who's boss. And, if you don't want to carve out the time to do it, and you can afford it, absolutely hire someone to do it for you. You would hire a plumber or an electrician if you needed that work done, so what's different?
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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I think I'm experiencing the opposite and it's really starting to mess with my head. Women look me up and down and are constantly commenting on my clothes, or snarling at my cleavage.
It's because you are competition now ~ you are a threat to them now. For what? Who knows...women can be catty and it could be related to anything.


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And men? Well, men flat out ignore me. They used to smile and as I've always had a very easy nature around men, they used to befriend me. Now, I'm invisible. I mean, most men actually turn their nose up, look over my head (not hard to do) and sometimes I get evil looks. I'm talking about men just passing by.
Maybe men in passing used to smile because they were being genuinely friendly, and now that you are thinner and may be seen as more attractive, maybe they don't smile in case you read into it that they are interested or they are hitting on you. I noticed when I was heavy that a lot of guys would be super nice and kind to me in passing, but as I got thinner it went away. They'll barely look me in the eye. And when I smile at them it really throws them off and they get all embarrassed....so, in a weird kind of way I almost take it as a compliment. Also, I doubt anyone is giving you the evil eye if you haven't done anything to provoke it ~ maybe they are just having a bad day and you are in their line of sight when they are making that glance.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:54 PM   #9
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This is so interesting to me. But now that I think about it, in my observation overweight shy people are kind of pitied, people feel sorry for them? And skinny shy people are looked at as arrogant. I wonder if you are experiencing this. You don't seem shy on the boards at all, so I don't know if this is the case.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:56 PM   #10
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This is so interesting to me. But now that I think about it, in my observation overweight shy people are kind of pitied, people feel sorry for them?
Yes!! That is exactly what I was thinking, too. I used to get a lot of what I now call pity smiles from men. The kind that had me wondering if they were thinking, "oh, poor fat girl...she probably doesn't have a good job, good relationship, or anything good because she is fat, so I'll be kind to her." Blech!!!
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:25 PM   #11
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Eliana - you don't have to get mowing the lawn right all in one go.

Goodforme's way of breaking it down into bite-sized chunks is spot on. Start the mower, stop the mower and then have a cool drink. Etc.

Draw the comparison with exercise as someone earlier said (sorry, I'm on the phone). Do it in sets, made up of reps. Rest in between.

Come to think of it, there's probably no 'right' way of mowing the lawn. Everyone has their own individual way.

Good luck! And then would you mind coming round to do ours??
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:21 PM   #12
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I know when I feel down on myself I tend to see people looking at me/not looking at me, feeling catty towards me, in ways I Don't when I'm feeling confident. Maybe this is the case for a lot of it?

I think it would improve your self esteem to tackle the lawn, and that may in turn improve the other issues.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:25 PM   #13
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You already need to mow your lawn??? LUCKY YOU! Seriously, I love to mow, and it's still a little bit winter here. No grass to mow yet.

You might have read me write this before, but in the summer, push mowing is my #1 form of cardio. I push for hours. (We have a huge lawn). I think that after you start doing it, and realize how much satisfaction and excercise you get doing it, you'll love it.

As far as people treating you different. Oh honey. It happens. I can't remember who wrote about it here, but they talked about the weight hierarchy, and how when we are fat we fall on one step of the social ladder and when we lose weight some people see us as moving up and taking their step. Many feel threaten. I just try to suck it up, and smile real pretty. It's hard though. When someone is catty I just think to myself that they must feel like I'm trying to take their step. LOL Hang in there.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:42 PM   #14
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Hey -- not to change the subject but I love mowing the lawn.

When I was a kid, I used to have to mow our lawn until one day I somehow made the lawn mower catch fire!! My dad bought a brand new riding lawn mower and I was never allowed to touch it.

Fast forward to me bugging the Cute Boyfriend to PLEASE mow the lawn. He always made a production of it. Had special shoes and changed his clothes, put a sweat band on. We live in the CITY people. It's a tiny lawn. So I got fed up and did it. And it was FUN. I have a phobia of plugging in things and it's electric so it took a couple tries for me to get it plugged in but once it was plugged in, I thought it was so satisfying.

Oh, and I never told him I liked it.

Now we don't have a lawn. I totally miss it. That reminds me... I should shave my legs...
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:29 PM   #15
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Now we don't have a lawn. I totally miss it. That reminds me... I should shave my legs...


Three years after we got married, DH moved to China for 6 months for work. He was gone from March - August. Mowing the lawn is such a steriotypically male activity that mowing the lawn as a woman feels like the ultimate power trip. I don't need a man to take care of me - I can mow the lawn! That being said, I was the absolute worst at mowing. We had an incredibly old riding mower that I constantly ran into the fence, bending the hood back until it hit the fan and would shoot sparks. I would "fix" it with a hammer. That summer was also the magical convergence of years when every type of cicada (3 year, 7 year, 11 year whatever number of years when they all attack) was out. I would mow and have them flying in my hair and getting stuck, and I would yell at them and wildly wave my arms trying to keep them away, and the overwhelming noise that they make would drive me crazy. So I was known in our town (small town and I lived on the main road) as the crazy, muttering, hammer-wielding, arm-waving lady - and nobody judged me harshly for it. However you manage to mow the lawn, take care of your kids, hold down a job, and keep doing it every day - you are to be admired.

As for the men ignoring you and how other women are acting - I don't have the answer, but have had some of the same reactions. Some women are catty to me now, some talk to me like I've joined their "skinny club", the ones who know me treat me the same. Same with men - some talk to me more easily (scares me to death because I can't wear my wedding ring anymore and I can never tell if someone is flirting with me - a little socially unaware), some ignore me, those who know me treat me the same. I don't know what motivates them and being ignored still hurts - fat or thin.

BTW We now live on a large acreage and I still have to mow, but I get the riding mower and DH gets the tractor - why does he get the fun stuff?
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