Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Skinny Minnie

Several months ago, I had an experience while attending a conference at a hotel that I still can’t wrap my mind around: a stranger called me “Skinny Minnie.”

I had just finished a sweaty, refueling one-hour workout at the hotel’s fitness room and decided to finish my morning with breakfast at the lobby buffet (before I took my shower!)

“Wow,” the waitress said to me, “I wish I had the chance to work out too. Then I could be a Skinny Minnie like you are!” I chuckled nervously and thanked God for the reminder not to go too crazy on the buffet food. The reason for my sense of being uncomfortable, though, was that I have never been called “Skinny Minnie” in my life and didn’t know what to do with the label. I was stunned, actually, particularly since the waitress was small-to-average sized but still asked me for advice. I didn’t get it.

What I do get is that I look and feel better than I did before. It has been years since I’ve stayed thinner, but I am still getting used to this new ‘me’. I even look normal and blend in; I find I’m almost invisible as an average-sized person. But to be set apart as Skinny Minnie was unsettling; it was as uncomfortable as the time I couldn’t ride the kiddie amusement park ride with my son because I was too large. As for the waitress: I was no smaller than she was. Her comment to me was simply a reflection of her own perspective on how she looked and felt, not how I looked. No matter what our size, it’s the size we have of ourselves in our minds that seems more tangible than the view in the mirror. Our mind’s mirrors are distorted with years of insecurities, expectations, and self-esteem all wrapped around the outer layer of our selves that contain the sense of who and what we are, regardless of our outward appearances. We want to separate the physical from our intellectual and emotional selves, but we cannot. As I continue to wander down the path to self-identity as an average-sized person, I continue to blend the various parts of myself into a complete being.

Despite being uncomfortable, I am grateful for the “Skinny Minnie” comment; it gave me the chance to share my story of losing over 100 pounds with that waitress. It gave me a chance to share my faith journey, and to remind her that she was beautiful just as she was. I find it interesting to have the opportunity for a conversation simply because my t-shirt was sweaty. Time for a shower.

Tip of the week:
Taking the time to work out on a regular schedule, despite the time of year or vacation plans, is key for my sanity and commitment to being healthy. Endorphins aside, I always feel better in so many ways after my workouts. When I don’t feel like starting my workout, I remember it feels better when I’m finished, and with that reminder it’s easier to begin.

No comments: