Fat empowerment: follow-up

My pal and I got together this afternoon and had a long heart-to-heart. We cried a little. We drank iced tea (me) and diet coke (her). We remain friends, another friendship storm weathered.

Her dinner date texted this morning and asked her out for a second date. He has a boat and is taking it out on the lake Sunday and invited her to join him. Freak out ensued – does that mean she has to wear a bathing suit? – but she accepted.

The date itself, the unexpected follow-up invitation – the whole experience and our conversation were part of a sobering wake-up for her. Also an initial, tentative call to action. She read my earlier post and felt I was both fair and compassionate, something she wasn’t sure her behavior and snark toward me warranted. My turn to wave my hands in the air, because it doesn’t matter. I myself have been uncharacteristically rude and snarky to an absolute stranger this week, so I am in no position to judge other people’s behavior under unusual circumstances. We each have our own perceptions of events we experience, and what is true for me is not always going to match exactly as true for her.

We agree that self-confidence and self-esteem are good things, that no aspect of life should be the all-or-nothing determination of whether we are successful or if we are happy with the way our whole lives are progressing. A recent term for me – flexibility of mindset – seems to apply here.

We also agreed that our own version of “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be implemented with regard to issues we struggle with and vent about. If she does not want help or suggestions for changing something about her life and lifestyle (i.e., weight, health, fitness), she should not continually complain about gaining weight, the medications she has to take, or how crappy she feels because of choices flying in the face of her doctor’s advice. Nor should she feel as if I am trying to bully or shame her into changing anything about herself if I express my joy about anything health and fitness related. If she tells me I look great and means it, my “thanks, I’ve been working at it” is meant only as my version of a gracious reply, not a critical jab at her personally. I prattle on and on about my better health efforts here; it’s the sole reason why I have and maintain this blog.

As outcomes go, this is a good one. I only hope her resolve to get some professional help with the obstacles in her way continues and she follows through with it.

And … I am not the most terrible friend who has ever walked the earth, nor am I the most tactful and diplomatic. But at least I am not malicious or mean spirited; that’s something. Any concerns I have about evolving into a mean girl can be shelved and revisited on another day.