Monday, January 22, 2007


Ouch. I read a post this morning at Angry Fat Girlz that reminded me of the times I've gone out of my way to sabotage the weight loss efforts of another.

I think of Cheryl, who lived across the hall from me in 1980. She was a very heavy, socially isolated woman and not someone I'd have become friends with under normal circumstances. We became eating out and flea market buddies due to proximity and shared interest, or was it an ugly need to have someone around to bolster my own fragile self esteem? It's hard to think I could actually have had these thoughts, but I felt vastly superior to her in so many ways. I was relatively thin (for me), prettier, more hip, cool, slick, lots of boyfriends, lots of experience, worldly. I was a snotty little asshole and I was horrified at my own state of fatness ~ 160 pounds ~ and dieted constantly.

The only time I ever saw her start to exercise and control her eating, I went out of my way to ensure that she'd not continue. I offered to pay for lunches out, I baked cookies, I encouraged her to go shopping rather than stick with her exercise plan. What the hell was wrong with me? I hate that behavior now. Was I so miserable then that I needed the failure of another to make me feel better. How utterly pathetic.

I repeated the same kinds of behaviors a few years later with Sherri. I had another very competitive relationship with another Sherry earlier in life. As I'm writing this, I'm looking back and thinking this was a pattern of behavior until I got sober. But wait, after sobriety, there was LeeAnn. Yuck. This is ugly.

So it should be over, yes? And it is, because overt sabotage would never occur to me these days. I encourage everyone I meet to pursue their happy-making path, whatever that might be. And still, when I see someone who's lost a great deal of weight, the light in my soul blinks once, twice, and there's a flush of envy.

An ugly feeling, envy, and again, why? I've lost weight too. Why be envious of another's success? This is a crazy thing and something I'll be thinking through today. I don't like to see this in myself and I'm really unhappy thinking there's any part of me that would revert to sabotage or delight in the failure of another.

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Blogger evilganome said...

We all do a lot of stupid and selfish things when we're young. I know I have done a lot of things I'm not proud of. But you can't spend the rest of your life kicking yourself in the ass for it. You've grown up and recognize it now, think about all the people who never do.

January 22, 2007 7:34 AM  
Blogger jodi said...

i think its human nature to be jealous of what others may have - success at a job, weightloss, marriage, children, etc.... when you become obssessed with it though, that's when you're asking for trouble in the longrun... perhaps looking at these things as goals YOU'D like to achieve is the solution, as well as finding peace within yourself... love yourself first, then others, then things... :o)

January 22, 2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

I don't believe in trying to rid your mind of thoughts you're not very proud of. Rather, I try to pay attention to those thoughts so that I might prevent them from resulting in BEHAVIOR that I'm not very proud of.

Which is exactly what you're doing. What you did before was ... before.

Relax. Be good to you. You deserve it. You know that already. (Right?)

January 22, 2007 1:50 PM  
Blogger jen said...

Hey, I'm jealous every time I read that one of my classmates has a new book or poem out... I think that the envy is natural. I can't control my feelings but I can make sure my behavior is in line with the kind of person I want to be. Sounds like you are doing the same.

January 22, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger Marshmallow said...

I like Jodi's comment - its in our human nature to be jealous and competitive; and in general, humans are a lying, cheating species!

I loved the honesty of this post, it deserves linkage!

January 22, 2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

(Wishing I had the chance to be horrified at my own state at 160, by the way . . . )

Thanks for posting this. I'm in the middle of a difficult weight loss journey and it really helps to read your story. I agree with red7eric - I try to accept and learn from the occasional ugliness inside vs. trying to banish it. And I try to be gentle enough with myself to realize that everyone has some of that inside. I think it's part of the human condition. (Although my personal philosophy doesn't go as far as Marshmallow's in terms of human nature.) Anyway, it helps me to hear about it all -- the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly. Thanks! :)

January 22, 2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger Marshmallow said...

I mean... linkage!

[This is what happens when you have like ten million drafts >_<]

January 22, 2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger angelfish24 said...

I've definitely felt envy over a friends new found wealth or my overachiever friend that is making a 6 figure salary and traveling to exotic destinations. We were all kind of drinking one night and kind of laughed about it but she was saying "don't envy me" but how can you not, it's human nature. But then I realize she paid a price w/ long hours, no children, and lots of years being single. Anyway, the feeling goes away and I can appeciate what I have. Sometimes the grass just always seems greener on the other side.
I think it's good that you are reflecting back and show remorse about what happened long ago and know that we can all change how we act towards others in the future. Don't beat yourself up over it, ok?

January 22, 2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Thanks for your candor on this subject. Just yesterday I was discussing with a newly sober friend why he should resist getting back in touch with his former drinking/drugging buddies and it's because of this very thing. Those who have not yet found their way to sobriety often can't help but envy someone like my friend and try to sabotage his sobriety. I wouldn't be surprised if your change in attitude didn't have something to do with your getting sober. Good for you for being honest about it.
Love your blog, btw.

January 23, 2007 9:38 AM  
Blogger the veggie paparazzo said...

Great, honest post.

January 23, 2007 12:41 PM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

Your honesty astounds me. Thank you for this blog, S-A-B!!

January 23, 2007 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your feelings are human. Your reconsideration of their consequences feels empathetic and mature, as much as any one could expect.

Freddy, P'town

January 24, 2007 11:32 PM  
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