they try so hard

One of the things I get here, in the community in which I now live, is a spiritual nurturer. The nurturer is like a therapist, but with a spiritual (rather than a psychological) approach to healing. We talk about the same things you’d talk about in therapy, but we also talk about God. (For example, today I described how I “wore out” a former friend of mine who helped me through my depression several years ago. My nurturer, Carol, said that it sounded like I was trying to fill a God-shaped hole with a person; no wonder he couldn’t bear the weight of what I was asking of him.)

When all the students first arrived here, we spent a week or so getting to know the members of the staff who were available as nurturers. We filled out a form, saying who we would be comfortable working with and who we would most like to work with. The woman with whom I was assigned to work was not among my first choices (I’ve grown to appreciate her more since then; I’m very satisfied). The woman who was my first choice, Mary, was a student here last year and stayed on as a member of the staff.

Ok, that’s all background. The point is, Mary is a very sensitive and loving person.

One day, after we’d been doing some work together (beekeeping! no shit.), I mentioned that I needed a tailor, to hem some jeans. She told me that another staff member was a seamstress and could help me out; she’d helped Mary when she had to hem some Armani pants she found at a Goodwill. She said “They’re a size eight but I can just squeeze them on and by God I wanted to own a pair of Armanis!” We laughed about all our experiences with jamming ourselves into clothes that just don’t fit, and then I told her about fillyjonk’s “To hell with tiny pants!”

This led to a conversation about fat acceptance. She was pleased for me and proud of me, I guess, and totally supportive. She so wanted to be on my side. She told me about her friend, who was “large,” and how she once confronted her and told her that “the most unattractive thing about her was that she thought she was unattractive.” She said that when she was younger and a skinny little thing, men would tell her that they liked a woman with some meat on her bones. She told me that most men liked bigger women. Everything she said was intended to bolster me, but instead it felt a little insulting, as if the only reason fat is painful is because of how men respond to it, as though if I just found a man who appreciated me I wouldn’t worry about my body any more. I didn’t say anything to her about it. She meant well. But it made me feel a little less close to her, a little less disappointed that I wasn’t working with her as a spiritual nurturer.

4 responses to “they try so hard

  1. It’s interesting how many women who are amazing and wise in so many ways have huge blind spots around this stuff, isn’t it? And by “interesting” here I mean “heartbreaking” of course.

  2. *hugs*

    Sometimes you’re not in a place to hear where she’s coming from. But yes, you could tell her that it’s not about men’s reaction, it’s about self-acceptance. :)

  3. Eep – hit submit too soon – only tell her that if it’ll make *you* feel better :)

  4. If she didn’t mean it as an insult, don’t take it that way. She can’t help the way she’s been programmed to think by our society any more than the rest of us. *hug*

    Beekeeping? Seriously? I’ve always wanted to try that.

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