Sunday, May 13, 2007

Response to "Paz"

I opened my email this morning to find that someone had posted a response to last week's blog about my difficulties with weekend nights. It reads:

Get over yourself, Frances.Get over your rampant narcissism.Get over self-pity. Get over self-centeredness. Get over the load of anger and resentment you are carrying (and) feeding. Get over diets, expectations and secret grandiosity display, get over whining, get over your wounds and your boss, get over your pounds, get over the fatty in you that you mercilessly mock in others. GET OVER ALL OF IT and GET A LIFE, for Heaven's sake.You are SO boring.

Posted by Paz at 5:33 AM

My first reactions to this post continue to include hurt & mystification: why would someone write something so hurtful? Certainly there are blogs I haven't read a second time because I'm annoyed by them. Why not simply stop reading mine?
Then I remembered that I had received emails from a "Paz," which, although the name cannot be an unusual one in all of Blogland, might reveal something about the post-er who has set him/herself up Emotional Judge of me. I found messages that are interesting in light of the above, suggestions of a number of websites for various therapies & personality types.

I believe "Paz" has my good in mind, that s/he believes I would be better off if I stopped studying myself. That's the evidence I conclude by tying the two writers into one.

On the other hand...

I've spent my life cringing under the labels ascribed to me &, yes, half a century of obesity has crushed a great part of spirit & confidence. I ascribed some pretty awful labels to myself because of my obesity. Lazy. Out-of-control. Ugly. Unloveable. Taking up too much space...

Do I hate fat people? No. I fear them. I reserve hate for myself.

Am I over my ex-boss? No. She ascribed some of those same labels to me &, as ingrained as they already were, I find I have to battle them for too many minutes out of my waking & nonwaking days.

& now I have labels of narcissism, self-pity, & -- oh, too many to retype here when I need to get on with my life.

So let's leave it at I'm fucking sick & tired of having labels stuck on me with pins, OK?

In the spirit of being sick & tired of this, & of my propensity to believe them, I'm going to stand up for myself. I don't do this very often, so bear with me & please know that I don't walk around my world in a state of superiority for what I'm about to say. In point of fact, I try as hard as I can to disown what I'm about to say.

I wrote a book. Many copies have been sold. Three years after publication, I continue to get emails thanking me for writing it, for "outing" the experiences I detailed in a way that made many people feel less like freaks. There are people who have ventured further into weight loss & recovery because of my book.

I began a blog & confessed in it that I've gained weight, how I gained it, what I'm doing or trying to do about it, what my failures are, what my triggers are. A lot of people have responded & formed a community online in which they detail their experiences of fat, thin, food, eating, weight loss, weight gain, relapse & their hearts to each other. Some of those people have found consolation in the fact that I fucked up. Some have even found courage because I fucked up & am willing to try again & talk openly about it.

I am an open woman. I don't hide behind the anonymity of the internet. My email address is on my website, as are pictures of me as I am. When I know what I feel (which isn't consistent or even frequent), I will tell you. When I have money to loan or books to give away, I do. If I know you a little, or know someone who knows you, I have an extra futon. I'm a people-pleaser & that's both a good & a bad thing.

I'm smart. I have talent. I have the diseases of compulsive overeating & chronic depression. I have used my intelligence & talent to examine my diseases & dis-eases. Part of my talent is that a lot of people find me easy to talk to, a safe & understanding listener to women's issues around the body & food. They have found me encouraging not only of undertaking the journey, but of finding the story of it & telling it.

As open as I am in my writing, very few people know what my daily life is like -- I don't have time for it & it's not as important as saying that Saturday nights are hard for me. But in my daily life, I walk down the streets of my neighborhood & dogs jump at my right pocket, I chat casually with a half dozen people whose names I don't know, I photograph what's going on & some of those photos get used by others in public ways. I have an eye for the odd & the detail. I have affection for the dogs who have labeled me "easy mark" & "generous" & "playful". A number of humans like my jokes, like my laughter at their jokes, like that I love their dogs, like that I ask how they're doing or tell them their frock is pretty. Business owners & clerks like me because I thank them for good work.

I am, in short, aware.

So here are the labels I'm putting on myself today in stung reaction to those Paz has made me a donkey with.

Honest. Brave. Analytical. Smart. Willing to try, & try again. Funny. Open-handed & open-hearted. Talented. Observant. Pictorial. Affectionate. Generous. Curious. Supportive. Learning. Insightful. Appreciative.


& Paz --



The Coz said...

Go Frances!!! By the way you need to add "articulate" to your list. I admire you that because it's something that is difficult for me.

I'm very proud of you for standing up for yourself. It's a sad fact that there are people in this world who are just plain mean-spirited and Paz appears to be among them.

Who needs to get a life? Well I think someone who has nothing better to do than read a blog he or she finds "SO boring" and then write mean comments in reply. That sounds like a very sad existence to me.

Your writings have inspired and helped many. If Paz is not a fan, let him go read elsewhere.

FunnyBits said...

you inspire me to be a better person, a better friend, a better citizen.

nuff said.


Unknown said...

I am hoping, like you said, that Paz really does have your best interests at heart and is just trying to do the "tough love," thing, but what is tough about writing a nasty comment and then ducking into the shadows? I don't trust someone who hits-and-runs with mean stuff but doesn't want to be part of a conversation (no email address, hiding his/her profile).

I think you're wonderful.

Vashta Narada said...

I thought the whole point of blog writing was to be introspective, navel gazing, self-absorbed, whatever you want to call it. For me, my blog is the one place I can drone on and on about myself and not focus on other people and their needs.

So what if you choose to whine on your blog? It's YOUR blog! If some reader doesn't like it, they don't have to come back! Simple as that.

To reply with a superior, judgmental and name-calling post is really uncalled for, even if they thought it was the "kick in the pants" you needed.

You are brave in your honesty and your willingness to expose your flaws and imperfections. You're a talented writer and a kind hearted soul. I'm glad you know that.

Lori G. said...

I think you responded well to what "Paz" wrote without resorting to name calling, etc.

It's more than what "Paz" could do. There's tough love and then there's just a smarmy know-it-all attitude pretending to be tough love. I think "Paz" is the latter. Name-calling and hiding behind an anonymous profile certainly doesn't reflect well on her/him.

How much weight has "Paz" gained, lost, and kept off? How many friends has "Paz" helped or talked to with problems? And does "Paz" have a life if this blog is so boring yet s/he reads it? If this is "tough love," perhaps Paz would like to share his/her blog and let us judge accordingly.

No one is perfect. It's also not very easy to share imperfections, flaws, mistakes, etc. while trying to find a balance in your life. You do this and you have encouraged a lot of other people to share their stories. You're talented, kind, funny, and a thousand other compliments. Are you perfect? Sorry, nope. But then none of us are perfect either. That's the way of the world. I hope you shrug off that negative post and remember all of the good ones.

Debra said...

It is completely mysterious why someone would choose to reach and slap someone, at least until one realizes that our society is chock full of narcissisticly impaired individuals full of rage waiting in the weeds for any suitable target. Interesting that narcissism is the charge that gets leveled at you, Frances.

One can only pray for a person like Paz who not only has an over-abundance of unexpressed hostility but is so fearful of retaliation that he/she has to hide behind the cloak of anonymity that the internet seems to offer.

Yet, whatever drives Paz, we are left to deal with the feelings he or she engenders in us -- the urge to fight back, the urge to feel shame, the urge to agree or disagree, to ruminate, to get back. I sometimes ask myself, why can't I just walk away from people like that? The urge to do something in response to Paz is too great, I guess.

Many years ago, Idi Amin (!) of all people, said this in response to a query about why he doesn't answer reporters' questions. He said, "I don't have to answer to every dog that barks."

Maybe, neither do we?

Bea said...

Just a notion here. I think people who write, observe. Everything. They then write to share their observations. About everything. I think this gift is bred in the bone. We write about ourselves because we observe ourselves. This frequently drives the non-observers nuts. "Selfish" is the crushing label I continually try to battle out from under. Observant is what and who you are. Paz looks to be a non-observer...(hee,hee). Every butterfly you notice and comment on, is a waste of time for herm. "Get a life." Farts. What else is writing other than being immersed up to your arse in it? The road you are chosing is making all the difference.

Bea said...

..."choosing." Where is the spellchecker when you need it?

Anonymous said...

You get a lot of anonymous cheers on your blog, too! Here's one.

Cindy said...

My gut reaction is that Paz is simply somewhat of an a-hole. That's all I can say, I tried to think of something else but I keep coming back round to that so I had to say it. I think you are fabulous.

Laura N said...

I hated reading what Paz had to say about you. It could be said about all of Us. It was mean and uncalled for.

I am so proud of what you had to say in response. You ARE all those wonderful things Frances, and you amazingly share yourself with others and I am proud and thrilled to call you a friend!