Another Person's Weight Is Not Your Business
Here's a wild concept: Someone else's weight has nothing to do with you. Lets take a little survey. 1) Are you a doctor helping your patient lose weight with their consent? 2) Are you a conjoined twin? 3) Is your head getting ready to be implanted onto someone else's body? Did you answer "no" to all of these questions? Then guess what? Another person's weight will not ever be any of your damn business.
This weekend Luke, my Mom (reluctantly because she and my Grandmom butt heads), and I took my Grandmom to visit her Brother whom she hasn't seen in about 10 years. She was SO excited and talked about it for months to anyone who would listen. We blocked out the entire weekend, our only real time off together since Luke is always working, to do this for her. We got five hours of sleep, woke up early, and set off on our five hour drive to Virginia. Once we arrived, we were pulling around the corner and noticed him waving us down. We stopped and chatted and he explained what driveway to pull into. My Grandmom rolled up her window and immediately gasped when he couldn't hear her, stating that she couldn't believe how thin he is. Now I'm looking at Uncle Jim thinking... damn, this guy looks great for a 77 year old! He's physically healthy and happy, and he's kind. But other people's weight is very important to her.
I spend a lot of time with my Grandmother. She lives two houses away from me, and I grew up spending most of my time over there. I visit with her a few times a week to see how she's doing, we talk about how everyone is and if anything new is going on, etc. I can't even tell you how many times she digs at other people's weight. Always. She doesn't normally call anyone "fat" directly, but her little hints and digs speak volumes. She rubs a lot of people the wrong way, especially her immediate family. She says unnecessary, unkind things to people completely unprovoked. I've always given her a pass because I know that's who she is as a person, but after this weekend I just snapped and I've had enough. I am probably the only person in our family who sits and spends time with her on a weekly basis. Luke and I will ask her if she needs anything when we're going out to the store, and we'll pick it up for her if she does. We randomly buy things for her and sometimes give her money if she needs it. I help her around the house. Sometimes I take her out to eat to get her out and about since she's no longer working. I try and keep my Mom in line so she doesn't blow up on her because of her little unnecessary jabs. I'm over it.
So I'm sitting there minding my own business at Uncle Jim's kitchen island, catching up on emails and waiting for the moment that we can leave because I have a to-do list a mile long in my head. Her and Luke are talking about MM's article in The Washington Post. She talks about how she likes the blue dress on the page. Grandma then says, completely out of no where and unprovoked, "Karina, I really like the tops you wear, but they're for bigger people so they won't fit me." Cue rubber burning on the pavement after I have mentally slammed on the brakes. I go off. 1) The Free People dresses she's talking about are a size SMALL. Check the god damn tags. Take a look at their website with their models and tell me, is this a plus size store? No, but thanks for insinuating that I have to shop at plus size stores only. 2) Do you say these things to make you feel better about yourself? 3) Why is my weight, my Aunt's weight on her wedding day, the neighbor's weight, the news anchor on Channel 3's weight, the astronaut in the fucking space station's weight ANY of your damn business? It's not!! It's really, really not. I said to her "you really need to watch what you say to people," and she tries to backtrack, saying that she meant people with bigger boobs. Guess what? That's not anyone else's business either! It is exhausting being around someone with this kind of mindset. I walk out of the room and leave her to deal with the drama she has just unnecessarily created, like usual. At the end of the day, she thanked me for putting the time, planning, and money into doing something nice for her by calling me fat.
I have always struggled with my weight, mentally and physically. It's up and down and all over the place. I was born with an underdeveloped thyroid, I only have 10% of mine so I struggle with hypothyroidism (I blame this on the late 80's/early 90's since my Mom smoked while she was pregnant). When I was a Freshman in High School I wanted to start new. I starved myself for 10 days straight. Ten whole days with no food, just water, tea, or whatever else I was drinking. I lost 25 pounds during that week and a half, and my Grandfather was the only one who suspected anything. He said I looked unhealthy, but I was happy. I continued to do this throughout my teenage years, even into my 20's, but that stretch was the longest I've lasted. When I was around 22 I started taking Lexapro for my anxiety, and it made me gain 40 pounds in just a few months. I have struggled to lose weight ever since, even after dropping that medication like it was on fire. I've been a vegetarian for nearly 10 years and a lot of my meals are unintentionally vegan. I'm not big on sweets and you'll never find any prepackaged desserts in my home. I only drink about 5-6 days a month. I walk on the treadmill, rarely drink any sugary drinks, and eat a lot of vegetables. It is hard for me to lose weight, but incredibly easy to gain it. When someone comments on my weight, it triggers me and I'm ready to stop eating again. I just can't help it, my mind automatically goes that route even though I know it's incredibly unhealthy.
About 5 or 6 years ago we were getting ready to go to Ocean City, Maryland to stay at Luke's Grandmother's place with his parents and his sister. He told me that when the four of them were at dinner, they were giving his sister a hard time about her weight. The girl couldn't have weighed more than 130 pounds, and it sent me into panic mode. I would be spending a few days with them at the beach, and I went into starvation mode because of a comment that wasn't even made about me. When I was 19, I was walking down the street to my Grandmom's house, and my 176 year old neighbor caught me outside and said "what happened to you? You used to be so thin and pretty." I was probably about 145 pounds at the time, which is where my weight was comfortable and didn't really fluctuate. I'll tell you, I held a grudge against that woman until she died. I wouldn't even go to her funeral. I don't know what it is about the older generations, but they honestly think another person's weight is their business and they go blabbing their mouths about it.
Repeat after me: Someone else's weight is not, and will not ever be my business. You never know what that person is struggling with, and your unkind and unnecessary jabs are not ever needed or wanted.
Sometimes You've Just Gotta Brag
Luke is a massive part of my life. And when I say "massive" I basically mean he is my whole life, and there's nothing wrong with that. I have my work, my family, maybe one friend (lol), my hobbies, etc. But he's the person that's always there for me unconditionally and I never get sick of him. I'm missing him a whole bunch today while he's at work so I'm just going to write a little bit about what's on my mind. Ps; Sorry about the 3 year old photo, we haven't taken new pictures in forever.
Luke and I just celebrated our 7th anniversary, and our 1st anniversary of being married is coming up in a little less than a month. The past 7 years of my life have been the best, better than I could have ever imagined. We've grown up together, learned from one another, and I have learned to love someone more than I ever knew was possible. I'm not always good at showing it - I'm not too touchy-feely, it's hard for me to express emotions sometimes, and I'm really sassy and sarcastic so I tend to pick on the people I love the most. Luke is the absolute opposite, and I think that's why we work perfectly together. Relationships are nothing but compromise, and it's good to have someone balance you out. I am not exaggerating when I say that I would not be okay with being on this planet without him. It's just not an option for me, and I know in other people's minds that probably sounds insane, but it's true. He is that important to me.
I have watched him grow into the most amazing person over the past 7 years, the last three especially. Luke is a person who knows what he wants, what he's capable of, and how to make things happen. People have tried to bring him down and it has never, ever stopped him. I think I admire that the most. He has been told that he was throwing his life away by leaving college early. He has been called the most horrible names you could ever imagine by people who were supposed to be there for him. He has been told that he owes people for the life he was given - yes, that he actually owes someone for being born (it blew my mind too). Yet all of those things only pushed him further towards his goals and I am nothing but thankful for it. He is strong, smart, caring, honest, and accomplished. This year alone he has been promoted three times, how amazing is that? He's now a Senior Software Engineer at 23 years old.
My family has never had a lot of money. My Grandparents had 5 children and they grew up with the basics in life, but nothing more. My Mom was a single mother and my Dad always paid his child support, but it was never enough to fully support a child. I was always aware of our financial situation, I knew what we could afford and what we couldn't. Since Luke started working, I haven't had to worry about money and I only work because I choose to. He is amazing, and I don't think I'll ever get used to not having financial worries at the back of my mind 24/7. The company he works for is generous and forward-thinking and I am forever grateful to them, they have been such a blessing to our lives. I don't know anyone who loves their job more than Luke does, and I don't know anyone who deserves it more than him. Don't get me wrong, I know that absolutely anything can be taken away in an instant. But we are happy, healthy, thinking of the future, and enjoying our lives together. I couldn't ask for anything better.
Sending Photos Back Home
I spend a lot of time in antique stores, it's something Luke and I do for fun on the weekends (not something you hear often from 20-somethings). We're always on the hunt for cool finds! I had never collected anything in particular until recently when I started a cabinet card/antique photo collection. I've always been drawn to these little pieces of the past, wondering who the people in the photo were and what their lives must have been like. It's rare that the photos are labeled with names, most of them are blank with forever anonymous faces staring back out at you.
A couple of weeks ago Luke and I were at one of our favorite antique stores, the Antique Marketplace in Downtown Hammonton, New Jersey. I had never found old photos there before, but Luke spotted a box with a bunch them so I stood there for a while looking through them all. I found a few that were labeled with names that grabbed my attention. Someone long ago had carefully labeled the names of her aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents on these turn of the century photos. They were of the Keith family who lived in Vineland, New Jersey in the late 1800s through the early/mid 1900s. A little idea hit me, so I bought three of them and took them home to research. After a quick search on Ancestry, I was able to find a living relative of this family who had passed such a long time ago. I decided to reach out thinking it was a long shot and it's likely the person would think I'm a scammer or a stalker, but maybe this person would like to know what some of their ancestors looked like. That's when I connected with Paula! She lives in Georgia, and she was pleasantly surprised by my message. I sent her some pictures of the photos I purchased and she expressed to me that she'd like to have them, so off they went! I went back to the same antique store the following weekend and bought the rest of them, nine more in total. Paula is absolutely thrilled to have these photos returned to her family, and I'm so happy I was able to find her and send them her way.
I've grown oddly attached to this little family. Amasa Keith (pictured with the big mustache), the head of the family, was married to Henrietta Wells. They came to Vineland from New York along with their six children, four of which made it to adulthood. Amasa was a shoe shop clerk, a grocery store clerk, and a book keeper at a bank in his later years. He had three beautiful daughters named Minnie, Joanna, and Florence. The girls are in most of the photos, all very well dressed. I can't get over the fashion of these days! I believe that Minnie was the only one of the children that didn't marry, I found her on 30 years worth of census records working and living with a family as their servant. Florence lived the longest out of everyone, she passed away in 1968 at 88 years old. Most of the family is buried here in New Jersey.
Paula's most recent message to me was so kind, she said "you probably don't even know how special the acts of kindness that you display are, keep being who you are because it's people like you that shape the world into a better place, one act at a time." How sweet is that?! I didn't go into this expecting anything. I wasn't even sure I'd get a response, but I'm glad I was able to do a good little deed for someone purely because if the roles were flipped, I would want someone to do the same for me. Whenever I go antiquing from now on I'm going to keep an eye out for more photos with names written on them. Hopefully I'll be able to reunite more people with these long lost treasures.