Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Playing the Game.

Wednesday last week, there I was at the hotel with the little fridge chockablock full of healthy foods I was craving after the glut of restaurant food the preceding few days. And yet, come five o'clock, I wasn't in the mood for the dinner I had purchased the evening before (re-heatable fettuccine and chicken breast) from the supermarket deli. I had a hankering for tortilla/corn chips and mozzarella slices. So, back I drove to the shop and got what I was really wanting to eat. (A one pound bag of the chips was the smallest I could find. Why is that? Don't people just snack on the chips, does it always have to be a party-sized bag?)

Also feeling like I might want some chocolate, the idea of choc-almond clusters had entered my brain, I walked down that aisle. Imagine my surprise when there on the shelf was several different bars of varying sizes of Scharffenberger Chocolate. WOOHOO! I grabbed myself a one ounce bar and called Alaskaboy to see if he wanted one. He did, so I grabbed him one too.

After pondering also grabbing some salsa for the chips, but realising I only wanted the plain chips, I headed off to the checkout. There, right in front of the cashier but behind the card reader, I saw a display box of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Alaskaboy loves them, and hadn't had one for years, so I asked the girl to ring one up for me also.

She explained how she'd been getting a fellow cashier to ring her up several over the course of her shift and that she wished they weren't right there in front of her face, because she loves them so much. I smiled, and when she commented on the cost of the ScharffenBerger for the size of the bar, I explained that this was actually cheaper than at the usual stores I buy it from and how excited I was to find it here. Then I extolled the virtues of the chocolate experience that is ScharffenBerger as I was signing for the goodies. Especially telling her that the milk chocolate is the best she'll ever be likely to taste.

“Not that you need it anyway.” she said to me.

I blinked once and stood there trying to mentally process if she had just said what I thought I'd heard her say.

Did she just call me fat? She did, she called me fat. She said I didn't need it!

No! Wait! Listen to how she actually said it.It's not you she's saying that doesn't need it, it's HERSELF that she's talking too.

She's just finished telling you that she's got no control of herself around these creme eggs and wishing they'd just go away. She's telling herself that she doesn't need it, but using the plural of you, to include you in the conversation.

OH! Allrighty then, let's practice some of this standing up for ourself stuff.

I smiled, and couldn't believe what came out of my mouth. “I wanted some chocolate, and was so excited when I got to the aisle and saw my favourite chocolate there. I wanted it, so I bought it. And I'm going to enjoy every single bite.” (Something to that affect anyway.)

She stood there with a bewildered look on her face before giving me a nervous half-smile and completing the transaction. I bid her a good evening and left the store.

I felt high as a kite and free as a bird when I walked out into the carpark. But, it wasn't until I'd gotten back to the hotel room and was munching on my mozzarella and chips that I realised what had really happened.

Her confusion wasn't because I hadn't reacted negatively to the potential slur, but because I had refused to play the game.

You all know what I'm talking about. The apologies. The admitted guilt. The cover-ups. The words, actions, and behaviours we all use to excuse our eating of 'forbidden' foods. The mind games we all agree to play to allow us to eat foods we, or others, think we shouldn't be allowed to have. I didn't play along and say “yeah, I shouldn't be having it, but I can't help myself.” I stood up and owned up to my desire for chocolate without any negative connotations connected to that want. I didn't even sound like a “fat chick” saying “screw you all, I'll eat what I want and you can't make me eat healthy.” All I did, was calmly admit that I had a desire for a particular food, and that I was satisfying that desire.

I didn't even play the all-access-ultimate-backstage-pass-to-a-chocolate-free-for-all, PMS. It didn't even enter my mind to do so. Yet, I can't count the amount of times I've “pardoned” my behaviour by playing that card before, even when I wasn't in the throes of PMS.

Even if the girl had meant to hurt or wound me and my first impression had been the correct one, as I'm sure there will come times when people WILL say it to be hurtful, then it's still HER problem. Not mine. I've stepped off the diet merry-go-round. I've dropped the hot potato. Tilted the pinball table. Removed my blindfold and called the bluff.

I refuse to play the game any longer.

4 Nibbles:

kathrynoh said...

I always think it's strange when people comment on other people's food/bodies etc. It's not really manners, is it?

Good on you for saying your piece. It really is a game.

Marshmallow said...

Bravo, Kada! How awesome that you kept your cool and didn't throw a stereotypical OMG DID YOU JUST CALL ME FAT tantrum. You are a legend!

Kada said...

No, it's not really manners. I always wonder how those people would feel if someone said their own words back to them, or to their child, how woudl they feel then? Pretty damn awful I'd suspect.

Funny thing is, I know whenever I start judging other people, it's usually because of a hang up of my own.

A game indeed, that most of us play from the minute we're born.

Kada said...

Not a legend. :P Just lucky enough that in that moment I could be aware of what was going on.
I bet there's times I miss it completely or assume there's more there than what's actually said. It balances out in the long run, I'm sure!

I was impressed that there was no sulking though. I remember how I've reacted in the past to things like that. {shudder}