Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ignorance is not bliss

I hate Facebook fights. Or debates. Or discussions. Whatever. I hate them all.

I've always been cautions and mindful about what I post because of my job and my workplace can/will monitor postings. It would be unfair, though, to use that as the only reason. I just don't think it's the place to be righteous or political, and it bothers me when people post things that they think are inherently right or wrong.

This morning, a Facebook "friend" (who is really just an acquaintance) posted about a 407-pound woman who was not allowed to fly home to New York City from Hungary and died as a result. In this person's eyes, the fault was not with the airline but everyone else - her doctors, her husband and herself. This person argued, in a somewhat long status update, among other things:
  • The woman's weight equaled more than eight 50-pound suitcases. Passengers with that much baggage get denied or charged very high penalties, so why should she be any different? 
  • The woman's husband was irresponsible and pathetic because he watched his wife become super obese and did not do anything about it. As the person said, she didn't get to be 400 pounds overnight.
  • Doctors allowed her to get overweight and should be sued, not the airline.
When I read this post, I was infuriated. The "her" in the post could have easily been my mom. In the person's eyes, I should have sued the doctors for her death. She should have been charged extra for nearly anything because of her weight. Above all, though, I could be responsible for my mother's death because I watched her steadily gain weight and die at 600 pounds.

And I'm not.

I did not stand quietly as my mother gained weight. I had countless arguments with her about her health and size, causing us not to speak for weeks on end. I refused to bring her things that she didn't need, even if it resulted in tantrums. If ever she showed even the tiniest ounce of interest in losing weight, I did all that I could to encourage it. I never went as far to call her doctors but the thought crossed my mind time and time again.

The doctors, though, would have told me the one thing I knew deep down: you can't make someone lose weight. You can yell at her. You can try to control her diet. You can give her a gym membership or buy her DVDs. You can set a good example. Unless she wants to hear you or follow the guidelines or use the tools, she will not lose weight. She will continue to tune you out, find ways to eat what she wants and use other health issues as excuses for not exercising.

This person was ignorant to all of that. It's much easier to point a finger, to shun, to live on a high horse of being "normal." It's much easier to say, "Why didn't you do anything? Why didn't someone do something?" and believe people indulged her and enabled this woman to the point of super obesity. It's much easier to believe that the "her" wasn't even a person, not even worthy of consideration or compassion.

I desperately itched to express that, to share my story in a comment, but I knew it would be the kind of Facebook discussion that I so despise. I don't need to be right. Or righteous. I know my story, and I know her truth. I don't need more.

Well, except to click unfriend.



    This is a lesson that applies in so many varieties, and one I try so hard to teach my kids. I can teach the correct choice, but it is up to them to make it. I cannot make them do the right thing, I can only help them realize what the right thing IS.

    you rock. in so many ways :)

  2. YES!

    I learned this lesson the hard way a few weeks ago. Ended up with a "friend" from high school yelling at me in all caps, when I was sincerely just trying to share my side.


    "I don't need to be right. Or righteous. I know my story, and I know her truth. I don't need more."<- Love this.

  3. Your perspective is a good one. Thanks for sharing!

  4. The ignorance of some people on facebook has caused me to contemplate deactivating my account on numerous occasions. The fact that a lot of people use it to get on their soapbox and tell everyone the way it is (according to them) is ridiculous. Way to be the better person and just unfriend ignorance instead of getting into a facebook war, which is just an argument that no one can win. I also hate getting into these "wars" and decided a few weeks ago to do a bit of "spring cleaning" on all of my social media accounts. I even deactivated a few. Some people have no idea how their opinions affect others. Way to rise above Kim!

  5. Thanks for sharing! Did you unfriend them or change your settings so you don't see them anymore in your feed?

  6. Unfriended. I didn't want to see what other people wrote in response. The person was a friend of a friend, whom I'd met a couple times but haven't seen in years.

  7. Hi there,

    different topic- although this post topic is intruiging for sure! -thanks for the pregnancy fitness tops tips! ;-)

  8. Yay for unfriending! I would've been really angry too. I made the mistake a few months ago and got into a Facebook war with someone...unfortunately I see them every now and then or I would've deleted them!

  9. Yay!
    I've done this on more than on occasion. I try to ignore some posts that bother me, but others just go way over the top.

  10. why someone feels entitled to have an opinion on anther person's life like that is beyond me. it's harder to not say something but you did the right thing. stuff like this always reminds me to always think before i speak...especially about things i may not really know about.

  11. I hate all the Facebook fighting that I usually just ignore it and don't really "do" Facebook. I agree with you, you can't make someone do something they don't want to do. My father smoked for years and even though we gave him a hard time, would act disgusted and throw out his cigs..he never stopped until he was ready to stop. I always feel that people have an opinion about things they have no experience with. It's easier to say things are wrong when you don't have to experience them.

  12. i read your blog every day. i love it. i save it for when i can open it and enjoy it. i usually don't comment, but i've been in this situation before. on both sides, unfortunately. i, too, was unfriended because of an off the cuff comment i made, which, at the time, i thought was funny/clever. it wasn't in regards to a person's weight, but it was just as insensitive. i was really touched by your comments, and i applaud your decision not to engage in an online pissing match. my friends didn't publicly humiliate me for my stupidity. they took me aside and showed me my thinking errors. i've learned a lot about on-line etiquette, and compassion. i don't know why i felt compelled to tell you all of this, maybe just because it reminded me and i am grateful for that. you are so real and so honest, and it's beautiful. thank you.

  13. Ugh. That sort of FB post would have really bothered me. I just started reading your blog, so I do not know the story with your mom, but I picked up on my bad eating habits from my mom, and to this day, we don't talk about it, and it bugs me... but it's her decision!

  14. I absolutely agree! People assume that overweight people are lazy, all they do is eat, and everyone around them is to be blamed. That is not the case most of the time.
    I truly believe that one should never judge another person. The way a person looks or acts does not tell their story, it's only a little paragraph in the book that is their life. I am an overweight person, and I have struggled with trying to lose weight and keep it off my entire life. I was born a big baby (9.5 lbs), and I have been big my whole life. I'm not a lazy person, and I don't sit around and eat everything in site all day long. Heck, I do Zumba in my office at work on my lunch break!
    Point is, people are just too quick to judge without knowing the whole story.

    Also, I applaud you for all you have accomplished! I don't get to read your blog every day, but on Sunday mornings, when the laundry is going, I sit and I catch up on them! You are definitely an inspiration to me, and I appreciate that more than I can express! Thank you for your inspiration, dedication, & hard work to get where you are now!

  15. I'm sorry that you lost your mother, and I'm sorry that you have to go through those kinds of thoughts due to the ignorance of others.