Thursday, March 1, 2012

Personal Space

I was going to title this post “Attention Whore” but I realized that people would immediately get the wrong idea about what I am trying to say, so a title change was definitely in order!  Personal space is more appropriate because I ultimately realized that is my issue.

I know when anyone loses a significant amount of weight, people notice.  Some people say nothing about it but there are some who say too much.  Before it is misunderstood, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the positive comments and acknowledgments.  I am glad so many people are positively supporting my journey and offering encouragement.  Some days I really need it even if I don’t express that need.  A lot of my personal space issue is well…personal so let me explain.

I am an intensely private person, always have been.  Writing is a way to express what I feel but in person, I tend to keep it close to the chest.  People who have become my friends have been friends for a long time and it took a while to build up that level of trust.  I think that part of the weight gain was an effort to keep people at arm’s length.  After all, most people overlook fat people.  Don’t believe me?  Just read this article or this one that discusses fat discrimination.  

Being invisible suited me.  I’m still working on what I was hiding from but at the time, I didn’t care.  This is why the attention the weight loss has bought me is disturbing.   I’m used to being invisible or just ignored.  My very public and noticeable change has bought on very public commentary.  Like I said before, most of it is positive but some of it is very intrusive.  While I don’t have a problem with discussion the fact I had surgery, there are details that, unless you are a close, personal friend, you have no business knowing or asking.

 I realize that some people feel that since you are undergoing such a very noticeable change in the eyes of the world, they feel that they have license to ask questions.  There have been some very respectful questions and I’ve been asked how to go about the process of qualifying for WLS.  However, there have been those other questions like:

“How much weight have you lost?”

“How much do you need to lose?”

“How much did you weight before?”

“What size clothes are you wearing and/or used to wear?”

“What does your husband say about you getting ‘fine’?”

“Did you REALLY need surgery?  Couldn’t you just dieted/exercise/had self control?”

I’m just amazed that people have no concept of personal space, physical or personal.  I know we are living in a more open society, especially with the web making everything accessible, but some things should remain…personal.  Hopefully, anyone who is reading this will understand I love the love but there are things that I won’t discuss.  Everyone is entitled to their personal space and even when we are doing public things, we deserve our private time.


  1. I totally agree with you Karen. We all are entitled to our personal space and I think whatever we are comfortable with discussing is great and what we want to keep private is up to each of us and that needs to be respected.

    Great posting my dear!


    1. Thank you, LuLu! I think I'm more shocked that people who don't even know you that well feel they are entitled to an answer to such intrusive questions! Respect is such a missing element today!

  2. Well Written! Well Done! Karen, I 100% completely and totally agree with you! I absolutely hate feeling like a side-show attraction when people start obsessing about my weight-loss... which is the reason why I have kept it as secret as possible, especially at work. When people come at me with questions like "How much weight have you lost?" I answer them with a question "How much money do you owe on your credit cards?" When they look at me with a dopey look on their face, I say "None of my business is it." Then I walk away.

    1. Can I just say that I love your response! I don't think most people even understand how personal that question can be. Yes, you saw me fat and now you see me losing but just encourage me and keep the personal questions to yourself! I agree with you, I hate feeling like the side-show! I know I can no longer hide what I've done but gracious, just say I look great and leave me alone!

  3. I am *SO* glad I've finally found someone who feels the same as me. I'm 3 weeks pre-RNY and I know this is going to be one of the most annoying things to me. Around 4 years ago, I lost around 70lbs and everybody in the office - I work in a large software company - felt the need to comment.

    When I've mentioned this to friends as a concern for this time round, they are always like "why can't you just accept the compliments that people are interested" but don't get the personal space issue! You hit the nail on the head with this post (and I also like the credit card response above! Must remember to use that!)

    1. It is so annoying! I try to remember most of them mean well, but I just want to shout "Step back and mind your own business!" I love the credit card response too and I'll keep that in my personal files!

      I don't think people who haven't been through significant weight loss truly understand this especially when we have expended so much energy to try to hide the weight gain. (as if! LOL) There is a real fine line between complements and just plain nosy and most people don't know the difference.