On “owing” folks an explanation.

Wednesday morning, I taught my normal cycling class, and because my office is right upstairs from where I teach, I made my way up to the the wellness floor eventually.  I sent emails, sipped water (second job these days), meandered in and out of talking to the trainers, all while I waited for my 10 am meeting to start.

A gentleman who I’ve known from my time at Whole Foods and just from around town, who’s always been a little more familiar to me than I would like, point-blank asked me…

“Do you have something to tell me?”

Mentally, I thought, “are you my probation officer,” but I kind of blankly stared at him until he continued.

“I didn’t know if you were pregnant or if you had stopped working out.”

What. The. Fuck.

Similarly, two nights later, I was actually running on a machine, and a really sweet woman pointed at my belly, and asked “what’s that?”

Now, I don’t fault anyone who wants to tell the world exactly what’s going on with them, and when.  If you want to tell folks you’re pregnant the second it happens, if you want to point out that you’ve gained a little weight and you’re feeling weird about it, or if you want to share that you’ve lost, that’s cool.

But along those same lines, should you want to tell some folks, and not others (like strangers whose name you’re not sure of), that’s okay too.  You’re allowed.  It’s your info to share with whomever you see fit.

Because you don’t owe them any sort of explanation about your body.  They’re not your doctor.  Your best friend.  Or someone with a vested interest in your health.  Or your probation officer, as I thought when Mr. Too-Familiar commented.

I think what we all can learn about this is to pay better attention to the comments we make about other peoples’ bodies.  Surely, it’s one thing if you are any of the aforementioned parties with a vested interest in a person’s well-being.  But it’s certainly another if you’re “just curious,” and fishing for your own curiosity.

As a person in wellness, I’m sensitive to this on both sides.  People I interact with on a daily basis lose weight.  They gain it.  I’ve worked with folks who’ve had bariatic surgery.  Folks who’ve transformed their bodies through running.  And folks for whom the struggle to reconcile their relationship with food has been a challenge, and who’ve fallen off the wagon and gain tremendous amounts of weight.

In either case, we as not entitled to this information simply because we’re curious, and the best way to approach this is, if you would like to ask, ask if the person would mind, with the full knowledge that they may not, or that they may not want to talk about it.

Anyways, Happy Friday – here’s hoping that nobody points at your belly, and asks, “what’s that!”

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