[CN: Weight loss, surgery, assholery]
I subscribe to a weekly e-mail list that provides creative art prompts for the whole year. One week’s e-mail frivolously lauded weight loss:
“Back in November I had a major surgery. One of the positives about that was that I lost 26 pounds. I have needed to buy a lot of new clothes as a result. Last weekend, I ran out of room in my closet because I was still hanging on to my pre-surgery clothes. In order to bring anymore new things into my closet, I was going to have to let go of what didn't fit anymore........I was going to have to release what was no longer serving me in order to make space for wonderful new things.
“That experience left me in a week of inquiry about other places in my life that I needed to do some releasing. What else could I let go of that wasn't serving me? People, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, stuff.......what needed to go to make room for new possibilities? The best time to do releasing work is during the full moon energy....which is now!”
After hesitating and revising a few times, I sent the artist some feedback:
“Weight loss (and lauding it) is a very serious topic that can easily trigger those who’ve dealt with weight cycling, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders, which are far more common than most know. I'm disappointed there wasn’t a content note at the top of this week’s e-mail to give readers a heads-up. It would have been just as easy to tell the story without going into the weight loss info; it’s common for people to hold onto clothing in older sizes that no longer fit and to need to buy new clothes, no matter whether larger or smaller in either case.”
“M, I don't appreciate your lecture. If you have been triggered by my subject matter I would suggest communicating with your therapist and take steps to self regulate. Attempting to shame me is ineffective and of no value.
“I had most of my stomach removed. The weight loss was secondary. The point of the post was about letting go. Im sorry you missed that. Blessings.”
Since she decided to be a major asshole, I decided it wasn’t worth my time to respond. I wasn’t triggered. My point is that such dialogue is actively harmful to others. I’m sorry you missed that, lady.
A short, fair and dispassionate critique is not ‘an attempt to shame and lecture.’ If I wanted to lecture and shame you, I’d strongly suggest you practice letting go that aggression, self-centeredness, smug attitude, self-righteousness, and ego. But that would be ineffective.
It isn’t fucking about YOU, lady. Oh, wait. You’ve just clarified that this art prompts workshop that you’ve SO generously provided is NOT, in fact, about guiding, inspiring, teaching, or lifting up others or building community—it is only all about you, almighty art guru.
Oh, boy. And then she went and posted this to the Facebook group for the e-mail list subscribers/participants:
"Hey ya'all. A little mercy please. There are occasionally typos and errors in my emails, things that make you uncomfortable, etc. It isn't necessary to email me before dawn to tell me I'm imperfect....I got five today. I already know and I'm ok with that. And you are responsible for managing your emotions if something triggers you. Attempting to shame me or project your shit onto me...Never ok."
I sent the message at 10 a.m. CST, and she responded within minutes. And she generally sends the prompts at 3 or 4 a.m., so I don't know what that is about. But if FIVE people tell you there’s a problem, maybe you should think about the people you’re hurting.
And talk about projection. The irony: it burns us.
You don’t have to put up with people being inconsiderate and deliberately being jerks when asked to think about it. And you probably ought not be giving regular advice about self-reflection that you cannot take.