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Monday, May 30, 2011

Pete Townshend and Fat Girls: What Do We Have in Common?

What is it like to live “behind the eyes” of a fat girl? What do we see? What do we feel? What is it like to walk in our shoes every day?

The classic song “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who really answers the negative aspect of this question. It’s quite a downer, a very sad song about a man who feels cut off from the world, suppresses his emotions (especially his anger), and yearns for someone to just show him a little kindness. Unfortunately, that’s the way we fat girls feel a lot of the time, and Pete Townshend’s lyrics really hit the nail on the head as far as what it’s like to be us (change a couple of the words around and he really could be singing our song):

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
No one knows what it’s like
To be hated, to be fated
To telling only lies.
But my dreams they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance that’s never free.
No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings like I do
And I blame you!
No one bites back as hard on their anger
None of my pain and woe can show through.
But my dreams they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours only lonely
My love is vengeance that’s never free.
When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool.
And if I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat.
No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes.

We definitely feel hated – and fated – sometimes. We tell lies a lot. We expect to get hurt. When someone makes a comment or does something that hurts us, how often do you lie – either to yourself or the other person – that it didn’t really hurt you? How many times has someone asked you, “How are you doing today?” And you feel like shit, but you say, “I’m great!” Granted, this can be the case for anyone, fat or thin, but I think we have a tendency to cover up our feelings more than average. We’re told that we’re “weak” because of our supposedly insatiable appetites, and if we let ourselves appear weak by expressing our emotions, we appear even weaker – so we keep our mouths shut.

Some of us do spend very lonely hours alone … and very often, our anger at the way we are treated does build up to a feeling of vengeance, like you just want to unleash all that pent-up frustration on someone, anyone! We blame others … we blame society, the stranger on the street who looked at us a certain way, or a lover, friend or family member who did us wrong, and we hold on to that blame rather than forgive and move on.

And a lot of us do yearn for that smidgen of kindness from someone else, that feeling you get when someone not only accepts you, but who expresses their love in even the smallest way … we want it, but we’re afraid to open up and receive it, because of past betrayals.

This is no way to live your life.

Sooner or later, we have to decide that we are in control of our own lives, and that it simply doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If we let it matter, they are the ones in control of our emotions. We are allowing them to be the “thermostat”, if you will, the regulator of our body’s reactions, whether it’s being hot with anger or cold with resentment.

Be your own thermostat. Learn how to keep your mental temperature at a warm, comfortable level. Whenever you start to notice the little red “needle” of your emotions going either up or down, take a deep breath, and remind yourself: You are in control of how you react. No one can make you go either too far up or too far down without your cooperation.

Let’s all start singing a happier Who tune: like this one!

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