One of the fittest women I know made a remark the other day that caused me to snort. A relative mentioned that she was afraid this incredibly strong woman was becoming ‘too thin’ and various other remarks that were even less complimentary- and unasked for- about her physique. The fit person was rather perturbed by this, seeing as how she’s been packing on plenty of muscle and has never felt better. I can attest to the fact that she looks bloody amazing. You could bounce a Euro off her arse and catch it a few feet away.
‘Do I look scrawny?’ she asked.
‘No, you don’t,’ I said through gritted teeth ( I was squatting at the time), ‘don’t mind her. Is she normally so pass remarkable?’ ( thank you Granny!)
‘Naw, but she’s pregnant and has put on a bit of weight herself.’
‘Well there you go, pregnant people think every body looks skinny. I’d take what she said with a pinch of salt.’
‘She kept going on about it though, said she was concerned about me.’
She rolled her eyes.
‘Concerned my hole.’ I said, totally in my head though because is does not do to pass comment on the relatives of others. Ever.
I don’t know about any of you, but I have noticed before that there is a certain brand of ‘concern’ that usually goes hand in hand with a touch of ‘the smugs’ and a hint of green eye.
My best friend was gravely insulted from a place of concern once. Heavily pregnant, in the highest of heels and attending a wedding, she was having a blast until she learned that a middle-aged woman of renowned bitchiness had remarked that she was ‘sick looking, even with all that ould make up plastered on her face’. When called on her rudeness, the woman claimed that her observation came not because she was a jealous harpy but because she was ‘concerned’ that my friend might be overdoing it.
When another friend finally broke up with her cheating arse of a boyfriend, all manner of insults were tossed her way under the guise of ‘concern’. It seemed no matter what she did, if she cried, if she spoke of her fears, if she didn’t, she was picked apart by the ‘terribly concerned’, the general jist being she was clearly a bit stupid and needed to be told things she already knew, regularly. Poor woman was terrified to open her mouth lest someone slot another wedge of concern in there. Yep, nothing speaks to concern- and friendship- more than rubbing another’s face in it.
When I piled on weight after short but effective battle with nearly 17 years worth of nicotine addiction, people could not wait to get in my face about my health, all under the banner of concern you understand. Diets were mentioned oh so casually, throw away remarks that could cut to the quick were bandied about willy nilly. ‘You don’t want leave it too late and get too heavy’ I was told once, leaving me to wonder what the cut off point was for ‘too‘ late.
I am currently considering giving up alcohol. I train a lot, see, alcohol and training are a poor mix. I never drink during January anyway out of habit, and I am enjoying the lack of hangovers and the clear headedness. I mentioned this to a person in passing the other day and was hit with a wave of ‘concern’ that I might somehow turn into a dry shite with all the social skills of an amoeba should I undertake this ‘radical’ course of action.
I pondered this for a spell. While it is true that socially most things take place around the pub scene, many things do not. It seems unlikely my lust for life might turn to dust simply because I have ceased to gargle, well, gargle. So where on Earth was this particular ‘concern’ coming from?
Well who knows, all I do know is that every so often someone we love will say something from a place of concern and mean it. But if you’re happy in your nappy, harming no one and getting on with life, sometimes it behooves us to remember that not all concerns are created equal and some concerns are not concerns at all and to those concerned, they can shove it where the sun don’t shine.