Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The joke is no longer funny

I have made a lifetime of jokes at my own expense.  When you're the "funny fat girl" you easily resort to making a joke at your expense before someone else has the chance.  Most of the time it's not even that they even would but you feel quite literally like the elephant in the room and that myriad of emotions from shame, embarrassment and feeling like you have to apologize for who you are all take over.  I've come up with some good ones over the years.  Tubbalicious is my personal favorite.  About a year into my lifestyle change (God I hate that term) I decided that while my personal zingers made me laugh that there had to be part of me that was taking it to heart.  There had to be a piece of me listening and feeling as fat as I said I was (and let's face it I was (am) but I don't need to remind myself of that and excuse myself for merely existing.  Despite what society may think of me on first glance, I know I'm a pretty awesome person with many talents that many people wouldn't bother to get to know.  I was going to start treating myself that way.

I had a pretty great weekend last weekend and even with the great things, I was feeling kind of frustrated that some parts of my body are just taking forever to catch up with the top of my body.  I whipped out a good one at an opportune time while watching a nature show.  "The rhino is the second largest land mammal" the show said.  "With me being the first" I retorted.  I laughed and the Mr said "Oh stop!"  (His standard answer)  Then I realized I didn't like the way that sounded.  What was once such a commonplace thing to say, now sounded foreign and wrong.  It sounded like a person desperate to be validated that they weren't what they just joked they were.  182 lbs later, I KNOW I'm not that person.  I know I'm doing all I can to change my life and health and those things no longer apply.  They might apply according to others who don't know me but they can suck it.  I refuse to talk to myself in a way I wouldn't talk to my husband or mother.  I instituted that policy 2 years ago and I'm not going back there. 

How about you?  Do you make jokes at your own expense?  How do you think it makes others feel to hear you put yourself down?

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  1. It never occurred to me until this morning that I have never made fun of myself over the years. What I felt then (and continue to feel) was embarrassment and shame over my size and hoped that those feelings could remain my little secret.

    This is crucial knowledge for me as I embark on the next phase of the journey. (I'll be blogging on SP next week.) Thank you so much for writing today!!


    P.S. I think you're a pretty awesome person too!

  2. I never really thought about it. In high school I made myself the butt of jokes, but never about weight. I remember doing it and making people laugh, but I don't remember what any of my comments were. Probably of the "I'm so dumb..." variety. I don't do it now, I tell my kids (students) and my son that if I wouldn't let someone else talk about them like that, why would I let them say the same thing about themselves? I believe that applies to me as well. If I'm having a bad day I'll say "I feel fat and ugly today", but it's not a joke.

  3. I have always been the fat, witty friend. But I'm pretty sure I didn't put myself down. Apparently I was waiting until I lost a bunch of weight before I did that... I don't know what it is, but I almost have a worse body image now, than I did back then. Gigantor, is usually my go to. I don't know what it is, but I' hoping it'll pass.

  4. I used to make tons of jokes at my expense (pun intended), but I have stopped most of the negative self talk and the outward negative talk. I read a blog post (I forget exactly which one) by a girl who said that she stopped the negativity because she asked herself the question "What if my daughter heard me talking to myself this way." After reading that, I thought "I don't need to beat myself up, it's no healthy or fair." So I stopped and started telling myself I am beautiful. Eventually I will believe that, but for now, baby steps.

  5. This is something I need to stop doing to myself. I've caught myself doing it in all aspects of my life and it's just not healthy or appropriate to be doing it.

  6. I do it but only in certain circumstances. If I was meeting someone new, I wouldn't. That would make me feel like the Debbie Downer of the crowd, trying to get attention by being self deprecating.

    But around friends/family, I will crack wise on myself (for any and all things including weight). But it's not in a "woe is me, tell me I'm not fat" kind of way. It's more of a "misery loves company" way (when other folks are making the same kinds of jokes).

  7. I actually have never had a problem with my weight, in that I never 'felt' fat until recently (read - post-baby) and even that is mostly concern about my own health brought on by other members of my family being ill.

    But, I am totally guilty of short jokes, you see - I'm only 5'1" and often was (am) picked on by the rest of the family for my height. So usually I just beat them to the punch. At this point I am perfectly comfortable with my height, but I still think the short jokes are funny!

    It's like the old one-liner, "I may be fat, but you're ugly, and I can do something about the fat!" At least you can do something about the fat - I'm gonna be short whether I like it or not. Luckily, as I said, it's no biggie anymore (pun intended.)

  8. Word mama! Those dang negative thoughts sometimes come out when we least expect it. Those habits die hard and sometimes come out when we aren't even thinking about it. But I think when you see it and recognize it and make a conscious effort to not do those things, it makes a huge difference.

    P.S. Don't be talking about my friend like that! You are amazing and if anyone decides you aren't just by looking at you, they can suck it! But I think you look fabulous and think you should be so proud of how far you have come. No one (not even you!) should be able to take that from you :)

  9. I was always the funny fat friend, but I was also the girl who could beer bong faster than any of the guys! Even though I was overweight confidence was never a problem in high school. I don't remember doing the fat jokes then, but I make sure I get it in now. Hmmm, I wonder if that's what happened to my confidence?

  10. I do not find sarcasm and cruelty funny. I find them hurtful. My husband and his family insult one another by way of greeting. To them this is funny. I find it more like passive aggression and very hurtful.

    When we first got together, people would tell people: The only thing bigger than Missy's ass is her heart. He meant this as a huge (yeah, pardon the pun) compliment, that I was compassionate, generous, kind. He only said that a few times when friends of ours jumped his case about it, inquiring if he had a death wish or what? He was shocked to learn that someone might consider that an insult. I did. It embarrassed me and hurt my feelings.

    So, no, I would not make jokes like that about myself of anyone else. I love the point you made about treating yourself the way you'd treat your husband or mother. Whether one believes the bible or not, there's a lot of wisdom in the verse that says love your neighbor as yourself. I think the reverse holds true, as well. We should show ourselves the same common courtesy we'd extend to our spouse or parents, heck, to our grocery clerk or the mailman even.

  11. Part of this process has been changing how I treat myself, both in taking care of my body and taking care of my spirit. No more funny fat girl jokes for me; if I wouldn't say it about others, it's not right for me to say it about myself.

  12. For me, being fat is a relatively new thing. The majority of my weight gain came after my last bout with cancer. That's not to say I had a lot of healthy habits before then but it definitely got worse afterwards. So it's only been the last 15 years, maybe a little less, that I've been getting bigger and bigger. I'm over 50 so I spent the majority of my life as a fairly normal sized person. For me, the worst isn't how I refer to myself to others, it's what I say to myself that you can't hear. Most of which sounds like it comes off a elementary school playground. I hadn't really thought of how negative they are, I just figured I was being honest with myself. Now I'm rethinking how 'honest' it is to call myself 'Tubbo' when I look in the mirror at the gym. I'm going to have to find something nice to say to that person I see in the mirror!

  13. I don't, but my hubby does as of late. I think he picked it up from the people at work who are super vain and talk about themselves ALL the time and thus, mess with each other and themselves. Anyways, it actually hurts MY feelings when he puts himself down because then I am like, so that's who you think I am? Someone that would pick a loser? Hell no - I'm the mother f-in princess and the princess doesn't pick to spend her life with a loser - oh hellllllll no! So yeah...I don't find it cool to make fun of yourself. Besides, I also tend to think that when you do it, it validates what others DO say whether behind your back or not.

    But with all that said, I find Chris Farley's fat man in a little coat freakin' HI-LAR-IOUS every single time I see it. So yeah...LOL


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