The relationship between women is a remarkable social dynamic, ever evolving yet reliably stable. Comparatively, it’s more dependable than frivolous bromances born over beers while commiserating pro team shortcomings. Specifically, one minute two twenty something female coworkers are complete strangers, and the next they’re bridesmaids at each other’s weddings. When honesty is the foundation, the female bond endures a lifetime. Such is the story of you and the owner of an earnestly waving arm sticking from a 4 foot high cubicle wall.
With a sweaty palm and shaky hand, you nervously hit a “3” on the panel. You have just a few floors to prepare for crossing the border into a hostile country, or at least that’s how it feels. As the elevator doors opens, you are inundated with foreign sights and sounds. And stepping from the transporter, you pause and look down the distant aisle. You just want to locate a friendly face.
Fatefully, that’s exactly what happens. Poking her head from her boxed office is your personal welcoming committee. Her name is Hannah, and she’s been expecting a new workmate, and she smiles as you cautiously carry your overflowing crate of personals to your little desk. She isn’t your new boss or even advisor, but she’s been instructed to show you the ropes. She’s nice and friendly and willing to do as told.
And even though you are destined to adore one another and become kindred spirits, this is the awkward way in which your friendship starts, “Hi, I’m Hannah. I have the privilege of teaching you the amazing and exciting world of The Third Floor. Haha! Seriously, I got your back…and I have to say…you are so pretty…and you’re so fit and in shape…Jeez, what size are you? I’m just saying…you look amazing…you’ll have to tell me your secret.”
Well, your new best friend of all time, the girl you’ll grow to love and protect, always reverts to comments about your physical appearance, while ridiculing her own. When you stop for drinks after work, she says, “Look, all the guys are staring at you. I wish I wasn’t so fat.” or “Look how cute you are in that top. I feel sloppy.” Respectfully, your reply is consistent. You tell her to stop her madness and remind her how beautiful she is.
But it’s not just at happy hour. In the parking lot, at her apartment, over the phone, she’s always obsessed with weight. Your therapy is beginning to feel like a burden. You are frustrated with encouragement falling on deaf ears. Of course you are flattered by her constant compliments, but there comes a point when predictable admiration, which then leads to a pep talk and ends with disappointment, is demoralizing.
Every time Hannah goes down the road of weight and appearance, you end up talking her off the ledge yet never changing her mindset. And without fail, your sermon is delivered across the table at the local greasy spoon, while watching her eat fatty foods in excessive quantities. You want your words to be truly inspirational. But you fear an honest Callemonit, one in which Hannah has to own her eating habits, will be hurtful.
Keep in mind, Hannah is your best friend forever. She was your life preserver when you got your first serious adult job. She has been the ear though countless tissue filled moments, from your first love to your first hate. And as the cliche goes, you’d “run through fire” for her.
You know the solution to her weight problem is controlling her calorie intake, but food is such a touchy subject. You witness her choices everyday. But what if she eats for emotional reasons? You are a concerned friend but not a certified therapist. Will she think you’re being mean if you choose Callemonit, pointing out her poor diet? Will she say you’re conceited, because you are thin? Will you jeopardize your friendship?
This certainly is a call for Callemonit. But can you plot a beneficial direction for Hannah’s future, yet not create resentment? You believe “Yes!”
This was your Callemonit that occurred just as Hannah was starting her typical pity party . “Stop stop, wait a minute! I love you, but I see how you eat. Trust me, I’m not judging you. I just hate how you belittle yourself…I’m sorry, I’m all over the place. But I have to get this going…Hannah, you’re beautiful, smart and funny. I want to figure this thing out, diet together, exercise, anything to make you appreciate the beauty you are, both inside and out. I want you to be happy, for us to be happy. I know it won’t be easy, but we can do it together.”
You somehow got out all those words, uninterrupted. Hannah’s face was blank. Your eyes welled up. She saw you crying, then her floodgates opened. No words were spoken, just a super big long hug.
Hannah fought hard, and it definitely wasn’t easy. But along the journey, there was a new development in your friendship. Hannah lowered her guard and shared her innermost feelings. She told tear jerking stories from her childhood that she’d never shared with anyone. Food had become a stress reliever at a young age, a crutch.
The combination of revealing emotional scars and simultaneously seeing the pounds come off, gave Hannah the confidence to achieve a healthy weight, to which she maintains today. This was a Callemonit success. Goodbye stress!
Have you ever been afraid to talk about weight? Everyone always says politics and religion are taboo, but personal appearance, especially in our image conscious society, is right in the mix.