How Much Do You Weigh? (Day #48)

This post begins with a bathroom scale.

I know you love it already.  And by love, I mean hate, because you think this post is about my post-baby weightloss and that bores you.

I’m glad, because it bores me, too.

I don’t have a lot to say about body weight.  But I do have something to say about Social Weight, a term I thought I’d created until I googled it:

Social weight: the social consequences arising from
technology use by the mobile professional.

I like this definition.  It’s not my definition, but it’s close.  While my definition has nothing to do with design or mobile professionals (though, btw, how awesome is the term “mobile professional”?) and is not specifically related to the use of technology, it has everything to do with social consequences.

But let me back up.  Let me return to the bathroom scale.  My bathroom scale, the one I bought the day I found out I was pregnant.  My plan was to weigh myself every day during my pregnancy.  I read that it was wise to do this.  That it was important to be aware of how much you were gaining.  That it was good to keep track.  This made sense to me.

So I bought the scale and weighed myself every day for about the first three weeks.  And then, quite frankly, I didn’t want to know anymore.

It wasn’t that I was gaining too much (I wasn’t).  It was just that my weight had begun to occupy space in my mind.  Not a lot of space, mind you, since the early days of an unexpected pregnancy give you plenty of other things to think obsess about.  But there nonetheless, asserting itself, whatever that day’s number was.  As though it meant something.  I decided it didn’t, so I stopped getting on the scale.  And within a few days, stopped thinking about my number.  I spent the rest of my pregnancy in weight-oblivion.

Fast forward ten months.  The day before my birthday.  I woke up the morning we were supposed to leave for our vacation to find my first blatantly negative blog comment.  I’d gotten a few “why are you doing this?  you should be enjoying your baby!” emails along the way, but nothing overtly critical.  Nothing that stung.

This comment, it stung.

Initially, I approved it, because I wanted to be open to negative feedback.  And I am.  But after thinking obsessing about it for the rest of the day, I came to the conclusion that it was just too mean.  Not even moderately constructive.  Intentionally hurtful.  Its presence was weighing on my psyche.  Dampening my spirit.  And so I took it down.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  That one negative comment overshadowed every piece of positive feedback I had received so far, and there had been many.  More than I could count.  But the instant I read that morsel of meanness, I promptly forgot everything nice thing I had heard.  It was heavy, that comment.  Those words.  Not deep or particularly insightful, but weighty in the sense that they weighed me down.

Did he realize this? I wondered.  This commenter, was he aware of the weight of his words?

Am I?  Or am I walking around in weight-oblivion?

I pictured that bathroom scale.  My desire to know my weight and then my decision to avoid knowing it.  I suspect that many of you have made the same decision.  You’ve decided that it doesn’t matter how much your body weighs.  You’ve chosen the bliss of weight-oblivion.

But have we also closed our eyes to the weight of our words?  Have we chosen to ignore the heft of our attitudes?

There is a social consequence of our existence.  Each of us, I think, has a Social Weight.  The more negativity we project, the heavier we are.  The more we weigh on other people.  The more we bring them down.

Do you know how much you weigh?  Do I?

I don’t know about you, but I want to be light.  Feather light.  I want to be so light that I float.  So light that I lift people up with my presence, that I make them float.  Maybe even fly.

(Do you stop to think about your social weight?  Are there people in your life who always bring you down?  Do you find that criticism outweighs all the compliments you’ve received?  What’s the meanest thing someone has ever said to you?  Did you weigh yourself during your pregnancy?)

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