Recently, I asked my friend Kate if she liked her daughter in law, Angie. She hesitated. Then she said, “yes, I like her, but…she’s really overweight.”
Some background. I have never known Kate to be anything but lovely and kind. She’s soft-spoken, thoughtful with her words and open-minded. (She’s also really smart and interesting and creative.)
Kate comes from a family of alcoholics, including her father, her grandfather, her first husband and her only child, her beloved son James.
About two years ago, James nearly died from an alcoholic binge. Kate got the call from the hospital telling that he probably wouldn’t make it.
James did make it and at the age of 33, stopped drinking for the first time. He got involved in AA and turned his life around completely. He tells his mother that he is wonderfully happy for the first time in his life.
When James nearly died of alcohol abuse, he was already seeing his now wife, Angie. Unlike his prior girlfriends, she is nurturing,loving,kind and NOT an alcoholic or drug addict. She’s also got a really cool profession, she’s a celebrity make-up artist who travels the world with a very, very famous singer.
The other day, Kate and I were talking about James’s alcoholism,and I asked her why he finally stopped drinking after so many years and multiple near death experiences. She said,
“He was afraid he’d lose Angie.” So, basically, Angie saved his life. And she’s kind and good to him. AND, he’s joyously happy.
Yet, my friend’s answer to the question about Angie – she’s overweight.
I’m happy to say that when I pointed all this out to Kate, she listened. She called me later to tell me how ashamed and horrified she was by her words and thoughts. More importantly, she called Angie and they had a lovely conversation.
Still, I find fat prejudice so hard to understand.