I absolutely love Humans of New York! I always glean some wisdom, laughter, or a wake up from the photos of the people and their own words. Everyone can find someone in these posts that they can relate to, making us all more humanly connected. It is a beautiful reflection on the fact that we are more alike than different. Every once in a while the posts break my heart a little.
This particular post (click here to read), and second post (click here to read), of one gentleman’s struggle with weight and the ensuing loneliness touched me deeply. I have struggled with my weight since having children. I know in part it is because of being abused by my first husband; physically, psychologically, sexually and abused psychologically and spiritually by my second husband. As the man in the HONY post said, “one benefit to being big is that people don’t bother you.” My increased size allowed me to intimidate my ex husband so he was not be able to hurt me the way he had before the weight gain. It also enabled me to counter my next husband’s attempt to see if he could hit me. He took his fist and just tapped my chin; I am sure as a test to see what he could get away with. However, my size enabled me to give him one blow to the chest that put him on the floor breathless. He never laid a wrong hand on me after that incident.
The weight gain is protection. However, it is isolating at the same time. A lot of people in public are friendly to me because I am always smiling and open-hearted. I do not though, have much of a social life. Granted I am a mother of five, but I do go out on my own from time to time. And that is it… alone. Most people can handle an occasional meet up for coffee, but that is all. I use to be a dancer. I would go to dance clubs, not for drinking, but soaking up the energy from my fellow dancers. I know I am 42, but I do not think my social life should be nonexistent.
I am now getting back into weightlifting. I am hoping that it will give me the security that I need, without the social loneliness. I feel that the man in the HONY post also touched on a nerve when he said, “I decided early on that I better get used to it.” I wonder if I subconsciously did not do this too because I was once a huge extrovert… crowds? no fear, just pure unadulterated energy for me. However, now I am very much an introvert. I mean I can still strike up a conversation with any stranger, but I need to retreat from the world to recharge.
If you can relate to the HONY posts, know that you are not alone. If you cannot relate, then next time you see a “loner” know that they have their reasons. It reminds me of Jodi Picoult’s quote from My Sister’s Keeper: “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”