Recently my husband, daughter and I went to visit a friend and his aunt. For the sake of this article lets just call her Aunty Ji. I have known Aunty Ji for over 4 years now. Let me start by saying that she has a history of saying some hurtful things in the past to me and my husband. She told my husband that he “caused the CURSE of having girl babies” to his friends. My husband was the first of his friends to have a baby and after him the rest of his friends had girls as well. I personally think it’s a blessing, but to her it’s a curse! She had in vitro fertilization done at 48 after years of infertility, and paid the extra money to ensure she had a boy. She has said other rude things as well about my weight, my culture, my husbands family. I thought that her bitterness was caused by her frustration over not being able to conceive.
We actually avoided seeing her for some time because we were tired of the rude comments. So after about two years of not seeing her we decided to meet up with our friend who happened to be at his aunt’s house for the weekend. So we took a deep breath and agreed to come see him. We hoped that with her being able to have her son she would be secure and not need to make bitter comments.
We all greeted at the door and then went and sat down. Within ten minutes of being there Aunty Ji said that my daughter was far too thin. We explained that she was exactly average and was 50% height and weight at her last checkup. She then turned her attentions to me. She started relatively nice, saying that I should try nutra system to help lose weight. She explained how she had lost 25 pounds and simply ate the food in the program. I was not super offended. I am overweight so I get why the topic was brought up and she seemed like she was trying to be helpful.
We all went to Gurdwara and she was pleasant the entire time. We went back to her house and she then started commenting on how fat I was again. She was not so kind or helpful this time around. She went on and on about how I really needed to diet. I tried to steer the conversation to another topic, but she kept going back to the same topic of my weight! She then said something that stopped me in my tracks! She said “Tina you know you should have one chin not two!” She said this in front of my husband and his friend. I felt humiliated! I could feel my face glow from embarrassment! My husband’s friend, her nephew, popped up and said Aunty Ji that is too much! She then got defensive and said “ I am just being a friend!”
I wonder if she was just “being a friend”? Did her lack of English skills cause her intention to come out wrong? Her track record of being rude makes me think, she wanted to embarrass me. To put me down so she felt better. I hate the fact that out of everything that I am and do, fat is the one thing that is most talked about!
Is communication really that different in our two cultures? I do know that in India people tend to be more straightforward and say what they mean! So if they feel you are fat then they may say you are fat. While in the United States people tend to talk about people to other people. So they tell their other friend that you are fat! This does not imply that one culture is more rude than the other, just different styles of being rude. There are jerks everywhere, just some talk behind your back to hurt you while others do it to your face to make you feel inferior. Both of these styles are incredibly hurtful.
I am not sure if I plan on going back to that Aunties House again, her comment left me with a terrible feeling inside. I want to say it did not affect me but it did! I am working on my weight through eating healthy and working out but those comments made all my efforts feel pointless. I am more than just my weight. There is so much more to talk about.
I just thought I would share it here because the topic is still bothering me. Has something like this ever happened to you? How did you react? Do you think that people need thicker skins or that others need to control their comments? I would love to hear your opinions.