This little puppy: not so Poky anymore

Growing up I was referred to by my family as our “Poky Little Puppy“. Perhaps some of it was in affection.  Mostly though it was because if we ever went on a hike or a walk or bike ride or just went off somewhere; I lagged behind.  Some of this was because I was usually lost in my own little happy world and not paying attention.  The rest is because I didn’t keep up.  Maybe if I spent more time outside riding my banana seated bike or running around instead of (or in addition to?) reading so many books to escape the pressures of constant fat teasing I might have found myself at a higher level of fitness and able to keep up.  As it was, on any such excursion I found myself again the subject of teasing ridicule. (which, let me tell you, is never as “Lovingly Fond” as friends or family would rather the subjects of such teasing believe.  It gets wearing and downright annoying, thanks.) The worst was being behind and actively struggling to keep up.  Why the worst? Because on those rare occasions when the folks ahead would stop; chatting and resting while I caught up; I would NEVER get the chance to join in an rest WITH them.  Always as soon as I got to the mini-rest; “we” moved on.  So I never did enjoy such trips really.  It is pretty sucky to be left behind and then punished with no rests for daring to lag behind.

Yet all of these memories were brushed away into my distant youth as I began reading about FA, learning to understand that it may possibly be okay to love myself As Is, and finding activities I actually enjoyed doing.  I found belly dance.  And swimming laps.  Both of which allowed me to set my OWN pace! How exhilarating was it to find myself not having to keep up with someone else?  Extremely! To swim or dance at my own pace and enjoy every moment has been amazing.

But something recently dig bring up all those memories of angst and frustration.  My brother.  With a simple comment on a Facebook post of mine excitedly proclaiming my recent 1/2 mile swimming ventures.  From someone silent on so much, hearing a nasty little jab like “I don’t believe it.  I want video proof” was like a punch in the (not small) gut.  All those days of struggling to prove I could do it came rushing back.  In an instant I was 7 years old again, watching my family laughing and chatting in the distance ahead of me; knowing I could never catch back up and that if they ever did stop so as to not leave me miles behind, I’d never get to relax with them in that cozy group.  All those same feelings of inadequacy came right back.  And it pissed me off.

Here’s my brother, smoker, drinker, party-er, thin, active, etc; telling his older sister that he doesn’t believe her physical accomplishments without “video proof”.  I can’t believe, as my mother would have me do, that this was “Oh just a joke, calm down! It was supposed to be funny like when your Aunt said she saw a bear and I said I wanted video proof!”  No.  This isn’t at all the same.  This isn’t a case of “Wow, that sounds awesome!  I want video of it!!” This was a lifelong belief in the inability of my own physical prowess written down in chat-speak-y text by my brother.  I tried to reply with a comment of my own meant to diffuse the anger I felt by assuring him that his older sister is indeed capable of so much but not to worry because I wasn’t fast yet.

In retrospect I should have done more though because speaking with my mother on the phone has convinced me that my brother DID know that I was extremely peeved and yet “oh well”.  Why is it that families think it is a joke or no big deal when you get upset at their mockery of your accomplishments or lack of interest in their views of your own body and life?

Well you know what, I may be the same, slightly chubbier even, puppy that I was in my youth.  I have a few more curves, a bit more girth but a lot more smiles lately.  Because I will not be pulled for long back into those mires of self-hatred from before.  The power held in such denials of my abilities will not hold me down for a lifetime (only a few days here in fact this time).  And you know what, I’m NOT such a poky little puppy anymore.  Especially considering that yesterday I upped my laps to 19* and did it in 45 minutes. **

So to my brother and mother and everyone else who loves me but thinks disparaging of the veracity of my claims of an active life?  Suck it.  I’m not the Poky Little Puppy anymore; and your threatened fears that this might be the case will not weigh me down.

*Yay!  That means I’m up to the letter “S” in my alphabetical lap-tracking method.  I think I may have been okay pulling out another lap or two but ended up having to share the lane with another woman who obviously didn’t watch my awkward meandering backstroke and I ended up hitting her while swimming in lap 19 and thought I’d call it quits before I did it again!!

**I knew I was doing 1/2 a mile in less than an hour but didn’t keep as solid a track of time before last night.

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14 thoughts on “This little puppy: not so Poky anymore

  1. I was the Poky puppy of my family too, so I totally understand about being berated for being slow. Argh…

    CONGRATS! On getting to letter S! That is quite an accomplishment and I am proud of you!! 🙂

  2. My family did the same thing to me (climbing up ahead, taking a rest while I caught up, then not letting me rest).

    I still hate them for it. This, as well as numerous other abuses, is how I suffered as a chubby kid. I will never, ever forgive them for what they did to me, or what they allowed to happen to me. My anger knows no bounds on this issue. I was tortured on purpose and I’m pissed.

    • i hear you…all my life i was the amazon woman, the freakishly tall bookish girl…..when i started getting older, getting wonamly curves around 10-11 years old, my mom decided that 2 weeks at my 400lb granfathers house “taught” me to be a fatty McFaterson. Starting at 11 i remember slim fast diets…and deal a meal….and richard freaking simmons.

      hell just yesterday my sister tired to “show” me all these “great stmach exersizes” um, hun…dont you know i have been doing 7 min abs for at least 3 years TOTAL over the course of my lifetime. I took pilates….I TAKE yoga. I KNOW HOW TO DO A FREAKING SIT UP…oh but im a size 28 and you are a size 12….but im out of shape right?

    • Ack! BigLiberty, if it’s any comfort at all, I could have written exactly the same thing about my family. Except that I have moved beyond anger and pity into cold indifference.

      People who can only feel good about themselves by putting down others – even their own children – are beyond contempt.

  3. Congratulations to you! And as the longest in a very abusive, dysfunctional family, I know that there is nothing ‘fond, gently teasing” about your brother’s remarks or anything your family did to you. In my case, I was always, despite having cerebral palsy, the most active member of my family & they knew it, but that didn’t stop the ridicule, criticism, belittling, & it has certainly never stopped it from an equallyabusive, hateful mother-in-law, who for 37 years has nagged, criticized, hated me, yapped about me eating ‘wrong’ (because they “tell you” on tv, so it MUST be true, even if, in actual fact, I probably eat ‘healthier’, according to the standards of our culture than she does), &, of all things, speaking about a woman who has been steadily active for over 50 years, never had a car or license & has walked almost everywhere, & who has battled compulsive exercise most of my life, that I ‘don’t get no exercise’ (she is an 8th grade dropout.) So I now about the disbelief, the criticism, the ‘teasing’, which is always defended with, “aw, can’t you take a joke?” I have lived with it all my life. And I send you vibes & hugs & praise for not only surviving it, but rising above it & succeeding on your own terms. You never have to struggle along behind again…& neither do I!

  4. BTW, I am not the ‘longest’ in my family…that would be my youngest brother…but I am the youngest.

  5. Thank you for this. I was subjected to a lot of “affectionate teasing” as a child. I look back on photos and I have a huge smile on my face and dead eyes. Life’s much better now 🙂

  6. Nothing wrong with deleting your brother’s comment. Or unfriending him…or, if you want to be mean, create a new group without him and just post all updates to the group. See if anyone figures it out. 😉

  7. The story about your family hikes is SO familiar – that is *exactly* how the hikes with my family and my Girl Scout troop went all the time! They’d get ahead, they’d “rest”, then when I got there, they’d zoom off again. Heaven forfend I’d want to slow down and actually spend some time looking at the stuff along the trail – I was already so SLOW, I had to HURRY! And of course we didn’t bring along any water to drink, so at the end I was exhausted, bored, and dehydrated.

    And they wondered why I hated hiking.

    As for your brother and your family, your reaction is EXACTLY right. I wish I’d told my family to suck it years ago. It’s NOT a joke and it hurts. My grandmother’s been gone over 10 years and I still can’t forgive her for some of her “but it’s only for your own good” remarks.

  8. I had no idea so many others had the same frustrating experiences and while encouraging to think maybe my family is, if not the worst at least not ALONE in being terribly inconsiderate in that respect, it is so incredibly sad to think of how many people did go through the same thing where all urge to be part of the group was squashed by rudeness, meanness and plain old jerk-i-tude of those supposed to show the most love and consideration.

    And as for responding back; I do feel that maybe at some point I’ll even get to the point where I’ll actually make the responses I dream up here and tell my family to suck it. It’s close but after a lifetime of swallowing down responses behind burning eyes it takes a lot to work up that confidence again.

  9. Delurking for this…Good for you on not letting your brother’s mean comment get the best of you! On the issue of poky puppies, I am fortunate to have a family that is very courteous when we’re walking. My mother has trouble walking because she has had very painful knee problems since her 20s. As someone who tends to be a fast walker, what do I do when I notice her struggling to keep up? SLOW DOWN. Why is it that so many people have such trouble with plain old being nice, especially when it comes to one’s own family? It breaks my heart to know that so many people endured crap from their families, and it makes me so thankful for my own.

    • Adrianna I am so glad you do have a wonderfully considerate family 🙂 It does often boggle my mind how it never seems to cross into people’s minds that it doesn’t always have to be some sort of hiking race!! That’s what marathons are for!! Thanks for delurking ^.^

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