A couple of weeks ago, Devin asked me to come see him play at an end-of-season tennis tournament. I think I was washing dishes at the time and I just nodded casually. Later on, he asked me again. And I said ‘Um, sure.’ A few days later, he repeated his request. ‘Okay, okay!’ I said. After that there was an e-mail to remind me to update my electronic calendar. Subsequently, I got a text message. ‘Will you come watch me on Sunday?’ I can’t recall exactly how many times Devin mentioned the tournament to me, but it took quite a while before it dawned on me …. ‘He really, really wants me to be there!’
I was reflecting on this because, as I’ve mentioned before, Devin often sets up dinner engagements with visiting friends and relatives, and sometimes I feel like all we do is eat at expensive, calorie-rich restaruants. I kept thinking ‘I don’t get it. He knows that eating out is a challenge for me. Why does he keep setting these things up?’
On Sunday, it dawned on me. Several years ago I told Devin I need his help in terms of not asking me to eat out as often. I’ve probably mentioned it to him three or four times since. So, on average, I’ve mentioned this to him once every three or four months. Which, to his way of thinking, is not a very urgent message at all.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I usually tell people about my weight management concerns once or twice and then never mention it again. I often end up fuming because I think people ‘should’ know and ‘should’ understand. Why would I have to ‘impose’ my views and ‘insist’ on getting my way!?
I have a feeling that a lot of this taps into a feeling of embarrassment that I’ve had my whole life about being overweight. It has made me reluctant to ‘badger’ people in particular because of the times I’ve lost weight and then gained it back But the fact is, there’s no way I’m going to get what I want in life without asking, and chances are, I’m going to have to ask more than once. Its just the way things work.
So on Monday, I wrote an e-mail to the general manager of my company asking him explicity to consider including healthy food items, and in particular fruits and vegetables, at our next company event. I’ve asked before. Now I’m asking again. I asked Devin to allow me some restaurant-free weekends in the coming holiday season. I’ve even asked some friends for help in supporting my efforts to stay on course.
In the end, this is not about the need to ask, but rather the RIGHT to ask. Nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to hold back about. Ask. Ask. Ask.
By the way. Devin won first place!