Dear Faculty Colleague,
Thursday, you needed to leave the faculty union meeting early. This meant juggling through a myriad of tightly packed chairs and bodies. When you got to the two colleagues at my side, you politely said "excuse me" and they did. But when you came to my chair--the last one, aisle -- you paused to put your hand on the chair and say with venom: I am SO SORRY that I'm not a size MINUS ZERO like you. I wish I was but we can't all be FREAKISHLY thin. I am SO SORRY I'm not super skinny. I wish I was but I'm not."
Then you shoved my chair in (with me in it), glared, and walked away.
Please know that I would never, ever malign you for being overweight. Actually, I wouldn't have noticed this without your comments. Please do know that those of us who are a "minus zero" might have food and body image issues that precisely parallel those that you have -- if you have any (and your hostility makes me think that you do). We just have different responses. Same feelings. I think you know this because your aim was so true. You meant to wound and knew how -and wound, you did.
I don't know your name-- and because our encounter left me so stunned (deer in the headlights, actually) -- I probably won't even recognize you, should we meet again. While I briefly entertained thoughts of revenge and retaliation, these were instantly unsatisfying. Revenge also requires some degree of energy and pursuit on my part (and would mean learning your name).
In the end, of course, I realize that participating in whatever cycle of ugly this was won't do me -- or you -- any good. I don't need to know your name to wish you well -- to wish you freedom from whatever burdens you carry. No-- I won't take on the pain for you (good try, though) but I hope that your own suffering can be alleviated. Freedom from suffering. Peace.
That is a much more satisfying cycle and a better place to live.