This weekend past was a Women's Retreat for our congregation. This meant that we would be gone on an overnight trip up past Heber, at a fairly posh campground owned by the LDS church. Did this same thing last year. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Last year.
Last year, however, I opted out of the ropes challenge course that was scheduled for the Saturday morning part of the retreat, and went on a leisurely hike with a friend. We were hardly the only ones who chose not to go, and I didn't feel badly about my decision. There was not a ton of pressure to do the challenge course; it was just one of several activities scheduled for the day. Cut to this year, and we got booted from the campground early, as they were opening the grounds for an open house... something they had failed to mention to the women in our congregation who had booked the camp. The ropes course turned out to be the only activity, and everyone was expected to go, and at least hang out.
Until ya got there, and then the course instructors took over, and the option to not participate became practically a doctrinal issue.
I jest, but only a little.
I was so not up for what followed, but then, I had not been up for what preceded either. That morning before breakfast, there was a bit of a stir, because one of the women in the cabin I was staying in(there were about fifteen per cabin), had gotten up and moved out of the cabin around four in the morning, declaring to her friend that a few hours of sleep would be better than none and she just couldn't take all the snoring anymore. I didn't think too much of it, even though I know that I do snore, as I was clear across the rather large room from her, and every time I had awoken that night, I could hear one or two other women snoring softly. Sister Gottagetsomesleep made sure to announce, to the entire seated breakfasting group, that I was the one who's snoring had caused her to move to another cabin. When other cabin mates objected and qualified, she took particular care to point out that it absolutely was me. I was mortified, but I tossed my head and let it slide on by.
I know her. She is a deeply unhappy and bitter woman, but I don't think she meant to hurt me in any particular way. Perhaps I am too good at my joking and capable woman facade, and she felt like I could take a few hard digs. Maybe some days I could just shrug this kind of thing off, but that day, it hurt.
Cut to the ropes course:
The first thing to happen when we get there is a brief speech in front of what was known as the High Course. This included explaining about the belaying ropes, carribiners, harness rigs and other devices that would keep us safe; so long as we were a particular weight or under. And I am not. But it was OK, they explained... us fatties would still be able to do most of the other activities. That's not what they said, but please understand, that's how my sore heart translated the rest of what was said. Not that I was much interested in the humiliation of dragging myself up the small rocks pegged into the side of one huge tree trunk, sliding across a high wire, or rappelling down another equally intimidating tree. But to know that I would not be allowed even if I desired. Hurt.
The fun did not stop there, but my facade of spunky fat girl did not slip once, not even when I forced myself to do the "trust fall" thing, so as to not be the only one who didn't, and to set a good example for the nervous sixteen year old girl who was with us.
"See? Even the fat old lady can do it... they didn't drop her, they won't drop you!"
I made it till I got home and got in the shower; the heat and the water dissolving my will, and my resolve, and my defences. Poor Dadguy could only sit and hold the mewling wife that he had so bravely sent off the night before, in hopes of getting a refreshed and uplifted spouse back. Even still, to my horror, I cannot see the monitor to read my words as I type this. Each new activity that day was shame upon humiliation. The activity of writing it all down is almost as brutal. Why I am posting this is entirely beyond my ken, except I don't feel like keeping this garbage to myself anymore. Y'all, I am doing Weight Watchers, but this is the story that is shared when the teller is millions of sizes smaller than when these kinds of things happened. I am maybe five pounds down from two week ago, and staring at the very real possibility that I don't have what it takes to get it off or keep it off.
But I am also angry at the thoughtlessness that went in to this activity. There is one overnight retreat a year, and we are gone from our homes and responsibilities for less than 24 hours... this is the best thing they could come up with? I was definitely NOT the only woman who opted out of doing the High Course (or were opted out because of weight... I didn't ask), and not the only one who struggled with some of the other physical challenges posed by the "Group Activities."
I will not be doing this again next year even if I am the fitness freaking queen of the world. I think I will be kinder to myself, and just hang out with people who will be kinder to me, and do things that are actually uplifting and that I enjoy. Although I will be sorry to miss the fellowship and the getting to know you portions of the retreat, I just don't have the heart for this anymore.