In the past year I have gotten into distance running, and it has turned my life around. I’m a happier person and am no longer plagued by anxiety attacks. I’ve also gotten a lot leaner. At first it was fun when people would ask if I’d lost weight, but I’ve had something happen over and over that I don’t know how to respond to: A friend will say loudly in front of other people that I look anorexic, or ask if I’m addicted to drugs. It’s usually framed like a joke, but often I can tell the friend is genuinely worried. While I appreciate the concern, I can only imagine that if someone was anorexic or struggling with drug addiction, blurting it out at the dinner table would not be the right way to talk to them about it. Furthermore, I don’t have an eating disorder and I’m not addicted to drugs—but when I say that, people say “Hmm” and nod as though they don’t believe me. It makes me feel embarrassed and self-conscious about my body. There are a couple of people I see regularly who use these lines as their opener every time we have a conversation. Because these disorders are associated with being thin, they think they are paying me a compliment in a twisted sort of way, but I wonder how I can politely let them know that I would rather we don’t talk about what I look like at all.
—Running Out of Patience