Unwelcome guest

Yesterday was a whirlwind at work, as are all Saturday’s. It’s our turn (when we clean all of the rooms/cottages/other units to prepare them for the new guests) which means lots of work. I set up the two new people I was training at one condo, then went to the next to check it. I saw all the normal things.. beds made, empty fridge, no dust, well swept, etc. I then looked at the closet since I didn’t have an extra sheet set and found plenty there. Among the five extra towels, 3 random sheet sets, and probably a dozen games, I saw this on the floor:

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That, my friends, is a lovely scale. Not only does the scale exist, but it also is apparently a gift to the condo. My heart really sank just thinking about this situation.

To back up a bit, the place I work at (in housekeeping) has 9 weeks of family camp in the summer, and then various retreats throughout the year. The condos are almost always rented by people with kids. As a whole, the conference tries to promote togetherness and a getaway from the normal burdens of life.

Unfortunately, everyday living includes a heavy dose of diet culture influence for far too many people in this world.

I can imagine so many different situations where one could be hurt from this object. A little boy or girl decides that they should see how much they weigh, which turns into an innocent “who weighs the least/most” game. Someone going through a dieting fad checks their weight only to find that they’ve gained, and spend the rest of the week miserable and ashamed. A teenager finds themselves stepping on every single day to make sure they didn’t let too loose on their vacation.

There is no way having a scale there is going to help anyone. For one, dieting/weight isn’t something that’s a priority when you’ve come here just to build faith and enjoy your family. Diet culture is absolutely everywhere else and it’s good to have a break. It has potential to truly cause harm to those who already have vulnerability with their self-worth or weight in general. Even with the best intentions, weighing yourself on a different scale once doesn’t truly correlate to one that’s consistent (eg at your doctor’s office).

When I saw that scale I had a few major urges. The first was to weigh myself. Ed was convinced that I needed to see the number and there were no other options, despite how inaccurate it would be based on various factors. Directly after that came the desire to take the scale with me and keep it. It would have been so easy to just find a home for it in my car or secretly in my room. That would give me easy access at any time. I am not proud of those first two options, but that’s also just where I am right now. Third, and probably the best option, was to take the scale out and get rid of it (which is technically what we’re supposed to do with “extra” things in units, but that’s a whole different story). I ended up with none of the above, and I’m a little disappointed in myself for that now.

I could have been brave and fought against diet culture today by removing the scale. Honestly, though, I don’t think I could have just gotten rid of it. The reason I debated about bringing the scale out or not for so long is because I wanted to take it home. I can pretty much guarantee I would have brought it home, probably even weighed myself 15 times by now. I definitely was not strong enough to do the right thing, so I did the neutral one instead.

I’m not sure if I’ll be back to the condo next week, or at all this summer. I want to have the strength to put the best interest of our guests first and confiscate the scale. Not being able to now doesn’t mean I never will.

I know this probably doesn’t seem like some huge deal. To me, it is. This is just an example of how our obsession with diet culture and weight loss is so ingrained that we feel you don’t deserve a break on vacation. How ridiculous is that? If we can take a week of work off why don’t we take a week to fully engage and not focus on things that don’t matter? One small scale can truly have an impact on someone, and I think it has to be our job to think critically about them and the damage that often comes.

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