Lola Rolls
Advice on Life from a Former Sideshow Fat Lady

Overcoming Loneliness

Posted By on Monday, January 13th, 2020

Dear Lola,

How can a person feel less lonely? I’m almost 40, and I would like to be married and have children, but none of those things seem to be happening. People have told me I’m too picky. Except I’m not. I think my weight is a big part of the problem. I know I should just lose weight, but nothing ever seems to work. A lot of my friends are married now and have children. I feel like my head is going to explode when they complain about their husbands or kids. Why don’t they ever stop and think how lucky they are? Or what it would be like to be me? One of them is spending a fortune on IVF. Everyone rallies around her and her husband because they’ve suffered so many disappointments. It is sad. I’ll probably end up as childless as her though, and no one is throwing me a fundraiser. Am I the worst friend ever? Why does it seem to be working out for everyone but me?

–All by Myself


Dear All by Myself,

Qualifying as the worst friend ever would be quite a feat. Your relationship with your friends is a good place to start though. First off, I would suggest that you challenge some of your own ideas. Your outrage and bitterness seem to rely on a view of the universe in which happiness and the accomplishment of life goals are one giant pie, meaning that if your friends get a big delicious slice, there will be less left for you. It doesn’t work that way. I’m sure you know that, but you need to believe it as well. Your friends’ happiness is not your unhappiness, and their successes are not your failures. While I’m very sorry about your loneliness and isolation, comparisons about whose misfortune is greater are sort of like shit throwing contests: no one really wins.

Friendship is all about mutual support. Your friend going through IVF most assuredly doesn’t think everything is working out for her. Help her through her rough time, and also lean on your friends to assist you in dealing with your own issues and problems. Empathy and love are always are a better approach than anger and bitterness.

I don’t know if you’ll get exactly what you want. You mention that you think your weight is holding you back, and it’s true that anti-fat bias is very real and very prevalent. Advising you to lose weight though would be the same as telling you to waste time and effort on a doomed enterprise that will only further erode your self-esteem. Instead, I think you should make a list of everything your weight is preventing you from doing, and then go out and do every single one of those things right now at your current weight. This life, very presumably the only you’re ever going to get, belongs to you, not to some thinner, preferable version of you.

My hope is that in releasing your negative feelings, relying on your friends, and engaging fully in your life, you will also discover that there can be more than one path to happiness and will perhaps consider alternative routes to parenthood and will value all relationships, instead of focusing exclusively on romantic ones.
Good luck!

Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

2 responses to “Overcoming Loneliness”

  1. Cathi says:

    Dear All By Myself – Lola gives some great advice here. There is nothing keeping you from going after everything you want, you just need to make a plan and prioritize. I was surprised when I sat down and did this at the single (overweight) age of 30 – it turned out that having a family was more important to me than having a husband, so I focused my energies on exploring options for adopting, fostering, and finding a donor. I’m still single (and still fat!) at 48 and have an awesome 11 year daughter. I no longer feel like something is ‘missing’, and I’m totally fine with not having a partner. Stay strong, sister! Go get yours!

    • Barbara Boehm Miller says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Cathi! There’s nothing better than encouragement from someone who has been there and done that!

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