Denial and Fear Disguised as Self-Esteem

“A Mermaid or a Whale” Exposed!

Coach Izzy

There is a rather tongue in cheek post that started circulating around 2009. It got “revised” recently and once again went viral. Sadly, it was turned into one of the most self-serving, ego-shielding  posts in social media I’ve ever read.

Even if you did not read it, chances are you saw it being wildly distributed. I don’t know about you but I almost puked after reading this overreaching diatribe and mourned the mutilation of the original piece.

Very few knew of the existence of the original post and even fewer had the presence of mind to sniff the self-serving, wounded-ego-soothing tone of the irrational tirade. Not surprising since a significant percentage of our population carries superfluous weight but would prefer to seek validation rather than change their reality!

Mass blindness!

How disturbing when ego-protection is more important than self-improvement. How sad when many go to great lengths to seek justification rather than channel those efforts to change reality.

When faced with their fondness for mediocrity, folks get alarmingly defensive. Their self-worth comes to question and suddenly their reality is falling apart. But instead of nurturing the opportunity to change, they build a moat of excuses to drown it.

If I could count the times those unwilling to change threw a fit when shown the truth and the alternatives it brings.

That is why I’m exposing the nauseating, butchered version of the “Mermaid or a Whale” post for the banal drivel it truly is. It is not that I like pouring salt on the wound, but it is disconcerting to see how something so flawed could be so blindly cheered. Hey, we once thought lynching so called “witches” was correct!

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”
In the advertisement world, it is no secret that words are chosen to provoke a reaction (and apparently did so). As to the picture I don’t know if “thin” implies size or leanness.  My guess would be low bodyfat since this is an ad for a gym and it’s not uncommon for folks to use thin or skinny interchangeably to describe leanness.

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:
Oh Gee! I bet that’s going to be hard to figure out!

“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
I don’t know the origins of the post, but the excessive anthromorphization of cetaceans clearly indicates whoever wrote this is not well versed in marine biology. To put it context; What is the meaning of “friends” in our sense of the word as opposed to a relationship of convenience? What does “sexually active” mean in comparison to other species? How is the great tenderness towards their calves (not children) any different from any other creature?

They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns.
Is this implying that whales are engaged in frolicking with the dolphins for our amusement? And what does eating prawns have to do with the issue?

They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
This makes it sound as if whales migrate for leisure, touristy purposes as opposed to having their paths dictated by lifecycles, seasons, feeding grounds, and calving grounds.  Just like other species in our planet.

They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.
To say that whales sing incredibly well would be akin to saying ducks quack with incredible mastery. It is our penchant for anthromorphosizing what turns their communication system into “singing”. We have done the same with birds and toads.

Mermaids do not exist.
Neither does the veracity of the assumptions yet here we are!

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: Woman or fish?
Wait, wasn’t the existence of Merfolk (or Merbeings, yes, that’s what they are called and according to different mythologies had both genders) just openly denied? So why are emotional assumptions on a creature that does not exist being made? Or is this ranting selectively targeting the female gender as the most prone to image dissatisfaction and rejection of reality? Sounds like extrapolation if you ask me!

They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
I’m pretty sure whoever wrote this has not had much exposure to mythologies of the world. And how’s the ability to bear children relevant to the topic?

Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
Again, making self-serving assumptions on a creature whose existence is openly denied is self-contradictory.

And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?
Yikes! Somebody needs to head to their local library, heck, just Google!

Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.
Self-serving justification or well-thought-out, objective conclusion? Hmm… the mystery!

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful…
With the dismaying obesity numbers in our country, any regular healthy looking person is unjustly called skinny.  Besides, why would we let the media power our decisions? Isn’t that a sign of lacking control over our lives?

I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.
When one leads a truly healthful lifestyle, doing what’s described above in moderation has no impact in results or health. Conversely, overindulging – and overindulging often – is a choice one makes. Yet it seems many are not willing to accept the consequences of their behavior. A little over entitled or what? (Wait, don’t whales eat prawns instead of ice-cream and drinks?)

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
I know many women who are wise and knowledgeable and have not gained superfluous weight. In fact, it is because of this knowledge and wisdom they understand the importance of leading by example and serving as role models.  Or are they less wise or knowledgeable because they don’t haul unessential pounds?

We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
And the garbage man is a sanitation engineer. Being cultivated is a journey of learning, not a self-serving proclamation.

Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! “
What a delusional statement!  What a cynical way to mask denial as self-esteem! What a wretched acceptance of mediocrity! But you know what’s even sorrier? Those who applaud such rubbish and convince themselves is about self-acceptance.

Far from it!

It is about denial, it is about not accepting the responsibility change brings. It is about fighting change itself with false perceptions and poisonous attitudes.

Those who fight to keep things the same fail to see change is inevitable, that they are the ones in charge of it, and also fail to understand the following:

Whether we want it or not, we are always changing! The “You” waking up tomorrow won’t be the same “You” waking up today. You will be either further away or closer to your potential.

As business coach Rich Schefren says “From day to day, the delay between cause and effect is always there, working behind the scenes. And it’s either helping you or hurting you”. No program, no piece of gear, no device will ever be effective if the willingness to change is not there.

Those unwilling to change convince themselves that change is impossible and because they can’t, No One can . What do these cynics have to say in light of this proof? I’m sure justifications are pouring right now, but there is no denying that once the commitment to change is there, it is only a matter of time before all the efforts bring results!

Now you know! Next time that nonsense comes your way, don’t be afraid to expose its ugly truth.

I’ll see you on the exercise floor!

About The Author


Coach Izzy has been part of the Strength and Conditioning field for over 25 years. He speaks of the advantages of self-sufficiency and the drawbacks of relying on the liner approaches the health world seems fond of.