Monday, June 1, 2009

Shopping confessions.

Today after yoga I headed down to Target. I was out of laundry detergent (and not out of stinky workout clothes), and needed a size smaller yoga pants. The other ones still fit, kind of ... but they're too loose at the waist, causing me to show my belly more often than I'd like in class.

But as I was walking into the store, I saw a woman who had to be around 400lbs. She was still walking, but barely. She was right in front of me, and I could hear her breathing heavily, just walking from her car to the store.

I know some people get disgusted when they see people this large. I've never been one of those people. I get ... sad. I get sad to the point that I have to fight back tears. I've never been that large, but I know what it's like to feel trapped and hopeless. I know what it's like to breathe heavily after a flight of stairs or ache after everyday activities. And I know how it feels to think you can't do anything to change it.

I wanted to go up and hug this woman. I wanted to tell her that I had to come to the store today because, with just a few changes, my pants were too big to let me do yoga without worrying about being indecent. I wanted to, but I didn't. I don't know where I would have started. I didn't want to offend her or upset her more than she's already hurting.

Maybe the reason I didn't talk to her (save my terror of offending people) was because, when I see someone noticeably large, I think, "that could have been me." Or "that could be me." I am particularly paralyzed when that person has oxygen, or can't walk. Even writing it, I'm feeling a tinge of panic.

So, there's my confession. I'm a big girl who's uncomfortable around big people. Not because I look down on them or any of the reasons people tend to dislike obese people. No, I am uncomfortable because I understand how they got there all too well. And even though I'm losing weight and loving my exercise plan for the first time in my life, I'm terrified that I may end up like that.

I hope that woman could feel my heart reaching out to hers, even if I didn't say anything. I hope she knows that she can change it.


  1. I totally know what you mean! Although talking to a total stranger might not be a good idea (for all you know she might already BE on a diet ;)). I definitely think you could talk to someone you know who’s overweight and tell them that you’ve lost weight by making a few changes. Beautiful post. :)

  2. i often feel like talking to seriously obese people i see.

    i am not disgusted or saddened when i see them. the feeling i get is weirder. it's more like they're ghosts, or spirits and i feel like they follow me around. like a reminder of how bad it could get if i don't stay on track.

    needless to say, i don't like it when i encounter other fat people in my life.

    it's not like i don't know that i'm not the only one ... it's just like, when it's just me, i'm not fat. i'm just me. when they're around, i have to be one them, instead of a member of the other club.

  3. Mar, that totally makes sense. I often don't FEEL fat until another heavy person shows up on the scene. I mean, intellectually I know I've got extra pudge, but especially since I'm feeling so much better lately and have more energy, I'm not as hyper-aware of my body's large-ness.

    It's interesting how those of us with some extra are uncomfortable around people like ourselves. It both makes total sense and no sense.