Monday, April 6, 2015

Sticks and Stones

My chaotic thoughts are in high gear this morning. I'm taking a break from my Camp NaNoWriMo novel project to write a blog entry about something that happened yesterday. I go where the wind blows me. This time it's a good thing, as the topic is an important one.

Over the past 5 years, I have lost about 200 pounds. I have about 80 to go. I used to be a very large woman. I could barely walk and hid in my house because I was embarrassed about my size. My weight gain was caused by a combination of medical problems and depression. Following 2 surgeries to save my life, I started out walking every day. At first I could only walk down my driveway to the street in front of my house. The pain was almost unbearable. Through the tears and frustration, I kept walking until I grew stronger. Every day was a fight. Soon my walks were to the end of the block, then around the block, then all over town. Now, I can walk miles and miles with no problem. I even run 5k races with aspirations to running the Disney Marathon to empower others battling morbid obesity. Am I fast? No. But,I can easily outwalk and outrun many people half my size. I'm now whittling off the last of my extra weight and work to help others gain the strength they need to lose weight, or just get healthy, themselves. 

Fitness and helping others on their healthy journey is my biggest joy in life. :)

Yesterday my husband and I went for a walk. Our town paved a rail trail with asphalt and it's only a short stroll from our house. It's the perfect safe walking trail now and we use it nearly every day. 

Hubby and I are in the midst of a discussion on Biblical history and the effect of Jewish law on modern society when I noticed a car speeding through downtown. The car was loud and driving erratically. Suddenly, an obviously drunk girl or maybe just a severely common sense impaired one, opened a back passenger door and leaned out of the car. With her body hanging half out of the speeding car, she screamed at the top of her lungs (loud enough to echo off the buildings downtown,

"Hey Bitch! If I was as fat as you, I would be out walking too!''  

She pulled herself back into the car with a bit of a struggle and slammed the door. The car sped off.

Now, obviously, the commentary from this person was supposed to hurt my feelings. But in fact, it had the opposite result for several reasons. 

First off, with the exception of the expletive she chose to use, what she said was true. I am overweight. And I was out walking to help solve the problem. Thank you for noticing. 

But more importantly, her outburst filled me with pity and concern for HER. A young person who chooses Easter Sunday to dangerously hang from a speeding car to hurl potentially damaging curse words and nasty comments at a stranger obviously has a bad life. There has to be something incredibly damaging and unhappy in that young lady's family or home life for her to behave that way. I said a quick prayer for her, and for her family. That sort of negativity is damaging, not only to the person she inflicts her hate on, but even more so, to herself. She will pay vast consequences for harboring hate, anger and just plain meanness in her life.

I was instantly glad that I was the target of her words. Does that sound strange? Let me explain. For me the words had no damaging effect. I don't know that person. Her opinion, and anything she has to say, holds no importance in my life, unless it has some intelligence or wit involved. In this case, it didn't. But, what if she had yelled her comment at a depressed person? What if she had picked a damaged, sad, broken person to victimize? Many who battle morbid obesity are really battling mental issues, feelings of insecurity, fear and extremely low self-esteem. In some cases, the weight gain is even PTSD from abuse or other traumatic life events. That thoughtless girl with her cruel words could have caused a weaker, demoralized person to harm themselves, or at the least, completely derailed their will to better themselves. I know this for a fact. I lived it only a few years ago. I hid in my house and hated myself because of my body size. I was ashamed, embarrassed and broken. At that point in my life, those words echoing off the downtown buildings yesterday would have gutted me. 

At this stage, all the words did was empower me. I'm a strong person, physically and mentally. I guarantee you I could outrun that sad, drunk girl any day at a track. Let's line up at the starting line and run...guess who is going to stop first? Ain't gonna be me. So, hurl your mean words at me all day long. If it protects a weaker, defenseless person that she could actually harm, then bring it on. I will be the one standing at the end. No doubt. 

To purposely hurt others has consequences. To be filled with hate has huge negative effects on a person's life. To harm others intentionally, well it does come back around and sting the person 100% of the time. My life is a prime example of this. I was bullied incessantly through several years of elementary and middle school until I stood up for myself. Once, just out of curiousity, I used social media to look up some of the people who made my young life a daily hell. It was a sad litany of unemployment, divorce, alcoholism, depression, drugs, arrests and even prison time. But it didn't cause me any happiness to see how their lives were all slowly swirling around the drain. I felt sorry for them. Just an ounce of kindness, just one thought for someone else, and they all would have been better prepared for the stress and bad situations that happen in all of our lives at one point or another. Negative behavior has lasting consequences. To me, it seems the worst effects wait dormant inside the bullies themselves, just waiting to grab onto them later in life and ruin almost everything they strive to accomplish. 

To all the people who feel the barbs from nasty people, just because someone can say something about you or to you, it doesn't make their words true. Most of the time they are insecure with themselves, and are attempting to feel better or draw attention away from their own inadequacy. Embrace who you are. Surround yourself with people who enjoy who you are. Walk away from those poison people who don't accept you. And when someone says something hurtful, use it as fuel, rather than letting it drag you down. That horrible behavior will cause them a lot of pain and disappointment in life. It's 100% true...what goes around comes around. Karma is a B. 

Stand tall. Keep walking.