I am not a big believer in, well, anything but science. But I do believe karma kicked me in the ass the last couple of years. And the reason I call it karma is because I know I had it coming.
You see, I used to be pretty judgmental about overweight people. Until the last few years, I was one of those skinny, smug, healthy people that would cringe when I discovered I would be sitting next to an overweight person on a plane. I would silently judge when I saw an overweight person buying junk food at the grocery store. I would exchange knowing glances with my skinny, smug, healthy friends if I would see an overweight person struggle up the escalator while we took the stairs.
That was me. I am not proud of it, but I know it was me. Until karma came to pay me a visit in the form of Cushing’s disease. I turned into one of those people I used to love to judge – fat, slow, unhealthy. On the few occasions I left the house – I started getting those looks I used to give other people. I started to feel defensive when I shopped for groceries and worried people were checking out the contents of my cart to see what exactly I was eating that was making me so big. The worst was going to my cardiologist’s office. He was a cardiologist that specialized in athletes. I could feel my face get hot and see the looks of disdain once I got out of the waiting room, as people clearly wondered “Why is he seeing HER?”
It stung. And it made me mad. These people didn’t know shit about me. They didn’t know how healthy I was before, how sick I was now and that this was not my fault! I have enough problems already without your disapproving looks or, worse yet, suggestions on how I should get more exercise and change my diet (this even from doctors who knew I was sick and frankly should have known better). I ran 8 marathons between 2007 and 2011, before getting sick, and weighed 125 pounds for years. Don’t you think I KNOW how to keep my weight down? If it were really that simple, don’t you think I would be skinny right now? And furthermore, even if I DID do this to myself? Who the hell were they to judge me?
More than anything, this whole experience made me really ashamed. I never fully realized how hurtful these judgements were until I was the fat person on the receiving end of it. I certainly never realized how ugly the people delivering the judgements looked either. Now, I know better. I wish I could go back and make amends somehow, but chasing down fat people in Whole Foods and airports and apologizing profusely was unlikely to receive a warm reception.
And so, I will offer my apology here. I was not respectful to overweight people. I made jokes, I rolled eyes, I checked out shopping baskets in grocery stores, I judged. Whether someone is overweight because they got Cushing’s or because they made lifestyle choices that caused their weight gain? It doesn’t matter. It was wrong. IT IS WRONG. I am really, truly sorry and ashamed that I judged. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. It is unfortunate I had to get Cushing’s to figure this out – but I am glad I did.