I admit to judging thin people when I was obese. I would look at a thin person and think that it just wasn’t fair that they were thin and I was fat. I know it’s unfortunate and petty that I felt that way – but it’s the truth. I even made snide comments under my breath when I drove past people running, walking or biking. I’d whisper to myself, “What a show-off.”
I didn’t judge other heavy people when I was obese because I understood how they felt. I knew the pain of trying on clothes only to find that nothing fit. I knew the embarrassment of having to get out of the amusement park ride because the bar didn’t come down over my stomach and I had experienced the shame of being the heaviest person in the room.
This weekend I experienced something interesting. I was looking through the clearance rack at Macy’s alongside several other shoppers. As I was flipping through the out-of-season clothes a lady next to me said, “What do you think of this?” I looked up and realized she was talking to me. (Remember I’m in the South where everyone talks to each other.) She was holding up a pink top that was nice. I said, “It’s a nice shirt – it will probably look great on you.”
She looked at me and said, “I wish I was thin like you. You’ve never had to worry about whether or not you can find clothes that fit you.” I was surprised that she said that to me, because even though we are in the South, there are some things you just don’t say. I laughed and told her a bit of my story. We had a nice conversation and went our own separate ways.
The encounter made me think about the dangers of making an assumptions about people based on appearance. Just because I am a certain size now doesn’t mean I was always this size. And just because I was morbidly obese for 10 years didn’t mean I was always morbidly obese.
The woman at the store assumed that I wouldn’t understand her clothing struggles because I had always been this size-but she was wrong. Just like when I assumed that thin people running alongside of the road were “showing-off” to make me feel bad about my own lack of exercise. Both assumptions are unfortunate and can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
I don’t know if you have ever felt judged by other people because of your appearance. If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Since I’ve lost weight, I’m very careful to not judge or assume anything about someone just because of how they look.
Have you ever had people make assumptions about you? How did you feel? Diane