Hidden Strength

A few weeks ago there was a nice little happy thread going on Facebook regarding Starbucks that started with a video Vinnie Tortorich posted where he went to a local store and interviewed patrons about the drink choices they made. I enjoyed the video, and so did most of the people watching it, but as is the norm these days the conversation soon evolved into a sugar argument/discussion. Initially it was a nice little talk, but there’s always one in a crowd and soon one person piped in with …

“The worst experience I had in a Starbucks was a few weeks ago. I went in for my usually late afternoon decaf and the line was huge. Everyone in front of me was fat. I asked someone what was going on and they said it was a half priced frappuccino day. I knew right there that all these fat people in line was what was wrong with America.”

Um …


Luckily for her (yes, astonishingly this insensitive, short-sighted statement was made by a woman) I did not see this post when it was made. My co-host at Back of Pack Endurance DID see it though, and handled it much better than I would have. And it is not the fact that “all the people in front of me were fat” part. That’s an observation, and more than likely true. No, it was the “this is what’s wrong with America statement”. This harkens to “judging a book by its cover”. This woman made a judgment about all of the people in line based solely on the fact that they were fat. A sweeping statement about fat people being the reason for all the troubles in the country. She did not know anyone of them. In that line could have been cancer survivors, firemen (not all are muscular calendar pin ups), teachers, pastors, etc. I will venture to say that people who think like she does is what is wrong with America.

But here’s the thing. I have caught myself making judgments like this also (though never out loud, Thank God). When I see a heavy person I catch myself eyeing them, seeing what they are eating, or ordering. I will be honest and tell you that it irritates me to see heavy people snarfing down crap food like it doesn’t matter, much more so than thin people. It is not a good side of me and not something I like to admit to, but Loyal Readers know that I am brutally honest about others as well as myself. The woman on Facebook, as it turns out, used to be heavy (as she said, over 200 pounds) and I think this is the root of this issue, and of mine. We see in others a reflection of ourselves. While we are IN our bodies we don’t have to deal with how we look, but when confronted by others who we have something in common with, we have to deal with it face-to-face, and it doesn’t feel good. It is a form of self loathing.

I’d love to be the type of person that can eat what ever they want and not feel any consequences. We see them all the time; the thin runner eating huge Sundae’s the day before a race, the athletic triathlete downing 15 gel’s with no gastrointestinal distress. I have voiced many times on these pages that I feel they do a disservice to others by promoting bad habits, but the thing is, it doesn’t matter. I cannot see inside them, and crap is crap. We may not be able to see the damage being wreaked on their bodies, but the damage is there. I show it in belly fat, but others are dropping dead of heart attacks that look much healthier than I do. I have learned, especially in the last 12 months, to not let it bug me so much. It still does, to be sure, but I have to remind myself that I need to just worry about myself and how I represent health to others. It’s all I can control.

I also have found that even though high school was, wow, 33 years ago that people really never outgrow high school. The cool kids are still the cool kids, and I was not one of them then nor now, so going against one will not end well for me. It’s a bit like telling your best friend that his wife is cheating on him. You’ll be the one attacked and vilified. Say something against pre-packaged, multi-level marketed products which a “cool kid” is selling and you will be the one ostracized. The wanna be cool kids will take the side of the popular kid, sucking up to them like it still matters, not wanting to be thrown from a group. It’s pretty sad to watch a grown man or woman do this. Maybe I don’t understand it because I never was one of them, but I cannot envision myself being that way.

So, the point of the post, I guess, is to be careful about projecting your own insecurities and weaknesses onto others. The most beautiful woman or most handsome man could harbor the darkest hearts, while the strongest among us hide in the weakest shell. Be careful who you attach yourself to. Hidden strength is hard to see with just your eyes.

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