Discrimination. It’s 2014 and discrimination is prevalent – everywhere. We all judge – I get that. I get mad at myself when I prejudge or profile someone – and am always so pleasantly surprised when I’m proven wrong – and that’s often. But out and out discrimination – don’t tolerate it. From anyone – to anyone.
Imagine a person – perhaps it’s you or someone you know. That person is very overweight and is petrified of joining a gym. Petrified. She knows she’ll be looked at, judged, talked about. She knows people will look at her oversized pants and t-shirt. They’ll talk. Or laugh. Or stare. She’ll be self-conscious when she does her moves, lifts her weights, walks on the treadmill, tries to balance, takes her zumba class. She’s spent a fortune in gym dues because in that brief brave moment she joined, but her fears kept her from going.
Do you know her? I do.
Now imagine the bravery starts winning. She goes. She starts maybe by just waving her hands in class, but after a few weeks of working very hard she can move her hips better. She’s getting more and more determined and takes different classes. Before her class, she might even get on the elliptical. She’s getting smaller, slowly but surely, and her confidence is growing. Her clothes are changing, her smile is changing. She’s going at more busy hours. She’s lost so much weight. She’s a regular. She became friends with so many. She even hires a trainer.
She lost all the weight she wants, builds confidence she never had before, even starts teaching some of the classes. She’s a star. But now she has to move.
<stay with me for a bit more!>
She’s now in a new city and looks for a gym to join. She even considers that a victory since that was never a priority for her before. And she goes to a new gym and is wearing her new gym clothes – fitted ones this time. She no longer is hiding – she’s proud of the body she worked hard to earn. And right under that big sign that said “NO JUDGMENT” she’s pulled aside from employees and told that there have been a number of complaints about her. She has never been rude to anyone – always encouraged people – she was shocked. No…no….it was not her behavior. It wasn’t her race. It wasn’t any odd piercings. It was that she was toned. Some of the larger members didn’t like that she was in a sports bra top a bid of midriff (not a lot!) showing and fitted capri-pants. They told her that she needed to quit the gym, that her membership would be refunded.
Sometimes we perceive discrimination and sometimes there is actual discrimination. Why would a gym that advertises “No judgment” discriminate against the fit woman? No judgment is not just an advertising campaign to get the overweight to join – it’s NO. JUDGMENT.
Now there was a story last week of a tone woman getting kicked out of pretty famous nationwide gym that advertises no judgment. Was she toned all her life? Maybe. I made up the scenario because that’s how my mind works.
We don’t know the battles that make up each of us. We don’t know that some of us may think we’re 30 pounds overweight when, in fact, we’re 50 pounds overweight or even 5. We don’t know if there are health concerns, depression, utter fear to get started, or any other of a million reasons. We’re the sum of our parts and those parts include a whole mess of psycho-babble as well as medical as well as environmental issues.
I was at Disney World last week and was so impressed at the diversity. There were cast members that were handicapped, overweight, different ethnicities, and all ages. They had one thing in common – they were (or at least acted) happy. Every guest – no matter their age, handicap, weight, height or ethnicity – was treated like they were royalty. I witnessed, for the first time in my life, no evidence of discrimination. No wonder they call it the Happiest Place on Earth.
We come across many people every day. Some may be angry. Some may have extra weight. Some may seem mentally slower than you. Know that you don’t know what makes that person THAT PERSON. And they don’t know what makes you YOU.
Lose the discrimination. You’re not all that. Or maybe – we’re all “all that.”