Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Walmart Cart

"When I see a fat person, I assume they are weak, overindulgent, and lazy. I also see them as not caring enough about themselves to take care of themselves or too stupid to know how. I get irritated when I see someone who is severely obese riding around Walmart or the grocery store in one of those ride-on carts with their basket full of chips and Twinkies. They have eaten themselves into being disabled. How sad."

I recently read the above comment on a forum I frequent. It hit a nerve for me. We all know that the General Public does contain people who assume and make judgements like this. I've heard numerous times how disgusting those people are who are "so fat they have to use a cart to shop" because they can no longer walk. But what shocked me just a little bit was that the above statements were made by an obese person on a weight loss forum. I guess I expected *slightly more* compassion and understanding from someone who has battled with weight.

But have you ever done the same? Have you been in the grocery store and come upon someone who is morbidly obese trucking around in a motorized cart and thought, "Geez, if they would JUST stop eating junk... How can they live like that... I would never let myself go to that point... They really need to WALK to get their food instead of being lazy"? Have you ever felt a little bit of disdain for the big lady in the Walmart cart? Judged her a little? Have you? What do YOU think of someone who is in a cart seemingly because of their weight?

Let me share a little story. Once upon a time there was a blogger. She was a very nice and sweet blogger, a lady who was morbidly obese but was determined to get the weight off. She started eating healthy and exercising and losing weight. She was still very large... at least 250 if I remember correctly... but she started signing up for 5k's. She was doing great! Every time she finished a race she felt so proud. One day as she was walking a 5k her leg started to hurt. She kept walking. It was difficult for her to finish, but she bravely pressed on and completed the 5k. Afterwards, she was exhausted but proud. She needed to go to the grocery store for food, but when she got there her leg was hurting quite badly. She looked at the motorized carts, thought it over for a minute and decided she didn't want to aggravate her possibly injured leg any further, and decided to use the cart to get around for her groceries. She rode around the store, got her things, and drove up to the checkout stand.

In line behind her were two thin ladies. They stared at her in her cart, then began loudly talking about her, saying things like, "It's disgusting that a person uses those carts just because she is FAT! Those are for disabled people" and "If she'd just put down the fork she wouldn't NEED that cart." The blogger sat quietly in her cart, her back to the women, tears welling in her eyes. When she finished her transaction, she went home and cried.

It makes me SO ANGRY that people think they have the right to make universal judgements and then apply them, out loud even, to real people. Yes, those people in the carts are not "THOSE PEOPLE", they are REAL PEOPLE, they are you and I and your mother and your grandma and your best friend. They are everyone and anyone, a human being whose circumstances you cannot POSSIBLY know nor do you have the right to judge. EVERY person has a story. Maybe it is a story of sloth or abuse or ignorance or addiction. Maybe it is a story of loss and love and hurt and joy. Or maybe it is the story of a victim, a hero, a mother, a nurse, a blogger. Maybe it is all of the above. Even a person who rescued a stranger's children from a burning house can end up in a Walmart cart. So can a foster mom who is the heart and hero of many lost children who finally found love. So can your daughter. So can you.

We all have stories. We have good and bad, proud moments and shameful ones. Any person you see at any moment may be at a high or low point or anywhere in between, and you cannot, you simply CANNOT accurately judge them Nor should you try. It's a moment in time and there is no way for us to know what came before or is to come for that person. They are somebody's son, somebody's daughter. Someone loved them once. Someone cares about them. They have feelings.

If this story about the blogger is YOUR story, please let me know. I read this several months ago on a blog I was reading, and I saved it in my brain to write about later. Then, when later came, I couldn't find the blog. I'd be glad to link to your story if you let me know. And let me say this: I have SO MUCH admiration for you and what you are doing. You are brave and wonderful. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. *****Edited to add: Thank you Debbie for sharing your story. Here is a link to the original story on her blog. This event happened after she completed a 5k despite a hurting knee & leg. Debbie is a wonderful person who is working hard to better her health. Check out her blog; she has completed SIX 5k's now. Such an inspiration!*****

Compassion is free. It costs you nothing to have kindness in thought, word, and action for people. And someday, you might like to have the favor returned. Let's try to be compassionate, and instead of thinking the worst about people, think the best. Imagine who that person used to be, might be now, and could become. Be kind. The world will be a better place because of it.


Hanlie said...

Say it, Sister! I couldn't agree with you more! I've often thought about this when I've been in the grocery store - how could the person silently judging me possibly know that I've already been to gym this morning?

Christine said...

My husband is a big guy with bad feet and knees from his football days. I cringe when he wants to use the motorized carts, even after a long and exhausting day of moving, b/c I don't want others to judge my sweetie. Thank you for this post. I should print out a few quotes and tape them to the back of the carts at Walmart. :)

Anonymous said...

i copied your last paragraph onto my fb page and gave you credit - love it - sooo agree- thank you for sharing.

Compassion is free. It costs you nothing to have kindness in thought, word, and action for people. And someday, you might like to have the favor returned. Let's try to be compassionate, and instead of thinking the worst about people, think the best. Imagine who that person used to be, might be now, and could become. Be kind. The world will be a better place because of it.

Ice Queen said...

I remember that original blog post and I remember how hard it hit me. The ability of so called "regular people" to be unthinking and cruel sometimes blows my mind.

Annie said...

I'm a new reader to your blog. What a great story! I just love the last paragraph.

Andra said...

Very thought provoking post. It's not my place to judge the level of someone's disability, in addition to having "been there," I'm also a health care professional with 17 years experience. You never know someone's story until you know their story.

With that said, I don't shop at WalMart anymore, I feel they (as much as any "Big" company) carry a portion of the responsibility for the mess we are in regarding our health and fitness.

I admit that I do get upset when I see people (any people~old, young, fat, skinny) with a cart full up of processed junk food in the market. It's harmful to our precious health no matter where we are in the size spectrum.

theory said...

I agree entirely. And it's also important to extend those thoughts of kindness and compassion to ourselves - even if we are obese, and even if we are not losing weight and yes, even if we did not go to the gym or run a 5K that day.

YMMV, but I know that a lot of my history of binging comes from a place of very strong self-loathing. If I think I'm worthy of respect, I treat myself well, and that includes NOT eating until I burst. But as soon as I slip back into, "I'm so big, I'm so disgusting," there I am on a binge again.

People are afraid. Thin people are afraid that they will "lose control" someday and become like the fatties in their carts. So if they tell themselves, and everyone in earshot, that the fatties just need to make better choices, then they feel safe and absolved. And fat people are afraid of being noticed, called out for their percieved laziness. We're all walking around and judging and making decisions based on these fears.

But where do they get us? Just full of more loathing, for ourselves and for others.

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! You never know what someone has been through, until you have walked a day in thier shoes.

Paula Rodriguez said...

I've been guilty of judging people but then I immediately try and put myself in their shoes and it changes my perspective.

I once had lunch with a group of thin people at a chinese restaurant. When I ordered the pork fried rice, they all nearly gasped. One said "Paula! you're not ordering the steamed rice?." I was like "no, I liked fried rice." I really didn't realize I was making an unhealthy choice. I was just eating what I liked. After I returned, I thought about it and I was embarassed. I never went out to lunch with the ladies again... didn't want to be judged.

Being judged feels like crap. Sing it Lynn...

Melissa said...

I totally agree! Thank you so much for posting this!

Debbie said...

You don't know how much this post meant to me. This was from my blog a couple of months ago and I carry this hurt with me still. Thank you so much..

He Took MY Last Name said...

I have judged too, but it was never in disgust. It was actually sorrow and well, pity. Its sad when you get to that point. HOWEVER being that I have been wheel-chair bound myself on a few occasions that arent weight related, I entirely understand the woman's point of view. I'd have taken the cart too. And I would have told those "ladies" too!

They may be skinny, but they definitely didn't have any class, and you know what? They will get what is coming to them for being so mean to someone. What goes around, comes around.

Margie M. said...

Our society has become very judgemental. How did that happen? I think that a lot of people poke fun of others due to their own insecurities and fear of "being like them". If the shoe were on the other foot they might see things differently. It is a sad commentary on Americans and the world as a whole that we judge others so harshly. You said it: compassion is so easy and costs us nothing. A kind word or a friendly smile can go a long way to making someone feel wanted, loved and special. I hope that everyone who reads this post will think about it when they, too, see someone in a motorized scooter/cart. Do not judge.

Margie M. writes at:

NewGilmoreGirl said...


Alison C. said...

Theory has a good point that a lot of people are afraid of being that person in the cart. Whenever I see a person in the cart, or anywhere else struggling simply to carry their own body weight around, I say a simple little prayer, something like this: Lord, please bless that person and help them through whatever struggles they may be dealing with. Please bless me as well, and I thank you for the level of health and fitness I currently have.

I think that little prayer is a reminder that I could be that person in the cart, and keeps me humble. Thanks for a thought-provoking post (although it really was painful to read about that blogger's story).

beerab said...

I usually feel sad for them because I wonder if they struggle like I do with my weight :(

I have never EVER been rude to someone for their weight- it's just not right- I don't know their situation. Even if it's because they just eat a lot they may have others issues- who am I to judge?

Amanda said...

I know for a fact that the person in a motorized cart could easily have been me. I'd stopped getting on the scale and was showing no signs of stopping. I had my wake-up call blessedly early (I weighed 200 pounds, which my elder son delightedly announced to the entire grocery store)... but if that hadn't happened I don't know when I would have stopped.

Yep, compassion is free. More folks should avail themselves of it. Well stated, Lyn.

-J.Darling said...

I can't say I've done that - but we are all judged by our appearances to a certain extent.

When a mordibly obese friend of a friend asked me out on a date, I said sure. He was a nice guy and we had a lot in common. But in the end, there were 2 deciding factors that kept him in the "friend" zone. And one of them was his weight.

In the dating world, some sort of physical chemistry/attraction needs to exist. While there was a small spark there, it was overwhelmed by the fact that he was so big, his entire family was big, and he wasn't actively working on it.

Now, I've been where he is. (Not 40 something, single, and morbidly obese, but I've been obese.)
We're still friends, but I don't hang with him to often because I know my weaknesses, and I'm so terrified of going back to my old ways of eating (which is oh-so-easy when surrounded by company who have no trouble with overindulging), that I find I keep those that tempt me back into the life-style at a little further distance.

Don't get me wrong; I'm glad to help if someone wants to lose. Some of my dearest friends in life have been obese. But as far as a life-partner, I just can't do it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post...I think we're all guilty of passing judgment at some point in our lives. For me, I’ve found I do it less and less as the years role by because I’ve lived more and had more judgment passed on me by others. Of course I’m a bit of a bitch, and if it were me at that checkout I would have turned around, given those women my best “you are lower than a slug” look and probably told them what they could do with their opinions. Then flash a smile and tell wish them a nice day. Because at this point in my life a strangers word might hurt a bit, but I won’t let them get me down or take me out!

Anonymous said...

I can really relate to how the blogger in your story felt... I have been overweight my entire life and when I was 17 and uninsured I severely sprained my ankle and couldnt afford to go to the hospital for it... I had the choice of using those carts or hopping and possibly falling down at the store and so I used to carts.. and I heard the mutters about me being lazy:( It really hurts.

Once Upon A Dieter said...

When I'm out alone shopping, I tend to be either singing to myself or having a mental conversationw with myself or praying (ie, just talkign to God as I go about my day).

I have on occasion seen morbidly obese folks in the carts. My thoughts are usually, "That could be me." Cause it could be. I have bad knees and a bad ankle (from a severe injury in childhood, the ankle). Weight has made my knees very iffy and the left one can be unstable. It's not inconceivable that, if I do not lose this weight pretty soon, I will have serious issues requiring surgery and, gasp, mobility aids.

I don't want to use the cart.

So, when I see the cart-users, I pray for me (my own weight loss and knees) and for them (that they get healthier, too, and heal up) and I am thankful for another day on my own two feet.

I will judge the items in the cart, not the person. Just like I'll berate my own choices at times---why did you order a pepperoni pizza, woman!??? If I see a morbidly obese man or woman with a cart full of junk food, I will think, 'Man, you do not need that. Neither do I."

I don't think that's being harsh on the person. Whether an obese person just ran a 5k or just came from a marathon of movie-watching on the couch, we shouldn't be eating that stuff. Period. That means ME. So, if I can judge my choices, I can judge the choices of someone like me. BUT...I do not believe I have the right to hate, insult, demean, look down on, or otherwise marginalize a fat person or, for that matter, an anorexic who's only buying lettuce and plain yogurt cups.

And I'll go further: I will more harshly judge a normal weight mom buying crap for their kids, because we are well aware now of the huge dangers to children of letting them have all the sugar and HFCS and junk their little hearts desire--be it in a sugary cereal or a cupcake or soda or frozen fatty pizzas. That is poisoning kids, imo, and is way worse than an adult self-choosing poorly. When we choose for others, the bar is higher, imo.

But it's always good to remember: There but for--insert your deity or philosophy or force or nonforce here--go I.

CAuse it's the truth. We could be THAT person wishing to be given the human dignity we all deserve.

Anonymous said...

I would not have just sat quietly crying. I would have told the two woman "a thing or two". People can't run over you unless you let them. If I'd also been in the line...I would have still told the women off.

I would never say anything about an obese or handicapped person. As for rude people...that's entirely different.

Joanna said...

Great post.

I always have compassion for someone in a cart, in fact anyone disabled or obese. But I freely admit I have to work a little harder to find that compassion if said cart is loaded with pure junk.
...However, it's my general distaste for "quick food" - junk, how it's marketed, and a kind of frustration (aaah I suppose it is judgemental) for the situation of someone suffering limited mobility that "challenges" me.

I'll be more mindful. Thank you

GeorgiaBE said...

Wonderful post...I think we're all guilty of passing judgment at some point in our lives. For me, I’ve found I do it less and less as the years role by because I’ve lived more and had more judgment passed on me by others. Of course I’m a bit of a bitch, and if it were me at that checkout I would have turned around, given those women my best “you are lower than a slug” look and probably told them what they could do with their opinions. Then flash a smile and tell wish them a nice day. Because at this point in my life a strangers word might hurt a bit, but I won’t let them get me down or take me out!

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

I'm glad Debbie (another Debbie, not me) identified the story as hers...I remember reading it on her blog as well. BTW She has kept on walking a lot, and did NOT let those two you-know-whats get to her.

Whenever I see someone obese (with or without a cart of junk food), I see sadness and I feel compassion. I am them, they are me. I've felt the pain of being obese, and continue to feel the pain of struggling with binges.

No judgements here.

Melanie said...

Everyone has a story. We should not be so quick to judge. My 12 yr. old son had to use a wheelchair for a while because of the effects of brain cancer. He told me he felt that people looked at him and thought he was a poor crippled boy. He was diagnosed in August 2009 and fought the deadliest form of brain cancer for 4 months. He was never able to get treatment. He went to Heaven one day before he was scheduled for the 2nd time for chemo and radiation.
I started a new blog in his honor. You can find it here if you are interested in MY story. http://www.seemymomrun.com/
Thank you for sharing part of yours.

Spaghetti Cat said...

I agree compassion is FREE people. Personally I learned the hard way about "invisible health issues". I have a friend whos daughter has a rare heart issue- her house is full of medical equipment, and her chest is full of scars from multiple surgeries. When she is having a good day- and she is dressed- she looks like a normal child right? So people look at her mom like she is nuts when the daughter falls down and scrapes her knee and its an emergency. They don't know how a possible cut or infection could be a huge implication.

Myself personally? I had a cyst in my brain. Obviously, you couldn't see it, for a while i didn't know it was there. I would get very dizzy or sick and just have to sit and wait for my husband.

I never had to ride around in a motorized cart because honestly when i was having a bad day, moving was not really an option. I just had to sit there and hope it would pass.

I am sure people looked at me, 215 pounds, sitting on the bench where ever I was and thought- wow, I hope I am never like that. I have heard comments and the point is there are so many "invisible" things that people don't even think about.

They see fat and that is it. In fact when I started having issues which led them to find the cyst in my brain, they kept insisting it was my heart. I told them. NO, I know my body. Yes I am obese, but I workout. I eat too junk, but its NOT my heart.
Still they had to test me for several things. I even had to wear a hollter for i think 2 weeks. Then they decided, oh well MAYBE we will get you a ct scan MRi and boom there it was.

I admit- when I was younger I did think like that. I was shallow and had been taught fat people were lazy, and anyone who was fat, was that way because they didnt know any better.

I have come a LONG way in knowing that absolutely is NOT the case.
If anything my heart just breaks for these people who are being treated so poorly, based on how they look, because there is a lot more to a person then just how they look.

Anonymous said...

I have an aunt who has battled her weight for as long as I can remember. Decades ago she took me out for ice cream-- I had been a good kid and she had lost 25 lbs. People said very nasty things about her because of that ice cream and even as a child I was angry about the injustice of the comments.

People who make comments like that need a slap.

Traci said...

What a story. My mom uses those carts all of the time. She's obese as well, but needs them because she is disabled. She has a bad back and can not walk long enough to get shopping done. I'm so amazed that the girls behind her were saying things out loud right behind her or at all. How horrible.

Mary from Sugar Bush Primitives said...

I do not understand how people can be so cruel to other people, but I know that often they speak out of fear. The overweight person who posted on that message board may fear that people are thinking that about him/her. And the skinny girls in the grocery line? They may fear that this could happen to them. So to contain the fear, they act in judgement. If they can pinpoint a perceived behavior, then they can avoid the same fate. The mind is a curious thing, but I don't think there are too many people who ever regret erring on the side of kindness.


Theresa said...

People are so judgemental, hurtful and downright wicked. Many of them pretend to be good faithful loving people and then judge people so poorly. I agree that it is a frightening thought to "end up like that".....but we all could. An injury, medical condition, depression etc. could take us one extra step out of health and into the spiral. Here's another link that blew me away. (I'm commenter # 52) ;)


Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, Lynn. And so very true. I have a dear friend who's morbidly obese and quite ill now; she's been insulted and laughed at and hurt deeply in public so many times she's lost count. And she's a loving, caring and compassionate person who deserves much better from the world.

Thank you for speaking up about the terrible meanness people are capable of. My eyes are open.

~HoneyB~ said...

I had some problems with my last pregnancy and although i should not have been walking around and should have used the cart I refused to do so because of this very thing. I know thats what ppl think, because if I am honest with myself I think those same things. I was huge preggers and very very fat... I thought ppl might assume I was just obese and knew they would think I was in the cart because of my fat. Sad but true.

I think I am more conscious of what others think because of growing up with my father. (I was never heavy until I gave birth) He was a MPLS firefighter and I can remember on several occasions after a call they responded to if the person in need was obese he and the guys would say all kinds of reallllllyy bad crap. Same with the paramedics, same with the police officers....

I dont like that I or any one else feels this way, but its there. I think it sad, but its one of those realities.

Amy said...

I'll admit it. I have judged too and I will avoid doing it (put my feet in their shoes more)

My fustration comes when I am at a place like Disneyland and my kids practically get run over all the time from the carts. If you are going to use a cart, be careful and respectful.

Beautiful post.

GinniG said...

WELL SAID!!!!! I was a skinny minnie when I was young. Couldn't gain weight even tho I tried. That all changed when I hurt my back. And so did my attitude towards "fat people". Now I pray for them. Obviously they need compassion and caring! Maybe like me they got fat because of all the drugs they had/have to take and they can't move around. We just never know and can't afford to judge! Now I hold the door open for them, reach for the tallest shelves for them (because I'm tall you see) and I smile at them because you never know when they received their last smile. God bless all of you out there!!!

Anonymous said...

Great, great post! Thank you!

Karen said...

WOW...I too have had judgmental thoughts about other morbidly obese people. In my case I really think its really self loathing but its wrong no matter what.

Great post, Lyn...and I too am going to remember the price of compassion from now on.

McCulley's said...

LOVE this post, brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing. I get so angry to hear people judging others!

Sweeter than Sugar said...

Awwh that story almost made me cry!

And about your last paragraph; a homeless man told me something very similar once in a discussion. He said: "Good manners don't cost anything"

How true. So why do people seem to find it so hard to at least be polite if they can't manage compassionate?

Anonymous said...

We live in a culture that is cruel and looks the other way when children are abused. Many of us are walking post-trauma shells of our former selves. Some of us can't walk, we need to ride. A Christian nation? Hah! That will be the day.

Anonymous said...

I consider that quote at the top of your post to be nothing less than hate speech.

I no longer "read" as fat so I don't spend much time worrying about people judging me for my weight, but every single time I take my little girl into a grocery store I face ugliness from other shoppers. She throws tantrums, she's loud, she occasionally releases a blood-curling scream for no reason. She's autistic, you see, but other people look at her and see a brat. And look at me and see a bad mommy. I get comments just like Debbie did from those awful thin women. I've stood in line while complete strangers bonded over what a shame it is that so many kids these days are undisciplined little monsters. Sometimes I speak up; some days I'm just too tired and defeated to bother.

Having a disabled child has changed the way I see the world. When I see an obese person in a riding cart, I don't think they are there because they ate themselves into a disability -- I assume that an underlying problem caused their obesity. How many people can really just eat their way up to 400 pounds? The vast majority of the population never could, regardless of how much effort they put into it.

This is long and I apologize for that, but I want to comment on the posting made by Once Upon A Dieter: "And I'll go further: I will more harshly judge a normal weight mom buying crap for their kids."

Well, if you see me in the store, I imagine you'll be judging me harshly too. You'll see me buying candy for my kid and decide that I'm a horrible mother... not knowing that my child is autistic and the candy I'm buying is used by her many, many therapists as a reinforcer for her therapy.

Lyn said...

Anonymous (the last one)~

EXCELLENT comment! And I agree. NO reason to judge... usually, assumptions are wrong.

I have bought 'junky' stuff too sometimes. People want to snark but when I am buying a special treat for a child who is going through a painful surgery or medical procedure, or buying something for a child who has eating issues from being on a ventilator, I don't need the judgements either.

Mrs. Thighs said...

Bravo, Lyn! Your post definitely hit home for me and I hope that anyone who reads your beautiful words will think twice about how they treat others.

Fat Grump said...

Just wanted to say great post Lyn. You are right. Kindness costs nothing.

I wonder if I am alone though, in that since I have been a 'big' woman I have become very conscious of other people around me who are also big. I am not judging - I know how easy it is to gain weight and how hard it is to lose it - but I am aware of the way people move, the space they take up and even the sorts of things they put in their supermarket trolleys. I guess if I am aware others are too. Not long ago I did hear a woman in the queue saying "The mobilty scooters are for the elderly or the fat."

Like you say, we haven't a clue about the circumstances others find themselves in or the stories behind their frames..their fat or thin bodies.

I'd also imagine that every big person is only too aware of how big they are. Hurtful criticism from strangers just isn't nice, fair or constructive.

screaming fatgirl said...

Regarding the weight loss forums (the source of this), I have found that the women there are some of the most bitter and judgmental. You'd think they'd have compassion, but I think they resent the changes they have made and can only justify them by harshly judging those who don't make those changes. Many of them are suffering food addicts who force themselves to deny themselves anything pleasurable. They have to believe a Twinkie here or there will kill you so that they can feel their sacrifice is not only worthwhile, but vital to success.

I do wonder if the forum you're referring to is 3 Fat Chicks, since there are quite a few women there with serious issues when it comes to pat judgments of others.

As for me, I always assume obesity is caused by the problem than put them in the cart, not the other way around. And I do not concern myself with the contents of anyone's cart. It's not my business nor are the contents of my cart their business. I don't live in their skin or their shoes. I don't know what they need psychologically or physically. Maybe they "need" food for comfort because they have much hardship in their lives. Needing food as a "drug" is not something to be condemned anymore than needing drugs or alcohol. They're all part of the same problem, and all those problems deserve compassion, not condemnation.

I think the need to judge is based mainly in the self-loathing of others. They really aren't happy with themselves or their lives and derived some small ego boost by putting other people down. It's an elevation of self at the expense of others. They deserve pity as well, but their poor behavior makes it much harder to find compassion for them.

Dinah Soar said...

Isn't it the same deal though when fat people are jealous of thin people, assuming they can eat whatever they want--when the reality is they probably can't eat whatever they want?

You have made the comment in several past posts about seeing people eating/buying food and thinking to yourself 'not fair'.

When you post such it makes me think you are jealous and making assumptions about those people and judging them.

It cuts both ways, this judgment thing.

Just sayin...I've done it too...been jealous of the thin, thinking they've got it made.

It's easy to see things from our own perspective.

Being unloving is just wrong period. But no one has a corner on deserving love..even hateful people are in need of it.

As someone once said 'those who need love the most are the hardest to love'.

I'd find it hard to love those who ridicule others because of an infirmity. But loves demands I do it.

LHA said...

lVery, very well-written post and also excellent comments. There is so much truth in what everyone is saying.

I have been obese for many years. A number of years ago, I had driven my disabled mother to have her hair done. When I returned to pick her up, I hung her handicapped parking sticker from the rear veiw mirror and pulled into the handicapped spot in the strip mall where her beauty shop was located(so that she could walk to the car with me) and went in to get her. When we got back to the car, there was a handwritten note under my windshield wiper. It said, "Why don't you go on a diet and quit using handicapped parking that real disabled people need, you BIG, FAT, SLOB!"

My mother died thirteen years ago, so that episode was probably over fifteen years in the past, and I sitll remember the horrible feeling I had when I read that note. It was like being slapped in the face, or horsewhipped in public.

Lyn said...


Jealousy and judgement are not the same thing.

If I SEE a person eating fried chicken and I wish I could have it, too, that is in no way judging them. I just want the chicken. I do not assume anything about that person nor their life.

MB said...

What a beautiful post!

clickmom said...

When see photos of me at my heaviest I see fear and pain. When I see any obese person I see all the pain and fear that brought me to the same place and all I want to do is put my arms around them and tell them they are worth more and deserve to be taken better care of. I know their paths are their own, but I always see my own pain.

Erin said...

I think where we used to keep our judgements or less then politically correct thoughts to ourselves, we used to know better then to say them. and with the anonimity of the internet sights like peopleofwalmart.com exists where there are photos of the people on the walmart carts and lots of nasty comments to go with them.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Yes to every word in this post. I honestly don't judge people for what's in their cart or whether or not they are riding. I always know that like you said, there is a story there and a person with feelings.

Dinah Soar said...

Lyn...I agree--seeing someone eating chicken and wanting it isn't jealous or judgmental...but deeming it 'not fair' that they get to eat it and you/I don't...what's that then?

When you/I *think/say/deem* 'not fair' we've made a pronouncement-- an assessment-- based on something. If that is not a judgment, then what is? Isn't a judgment the formation of an opinion based on a consideration or deliberation?

Lyn said...


'not fair' is the immediate, immature reaction of a child who can't have something they want. Which is what I am dealing with when my inner child stomps her food for a candy bar (or fried chicken).

Thankfully, I am growing in maturity and can understand, now, that I *can*, in fact, have any food I desire... but that *I* really do not desire those foods because of their consequences to me. And that is perfectly fair.

Results Not Typical Girl said...

Wonderful goose-bumpy post. Thank you for writing it. I was reminded of my own experience being judged and you took 27% of that experience's shame away and replaced it with compassion and pride. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I hope you don't mind but I put a link from my blog to it.

barry said...

Great post, I think we all make quick descisions and assumptions of people on a quick snap shot. We don't seem to consider the whole package or person. Again thought provoking post.

Lanie Painie said...

When I see somebody in that situaton, I alway try to consider two things (1) that maybe the person was unable to walk and that's why they became obese and (2)that person may have just lost 10 lbs and is working hard to lose more.

Your post is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

Lyn you have a blog award today over at my blog.


Rose B. said...

Very sad. I often have compassion on the lady using a motorized cart because I think she must have had an injury, hardship in life, etc. But I have judged really thin, thin women who have their chest caving (skeletal) in with bags under the eyes. Then I remind myself that I shouldn't assume they are anorexic, bulimia, etc. They also might have hardship, etc. and have turned to exercise or something else to get to where they are. Or they may have Crohns or something that causes them to eat very little. It goes both ways. My sister-in-laws are naturally very thin and they are just really busy kind of people and they have been in tears after people comment on their thinness and make assumptions about them. So all of us have to be careful not to judge. Thanks for your post.

DrTejas said...

Beautifully written! This post will stay with me for a long time, hopefully forever. I hope we can all be more mindful of our everyday actions and remember that compassion is free. Thanks for giving me more food for thought =)

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

I agree with you 100%, well said, as always!

Christie said...

I have tried before to think of a time when its okay to look at someone and make a judgement but I have failed. There is usually someone out there that has a story that would make that judgement seem harsh or unnecessary. So I quit doing it and I feel much better now.

Wendy said...

I'm reading your blog from the beginning & got to this entry. I mentally added-So she backed up the cart & ran over their feet & said 'And that's why I'm riding today. I just ran a 5k & my feet hurt.