Being Invisible And Obese

by sandi on May 20, 2015

Obese and InvisibleThis blog is going to be a bit of a rant.  Last week in the gym I came across the most awful example of how “invisible” we are as obese people.  I was swimming and finished my 45 minutes of laps and was giving myself 5 minutes in the hot tub as a reward.  As I got in and stared off into space my reverie was distracted by a large, yes obese woman who was at the deep end of the pool and had attempted to climb down the ladder and was now sitting on the concrete.  I hadn’t noticed her falling, and she didn’t appear to be in pain, so I went off into my happy place again.

About 2 minutes later she was still sitting on the concrete, and now she was scooting her rear towards the wall.  I thought to myself, “OK she is going to use the wall to try to get up.” Nope, she just sat there.  I remembered what it was like to weigh 424 pounds and find myself sitting in a chair and trying to get up.  Then I thought again, hmmm, I wonder if she is stuck and too embarrassed to ask for help. 

I looked around and I was the only other woman in the pool and hot tub area.  There were 6 men, half of them under 50 and pretty fit and they hadn’t even noticed anything out of the ordinary.  I decided to investigate.

I stepped out of the hot tub, walked the length of the pool to where the woman was sitting, and to preserve her dignity bent over and whispered to her – “Do you need a little help getting up?” She looked at me and said, “Yes I do, I thought I could climb down the ladder but I couldn’t.  I have a neck injury and so my movement is limited.  I don’t want to hurt you so I thought I’d just sit here until the water aerobics instructor showed up.” That would not be for 25 more minutes.  How awful for this woman.  I told her my upper body was pretty strong and I would brace myself on the wall and she could use my arm as a handrail.  She did, she got up and thanked me, hugged me as a matter of fact, and I accepted her thanks, gave her a hug back and went on my way.

Could you imagine if that poor woman, no, could you imagine if YOU had to sit there mortified, on cold concrete, in your bathing suit for 30 minutes waiting for someone to help you get up? 

I have been in uncomfortable positions over the years as a result of my obesity and have this to say to the rest of the world – FAT doesn’t make you invisible.  We are human beings, and if a small woman had been in the same situation I bet all 6 of the guys at the pool would have got up and helped her.

By the way, before I left the woman, I did tell her she deserved congratulations for showing up 5 days a week for water aerobics.

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