So, I’m of an age where I do a prophylactic wee before attempting any type of high impact activity.
I thought of this as I told my morning surfing posse that this week was Brazilian week. My shared information was met with kinda awkward stares. So I explained that far from pubic hair sculpting, this week’s “No lights No lycra” was to a setlist from a well known Brazilian DJ. A well know Brazilian DJ who I didn’t know, but what I knew that what he would be playing would be Brazilian. Fast Brazilian. And my obsession with “So you think you can dance” has taught me that 16 beat treble is for nothing other than sashaying your miniskirt-clad arse all over the dance floor. And as a 42 year old woman whose pelvic floor has been through 3 natural childbirths, I didn’t want to run the risk of pissing my pants in the process.
Or getting a stitch from trying not to.
My planned course of prophylactic action was to be as close as possible to the dark dancing hall in which I hoped to become a south american goddess. Rather than sashaying mini, I had gone the safe option of skorts. Meaning if I felt like a little high leg kick, the punters in the dark wouldn’t get more than they bargained for. I pulled into the servo closest to the hall and feeling like ticking off accomplishments, decided to also fill the car with petrol. I got a few odd stares. Balmy Tuesday night, downtown Torquay, flower skorts on my bum and fluro trainers on my feet. But I smiled at the stares, which turned the stares into smiles. And made me feel a little more at one with the earth.
I went in to pay for my petrol. The guy behind the counter was big. Morbidly big. And cold. Stone dead cold. My smile was left alone as he stared at me and then through me. I tapped my paypass and turned to leave. Thinking to myself, “pull your head out of your arse buddy, smile costs nothing.” I went to get back into my car when I remembered:
I returned inside the servo, found the toilet and locked the door. Mid wee I realised – no toilet paper. But as I said, I’m a mum of 3. So like a prepared boy scout, I rummaged through my crumpler filled with bandaids and dog poo bags to find a pack of tissues. I looked around in the locked room. The UV lights used to deter those looking for a vein showed empty toilet rolls all over the floor and wet tissues on the wall. I double soaped before I left.
I walked over to the morbidly big, stone dead guy. He was bending into the fridge to get himself a coke. I told him that there was no more toilet paper in his toilets. He said nothing. Just stared. Then he opened his can. I fumed.
As I walked away and back to my car I thought about how he was falling a little short of the work required for the minimum wage plus loading he was on. I thought of him as a fat, unmotivated slob who had no pride in his work or pride in himself. It made me feel tall for a second. I made it as far as the door. Where I pulled myself up as my internal dialogue said:
Never judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
Fear feeds anger. Anger feeds hate. Hate feeds suffering.
Think lateral openers, yin forward folds and altar mouna.
It’s so easy to paste a label on someone. To paint a picture of what you think a person is all about based on their presenting profile. Be that of gender, or weight or background. Whether they appear likeable or inherently unlikable. Whether they act and behave like you or so far from how you would ever act and behave. We can be so driven to prove ourself and make a place for ourself – That if ourself isn’t treated as we think it should be treated, sometimes our thoughts can run away into a self-fulfilling and self-righteous place. One of of judgement and prejudice. Where we feel more validated by painting ourselves as winners by pasting a label on others as losers.
The following day at work, we as a room of health professionals discussed “metabolic patients.” These are patients that present to the public health system with a myriad of co-morbidities due to medication taken to manage their schizophrenia or bipolar. While keeping their minds well, the medication makes them increase their weight, increase their cholesterol and increase their diabetes risk. As well as making them loose their visions, they loose their libido and loose their mojo.
Their up days are up.
But their down days are frightening. And dark. And lonely.
I wondered allowed in that room of my peers about my initial harsh judgment of the fat smile-less man. About whether my initial perspective had created a reality that was accurate or true. About whether he was having a crap night at work or had been dealt a crap hand at life. About whether medication that allow some to keep turning up to life is in fact draining the life-force from their very soul. And about how we can better help these people be understood. Or be seen. Or be heard.
By maybe not always expecting a smile back.
By maybe not always expecting an immediate response.
By maybe being a little more kind in our heads and in our hearts, even if where we need to wee is a bit messy.
And for a little while, let someone else be the hero in our story.