One of the reasons I like my new gym lies in the escape it provides me. I don't have to chit chat with anybody. I can just go in, turn off my mind, and turn my stress and anxiety into sweat on the gym floor.
Earlier this week I had an encounter
at the gym that left me both speechless (this does not happen often) and
shocked. For the first time since I started working out, I was
approached by somebody who was apparently angry at all amputees and
wanted to make his opinion known. The rudeness of some people will always be
lost on me.
I was struggling with my shoulder lifts
when this older man approached. I gave him the courtesy hello paired
with a slight nod of my head. He scowled in return.
any introduction, he looked straight into my eyes and proceeded with
his tirade. "You are what is wrong with this country. You should be
ashamed of yourself. Here you are working out and getting disability.
Get off of your lazy a$$ and get a job. Get off welfare, there is
nothing wrong with you. You just don't want to do anything and just want
to stay home collecting my money. You are everything that is wrong with
this country and the reason that we are failing."
I sat still for a few moments as I tried to process. This man, this
individual who has never even said hello to me, is blaming me for the
woes of the country? It didn't take long before I became angry.
took a deep breath in an attempt to steady my voice, stood up, and met
him nose to nose. I was slightly amused that he winced when I stood in
his face. I stared in his eyes for a few seconds before offering my
"Sir, I am not what is wrong with this
country. I have a job. I am not on disability nor am I on welfare. In
fact, I think that you are what's wrong with this country. Your rush to
judgement is the problem. You epitomize both ignorance and intolerance."
stood toe to toe, waiting for a response but he simply slithered away.
With my nerves shaken, I stayed to finish my work-out. My inclination
was to grab my keys and run to the sanctuary of my car, but I also knew
that my message would have been lost had I not stood my ground and
finished the circuit. I was upset, but I had no reason to hide!
haven't seen this man since our showdown, and I am hoping it stays that
way. Confrontation doesn't come easily for me, and I am proud of myself
for standing my ground and defending myself. Perhaps my muscles aren't
the only thing getting stronger!