I'm sitting at the basketball court near my block just chilling away and there is this man wearing a gray Army singlet jogging non-stop along the entire perimeter of the basketball court. Round and round continuously he goes with no sign of letting up it's making him seem almost machine-like. The man would be classified as obese by army standards.
I'm wondering why he's having a constant smile on his face as he continues to push himself. Maybe he's feeling good with the rush of endorphins that comes with exercise. Maybe he's feeling good about the fact that he's putting in effort doing something for his own good.. or maybe he's smiling away the torturous ordeal; you know, folks do go over the edge sometimes when they find themselves right smack in the middle of something tedious at best or torturous at worst - mentally, emotionally or physically. Pushed far enough, grimaces of extreme exertion or pain can transform into smiles of irony instead.
What I'm trying to get at here is that running endless circles non-stop is torture for an obese person.
Which is the reason why I'm finding myself filled to the brim with admiration and respect for the running man before me. Actually, it doesn't matter which possibility mentioned above explains the constant smile on his face and it doesn't matter if there are other possibilities (like there are folks so friendly and jovial they have a constant permanent smile etched on their faces like a birth-mark or tattoo), as far as I'm concerned, I admire this obese man for his determination and courage.
Did I mention it's torture for an obese person to keep running non-stop in circles?
Determination and courage. Yup, I've just used those two words. Let me explain the determination part first:
When I was going through basic military training that began on the 8th of June, 1995 at Pulau Tekong, we bumped into the recruits from the obese camp on several occasions and let me tell you, what would seem like a normal everyday task or exercise to a slim non-obese person like me can be hell for the obese person.
Whenever I run across obese folks on my running route, I get reminded of the fact that they are having it a lot tougher than me and for them, they have to put in a heck lot more effort than I have to, all things other than weight being equal.
It stands to reason that they have the determination since they are having it tougher as compared to slim folks like me. As it is, I'm already at the target spot they are trying so hard to reach. For me, it's just maintenance while for them, it's something they are fighting for with every drop of sweat that falls from them. They have my respect for that.
And now, the courage part:
Hands up for those of you who have witnessed obese folks getting ridiculed and made fun of because of their weight or body frames. It's a mean world we live in and I'm sure that lots of obese folks in the world have faced or are facing loud mockeries from others at worst, or silent discriminatory eye gazes at the mildest end of the scale.
Therefore, don't you think it takes a lot of guts for an obese person to exercise in public by choice? Maybe there are those who just couldn't give a damn about whether others laugh at them or ridicule them. Good for them, I say. Just keep doing your thing, believe in yourself and give the finger to those who mock you. Afterall, those who are putting in effort to gain something for themselves deserve respect rather than those having it easier that mock.
But for those who are sensitive or self-conscious, it takes a lot of courage. How many of us can truly say that we are courageous? That's something we all need to ask ourselves before we start talking shit about those having it harder than ourselves. Bottom line here is, the one who needs to pluck out courage to expose his or her flaws to the world and work on it deserves respect rather than the one who doesn't need to go through the same circumstance.
Slim detractors may say that obese folks brought it upon themselves by having failed to control their diet (though obesity can be caused by other factors too). That may mostly be true of course, but everybody makes mistakes, don't we? Sometimes, the one that puts in effort to right the wrong that he or she has done deserves as much respect as the one that prevents himself or herself from comitting wrongs. Both can be just as courageous too.
On the flip side of the coin, those who are obese and loathe their condition but choose to do nothing about it, they owe it to themselves. Only they themselves can help themselves. Making up their minds about it would be a great start. I have nothing to say regarding those who are obese and don't give a damn about it. Not giving a damn is a choice too. Their call, their prerogative.
So yeah, everytime I see an obese person running and exercising, I get encouraged and motivated by them. I tell myself that if they can do it, so can I. Just because you have it easier doesn't mean that there is no possibility of you falling into the trap of complacency. Just because you have it easier doesn't mean that you can do without encouragement and motivation to carry on.
I feel like going over to the running man before me, give him a pat on his shoulder and tell him: "Keep it up, brother.. and thanks for the encouragement and motivation."
But I, who is a stranger to him, don't wanna scare him or interrupt him, so I'll just quietly blog about him here and whisper a 'Thank You' in his direction.
If only he knew that he is making me feel guilty (in a positive way) about myself for having put off my runs and exercises on hold for the longest time. It's high time that I get off my butt and start taking care of myself by exercising and running again, thanks to the running man at the basketball court.
-De Lion Speaks