There are times in my lupus battle when I feel karma is being delivered. Every bad thought I had about someone, every judgment I made, is heaped upon me. It’s odd to remember thinking or saying things that seemed so insignificant at the time, but perhaps had a bigger ripple effect than I realized.
Sometimes, I think about the movie “Sliding Doors,” in which a woman’s entire life is determined by whether she makes it to the train or misses the train. I think about things I’ve said or done. Perhaps, if I’d made a different choice, my life would be different. I know this isn’t completely true (at least, I hope not), but I’ve thought about it enough that I felt I should write about it.
Let me offer some examples.
Once upon a time, I was a personal trainer. A woman who came to the gym was so thin that we suspected she had an eating disorder. She ran on the treadmill almost daily for at least an hour and a half, and I thought on many occasions that she needed a cheeseburger!
I am guilty of seeing thin women in restaurants ordering salads and requesting “this” not be included or “that” be put on the side, and again, I think: “That woman is so thin that she needs all the stuff she’s excluding and a cheeseburger.”
Now, I am the skinny woman who removes certain ingredients and asks for things on the side because eating them will give me issues. Now, people may look at me with similar thoughts, and some even express them.
I was once going through airport security when I was informed my flight was delayed. The man taking my bags told me I now had time to eat.
I laughed, and asked, “Did you just say I was too skinny?”
He replied, “I’m just saying, they don’t have collard greens, fatback, and hog maw [whatever that is], but you got time to eat.” All I could do was laugh at his boldness.
In parking lots, I often slowed my car to allow someone to cross as they either entered or exited a store, and some moved slowly. I thought, “At least move like you mean it.”
Well, guess what? With these lungs, my fast pace is slower than others’ slow paces. With hip, knee, and ankle pain as constant companions, I don’t move very fast because it hurts and leaves me winded. I sometimes feel guilty if people insist I go in front of them, because I don’t “look sick” without my walker, and they will be annoyed by my pace.
I also reflect on times I’ve pitied certain people, such as an older person who had wet themselves, or worse. I never looked at them and thought I would be elderly one day. I never thought of the youth they may miss, the experiences they have had, or the history they have lived through. I just saw people who were frail and had soiled garments, and I felt sorry for them.
How disrespectful. Feeling sorry did nothing for them. The thought of someone feeling sorry for me pisses me off. It helps nothing, and there is no real reason for it.
In my 50 years, I’ve lived through quite a bit of history, I’ve traveled, I’ve done some pretty cool things, and I have a lot to share. But the older I get and the frailer I become, the more I realize that I will soon just be seen as a pitiable old woman.
I often wonder if I had been more compassionate, less judgmental, and more understanding, would my life be different? I often say that being diagnosed with lupus made me more understanding. I am so good at minding my own business now. When I see or hear others judging or shaming, I offer them a different scenario and ask if their perceptions are still the same based on the new set of circumstances.
Everyone has a story, and what we see is merely the cover. They say you should never judge a book by its cover. I am sure I’m not experiencing karma for my earlier thoughts and words, but just in case I am, I hope you will learn from my mistakes and mind your own business. Maybe you will have a happier outcome.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.
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