A little background for all those who haven't read the previous freedoms. In October of 2007, I decided enough was enough and changed my life. I weighed 354lbs and was done. I would not continue to let weight and food rule my life. That day I started a list of things I wanted back, a freedom list. This list would keep my priorities straight while I was on my weight loss journey. I have a notebook full and have been adding them to my blog in efforts to share with others this journey as well (read the previous ones here). As of today, I have lost 165lbs and have 5lbs left to reach my goal. I encourage everyone, regardless of your struggle to start your own "freedom list". If you'd like to read more about my journey, here is a speech I gave at my weight loss center.
Freedom # 5, Bathroom Stalls
Ok, have you ever squeezed into the bathroom stall? At 354lbs, I squeezed into a many! This is how I recall the situation.....
- Hold your bladder until the very last second
- Make it to the bathroom with seconds to spare
- Attempt to adjust body (likely by hiding yourself sideways next to the toilet) enough to grab the swinging stall door, and close it.... safely securing yourself inside
- Stradle the toilet and squeeze on down in order to get your whole body on the actual toilet seat
- Pray that the paper roll is high enough up so that it doesn't obstruct the small amount of room you do have, cutting into your leg and causing you even more pain
- Adjust several times in order to wipe completely
- Reverse order, to escape your self-imprisonation in small stall hell
- Catch breath
Now, at work I often used to run into the Handicap stall at work to get more space. The issue was that there was/is a person at my office who actually really needs to use that bathroom. She has no other choice. So I thought I had figured out her break/lunch schedule somewhat and would run in when I thought it was less likely to run into her. Once though, I wasn't so lucky. I was in there, and I heard the automatic door open and she came in. I heard the "great, now I have to wait while some completely able person uses my 1 bathroom" sigh. I felt like I was in the "wanna get away" commercials. I came out, and as soon as she saw me (at my 300 plus weight) she smiled and I apologized profusely... making a joke about my size. I think I said sometimes I just need a little extra space. I was mortified. I never used that bathroom again.
Now fortunately (at 165lbs lighter), I don't need to use handicap stalls and can fit in any bathroom stall with ease. However, I believe this is an issue/freedom that many overweight people can relate to. If you can't physically "fit" into a standard stall, should that allow you to have the right to use the handicap stall without guilt? No, you're not "technically" disabled (yet) but being overweight carries with it so many "disabilities" and yet, the difference is.... an overweight person can (I'm not saying there isn't hard work involved) lose weight; these people with disabilities cannot change their situation. It's a struggle for several and such an embarrassing one.
This was one of my top 10 freedoms because it was so constant. Everytime I walked into a public bathroom, there was the anxiety there.
How ridiculous it all seems now but it was very real.
I no longer have to experience small stall hell, and if you have to have this experience.... I feel for you. Please know, you are not alone! But life isn't shouldn't be filled with anxiety about bathroom stalls!
Make a freedom list, and change your life.