I was watching the whole story of you and your trip to the gym unfold, online. Honestly, I had no idea who you were before this story came out. I didn't follow you on any social media or anything like that. I am sure I'm not alone in this sentiment. I am also positive that you won't be forgotten, ever again.
It's quite amazing how quickly one's life can unfold, isn't it?
You see, I'm a 43 year old mom, wife, college student, and breast cancer survivor in Dallas. I've seen some things in my journey through this earth. My body has seen a lot and has taken on even more. I'm sure the woman you raked over the publicity coals would say the same. That's the wonderment of age: see, we get older, more wise and more okay with the truths of life, while the body falls away. You are at the fortunate time in your life when all is perky and toned and hasn't been riddled with these truths.
Trust me. That will change.
I did, however, think about this all night. I contemplated the entire situation.
I thought of you with your hand over your mouth, giggling as if you're somehow better than the woman in the shower. I was dumbfounded by your commentary as though you hold the ability to judge another human being. I could not believe another person could be so shallow and patronizing as you were.
I laughed at your inability to apologize beyond "oops, that wasn't supposed to go out", treating this as though it is the equivalent of sending out a tasteless joke via "Reply all".
But it wasn't so innocent. It was invasive, offensive, predatory, and inhumane.
You see, Dani... This hurts my heart.
This whole situation, and who you show you are in real life, is hurtful and hateful. Saying you meant that for a private conversation only shows who you actually are. Character is who you are when no one is watching and now we are all privy to what yours is like.
I physically cried for the woman in the shower. I've been that woman in the shower. I know how that woman feels. My stretch marks are because I've grown two human beings in my body. My scars and cuts and marks are from battling breast cancer for nearly a full year of my life. My calloused feet are from walking through either of my two jobs or to my school for my education. My lines and wrinkles are courtesy of a lifetime of wonderful emotion. My grays are my proof of existing this far.
It's not easy being this way, though. It takes a lot of self talk to remember my worth in a vulnerable place like a gym shower. It's a lot to remember being surrounded by a society that glorifies people like you and dismisses women like me. It is a lot to push beyond the walls that women, like you, put up for us.
Do you know how much resolve and self talk it takes for a woman like her - like me - to get into the shower at a gym? Do you have any idea as to what she's struggled with in her life?
How dare you decide for her that she's somehow less worthy of basic human decency and respect because she doesn't fit into some preconceived, patriarchal mold that you carry.
We women are already having to fight inequality, wage theft, domestic violence, rape, swim-time judge apologists, victim blaming, body shaming..
Do we need to worry about being able to take care of our bodies in a place that is supposed to be safe, too?
Why would you do this?
If you genuinely cared about people being healthy, you would celebrate her. If you cared about people, period, you would have kept your phone shut... but you don't and you didn't, and here you are...
Here we are.
So, now what?
As evidenced by your exit from the online world, you're hiding out. I get that.
You've just become the woman in the shower.
Now all eyes are on you and everyone is giggling with their hands on their faces saying how they "can't unsee" you. The difference is, they're talking not of the exterior housing called your body - they're talking about the ugliness they saw in your heart.
How does it feel? I bet it feels pretty awful.
I imagine you're embarrassed or feeling a bit judged.
Maybe you're ashamed of your own face right now.
It doesn't feel good, does it? It shouldn't.
This is what we old, scarred, cellulite-having, gym-showering people call a "life lesson".
You have a few options right now but let me give you a tip: learn from this.
You have an opportunity to make yourself a better person. It won't be easy. It won't be pleasant. It will be worth it. Why? Because, God willing, you'll get to make it to when you're scarred and stretched a bit, too, and you'll understand this blog.
I also guarantee that you'll remember this incident and see how it feels to be on that other side of someone's potential phone camera.
No matter what, I promise you this: We all age and you're not exempt from that. I only hope that when you are older and trying to take care of your failing body, that no one does the same to you when you're getting clean.