The Walrus in the Room

Yes, I know the usual adage is about the Elephant in the room that nobody talks about, but there is another more sinister “animal” out there that lurks in the shadows that has come about. Some crass people do talk about it, but those with compassion and courtesy and who were taught “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” will keep their thoughts to themselves.

Not all of us were born with the genetics to look like a supermodel. We don’t have the willpower to eat like a rabbit either and nibble on broccoli and celery all day long either. The idea of starving myself just to placate the mass hysteria of what a woman “should” look like according to some stale male ideal is just NOT in my mind’s selection of best hits.

Being born with a genetic disease that causes my ribs to form a barrel that sticks out a bit more than the average Joe, it can make me “look” a bit heavier as it squishes my fat out the bottom. You can also look at every person on that side of my lineage and we all look the same: short, squat, and big tummies. No matter if we are in great shape physically or not, we carry our weight in our mid-section. Yes, we look like pears, or Walruses. Average sized heads on top and not necessarily overly large breasts (there are of course some, we’re not cookie cut-outs,) then the big middle, and slim back down to the legs, with these flappy things called arms sticking out on the sides.  Sound like a walrus?

So, OK, if we gain weight and get overweight, we gain it in the belly area. Nutritionists and doctors will tell you this is the bad area to gain weight. We already have medical problems due to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta, now add the heart disease issues. I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis. I am supposed to work-out, get exercise. When you’re in chronic pain what kind of exercise can be a good question.

Yoga anyone? People with big breasts complain about trying to do yoga saying their breasts get in the way. Try doing some of those poses with a belly you can’t get around and joints that won’t move. I’m not saying I don’t want to move them due to pain. I’m saying they WON’T move. Some of them have been broken too many times. Calcium build up or bone spurs cause them to NOT move. Sometimes there may be pins, screws, plates, or rods in the way. So, how am I supposed to lessen the big belly? I am not going to starve myself. We must modify yoga poses. We still get some benefit from the poses. It’s still better to do what we can, than not do any of them at all. On days when there’s not too much pain stopping us. You ladies with the big breasts? Bring it on! Bunch of complainers.

“Oh I can’t find a bra to fit.” Oh whine. I can’t find parts for my wheelchair that I can afford. Cry me a river.

Sorry. I get carried away by what some people whine about in our first world problems. I keep looking until I find what I need, because I can. WE can, because we live here and not in a 3rd world country.

Anyway, next try: swimming? Try to find swimsuits for walruses and then actually go out in public wearing them. The same goes for the clothes in the yoga classes I s’pose, but I just wear sweats there. I don’t go in for the skin tight yoga pants and tiny workout bra in public. What’s the problem? People! Yes, they DO talk. Apparently they didn’t listen in Kindergarten when they were told it’s not polite to whisper about what people look like. Heck, some of those people will talk out loud to each other about what you look like. It’s not nice.

Who said workout pools and spas and yoga places were for fat people? Do you see a lot of fat people there? Not usually. They are full of skinny people wearing the latest workout fashions built for size zero people. Know what else they do? They take pictures and send them to their friends on social media! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up “trending.” Even if you go to the beach to try to do your workout in a lake or river you have to deal with rude adults and children. “Look at the whale trying to workout!” No, I am a walrus.

Tai Chi Chih can be OK, if not a very good cardio workout. If you haven’t heard of it it is a series of 19 movements and 1 pose that together make up a meditative form of movement to which practitioners attribute physical, personal and spiritual health benefits. Obviously this is a lesser physically stressful version of Tai Chi. This can be done by the elderly in nursing homes, so I should be able to do this, right? Sometimes the nerve pain in my shoulders can NOT even handle this! Doing Tai Chi Chih on one particular day sent me to the floor in excruciating pain. OK, I could do the leg stuff, but not the arm stuff. It really sucked. Kinda hard to get to the spiritual health benefits when you’re on the floor “praying” for the pain to stop.

I have pah-lennnn-teeey of physical therapy exercises I’ve learned over the years that I’m supposed to do at home. Just need the willpower to do them. You know, this is why yoga and all those other things are done in groups. People like to do things in groups. Part of it is about the socializing of it all. Actually being able to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE would be nice once in a while. I know, a person learns what PT they are supposed to do one-on-one with the therapist, then they are supposed to keep it up at home. Boring! Why can’t they get together with other people who are supposed to do the same type of PT and do them in groups? We could tell each other if we’re not doing them right. Breathe right. Tighten our core. Get some needed socialization, too. The best part; no one to be there to mock us!

You know what those walruses sound like, that barking sound they make? They can get really noisy when they are in a group. When they are in a collective group they are called a herd, pod, or huddle. They do indeed sound like they may be mocking each other sometimes, especially when they call each other out to fight. Maybe I’m not the walrus. Maybe the dark animal lurking amidst our society that makes us feel not right according to the way we look are the walruses, lying around in their huddles mocking everyone by how they look. Their “barking” is annoying and I say we ignore them, dress however we want, and exercise however we can. If they’re the walrus in the room, then what animal am I?

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