It was a chilly March afternoon. I had just completed my first day of work at my new dream job. I couldn’t believe my luck, I was so happy and feeling so fortunate to be starting a new career doing something that I loved.
At this University, parking close to your building is a VERY rare thing. I had planned to start taking the bus to work in order to save money because parking is also very expensive. Why would I want to pay $40/month to park far away when I can take the bus for $5/month? Seemed like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been able to stop by the parking office yet to get my bus pass, so I parked in the garage where most of my new co-workers park.
I had been thinking about my car all day long. I had been dreading the end of the work day. What? Why? What’s the big deal? The big deal is that I weighed over 400 lbs and the parking garage sits on top of a steep hill (maybe not that steep to a “normal” person, but very steep to an obese person). I thought all day about that climb. All day, I sat and thought about how a walk up a hill that was a piece of cake to most people was going to be a huge physical challenge for me when the clock struck 5:00 p.m.
I wasn’t going to panic. I was going to take it slow. I was going to walk up that hill… take breaks if necessary… do my thing until I got to the top. I wasn’t going to stress myself out over something like this because that’s just silly… it’s just a stupid hill! Then something terrible happened – terrible to someone that is severely morbidly obese in a department full of people that are a normal weight.
“Oh, you’re parked in the garage? We’ll walk with you.”
OK, now it’s time to panic! What was I going to do? I knew there was no way I would be able to walk with my two co-workers (one that I had just met and another that was a friend) without being out of breath and I really didn’t think I could make it. Let’s just say that not making it is a huge understatement.
I had been fine keeping up with my coworkers for a few minutes and then I started to get tired. My legs burned, my back ached, my feet hurt. I pushed further… never slowing down and trying to keep up the pace. Then, I felt light-headed…. I felt sick to my stomach… my vision started to blur around the edges.
“Oh man… I’ve got to stop. I’m really not feeling so well. I’ve been feeling sick all day and it’s really starting to hit me.”
I lied. There’s no other way to put it – I lied. I knew it was a lie, but I was embarrassed. But in that moment, I really did think that if I walked any further I would pass out or throw up. It was horrible. Not only the shame and embarrassment that I let myself get this far with my weight, but that my two new co-workers were witnessing this episode. Of course they believed me. They were concerned for me because they said I didn’t look well and they really did think it was just an illness that would pass.
This hill has plagued me for almost two years. I’ve had to walk up it to go to meetings. I’ve had to walk up it to catch a bus to go across campus. I’ve had to walk up it to attend classes. This chilly day in March 2011 is forever burned in my brain as a day when I was truly scared about the dark path I was headed down.
I look forward to a day when I am able to RUN up this hill. I will make it happen. I will conquer it!!
UPDATE (1/28/2014): I PLAN TO MAKE ME RUNNING ATTEMPT BETWEEN MARCH 9-15, 2014! I WILL BE TAPING IT SO STAY TUNED!!!
UPDATE (3/8/2014): I DID IT! I DID IT!!! I RAN UP THE HILL!!!!! SEE VIDEO BELOW 🙂 🙂