You don’t know me and I am sure you won’t remember me but you had a huge impact on me last night.I came to the gym where you work, behind the front desk, to teach a Pilates class, a favor to an aerobic coordinator in dire need.The gym in question is difficult, the demographic often impossible to please and many people who work out there are simply angry, embittered souls.The essence of typical Silicon Valley low level managers and projects types who know they are never going to be Steven Jobs and are incredibly resentful about this.It’s not always fun to teach there but I did it for the coordinator because she needed help. And turns out, so do you, Girl Behind The Front Desk.
First of all, when somebody walks in carrying a giant bag of Pilates balls and Pilates rings, you don’t look them up and down and sneer your disapproval of their age, size, appearance or person. That’s illegal, Girl Behind The Front Desk, it’s simply illegal.I realize that’s probably how someone like you survived in junior high and that making fun of people and looking down on them all based on how they might appear at a given moment makes you feel better about your clearly unsuccessful, insecure self, but you still cannot do it.You don’t get to pretend that I am not an instructor simply because I don’t fit your incredibly judgmental narrow idea of what an instructor should look like.
Further, Girl Behind The Front Desk, you don’t get to roll your eyes in disbelief when I tell you I am the substitute instructor for the evening, making gagging facial expressions and then compounding that crime by saying pretty much that you cannot believe I’m actually the instructor.Why? Because all instructors should most definitely be 22 years like you, size two and well, stupid? Oh, I must have forgotten to read that one in the manual.
I’ve got news for you Girl Behind The Front Desk, life doesn’t actually work that way.In fact, someday, if you live long enough, you might get to be 50 something too and you’ll look every minute of those years, trust me.I’ve seen how you set such store on your frankly unremarkable self and how I know, as a successful professional, how you aren’t going anywhere in your life and you aren’t going to set the world on fire, not with that snotty attitude and your better than everyone else mentality.
I wonder if you have known even one person, anyone in your life who has fought cancer the way I have, Girl Behind The Front Desk.Maybe if you had known what I’ve been through you would not have been so coldly judgmental about my growing out hair or my current not fat but certainly not thin size or my looks in general.Maybe you would have, like my regular students, admired or at least respected the absolute hell I’ve been through and how I continue to teach to inspire those who are battling after me.Maybe, but then again, maybe three surgeries in three weeks, 4 months of chemo and 30 rounds of radiation followed by unbelievably painful lymphedema isn’t something you can respect.Maybe you are so unevolved as to think you can ‘catch’ cancer from somebody, you certainly displayed that sort of (lack of) intelligence last night, Girl Behind The Front Desk.
So, ok, my hair hasn’t fully grown out yet, still skimming above the shoulders and I’m still fighting to lose the ‘roid weight but this when my oncologist is openly thrilled that the meds I’m on have not caused me to gain even more weight.By my oncologist’s standards, I’m A-1, doing amazingly well, even a super achiever.By your standards, well, you made your wholly uninformed opinion pretty clear last night, didn’t you Girl Behind The Front Desk.And although this may well be impossible for you to understand, those of us who don’t DIE from chemotherapy actually will age horrendously, at least in the short term.Chemo kills everything, including all those fun little cells that regenerate and renew, making one look younger and…am I talking over your head Girl Behind The Front Desk??? I believe I must be because even after I calmly told you that a student would not be carrying two huge armfuls of balls and rings, you rolled your eyes and made a gagging expression and claimed you were ‘new’.
Wow, new that sure makes sense, to you at least.Or was it that you are just incredibly stupid?And cruel.You have cruelty down to a fine science but you know that.With your rolling of the eyes and gagging facial expressions that you made sure I saw as I turned away, I sure don’t want to know what flavor of Nasty MacNasty your Facebook page spews and what kind of garbage you Twitter about innocent people you don’t even know, and all just to make yourself feel superior. Frankly, everything I experienced about you last night was about as inferior as it gets, Girl Behind The Front Desk.We are talking bottom of the shoe here in the humanity department, Girl Behind The Front Desk.
And I’ll tell you one more thing, Girl Behind The Front Desk.I may be older than you and I may not be even close to what your ideal of what a fitness instructor should look like, even though we come in all shapes and sizes and ages now.I may not be any of that but I will tell you what I am also not, Girl Behind The Front Desk.I’m not cruel and I’m not deliberately nasty and I never would go out of my way to hurt somebody just because I wasn’t comfortable with some aspect of their appearance.I also never use my career success or my intelligence and considerable vocabulary to make less successful people feel badly about themselves.Which is why, even after the appalling way you behaved, you had no idea who I was, what I did in my ‘real life’ or anything about me.I simply logged in to the computer, picked up my equipment — the equipment you somehow couldn’t figure out that screamed INSTRUCTOR — and I went and calmly and professionally banged out one of the best classes I’d taught in a very long time.
And that, Girl Behind The Front Desk, is how one deals with the likes of a nobody like you.We who have survived cancer know a whole lot more about how to treat people with kindness and respect and dignity because we’ve fought so hard to still be here.And we know, from how we treat people and how we conduct our lives that people like you, so chock full of your petty, superficial judgments and deliberate cruelties and overt nastiness, that you are never, ever going to be anything more than just some nobody, some Girl Behind The Front Desk.