I wrote a post five years ago about not bashing other people’s choice of exercise. Five years seems like a lifetime ago, and it is true that I am a different person now than I was then. But, that post was my first inkling that I was wrong, and since then I have aspired to be the kind of person who can acknowledge and honor the importance of varied fitness and sport related goals.
Five years ago, I hated a lot of things. Mostly, I hated myself. One day, in my quest to find something to make fun of on the internet, I stumbled across the link to someone’s treadmill dance video. A woman had posted a video of herself treadmill dancing to Rhianna’s Hard.
At the time, I thought that this would be the perfect video to laugh at, so I started to watch it with the intent of reposting it to my Facebook page. The beginning was perfect, just perfect. I was ready to laugh at this woman and everything she stood for and tell all of my friends how dumb her workout was.
I was 45 seconds into the video when I heard a little girl giggling. Then, there was more more giggling from another child. There were two kids hanging out with their mom in the basement or garage while she worked out. At 3:08, they came out in front of the camera dancing and imitating what they saw their mom doing.
They were imitating what they saw their mom doing every day when she worked out, just like my kids had been doing for most of their lives.
I was sobbing by the end of the video. Do I even need to say why? There were so many reasons.
But, that moment was the beginning of a journey that is still very much in process. When I catch myself it’s usually not related to exercise, but the point is still the same. Nick catches me more often. He’ll ask, “Are you writing that because it’s actually funny or because it’s making fun of someone?”
We’re all human. I get that. I mean, fill in the blank. Which of these have you made fun of? Which of these do you think is “wrong” and that your particular thing is “right” in comparison?
- Lifting tiny pink dumbbells
- Treadmill dancing
- The good girl/bad girl machine
Need I go on?
Imagine the difference if instead of laughing at the person doing ____________, you said, “Oh. You enjoy___________? That’s awesome. I’m really into _____________. What do you like most about what you do?”
If you want to see that fateful video, you can find it below. Of course, I never posted the video on Facebook in order to make fun of her. Instead, I wrote her a note and told her that I thought it was awesome that she was exercising and showing her kids that it was important. She wrote back.
That was five years ago.
I wonder if the Treadmill Dancing Woman ever thought of me after that day. She’s on my mind often when I blog. I hope I’ve learned how to be more supportive of other’s choices since then, and I’m sure I have a lot of room for improvement.
I’ve never tried dancing on a treadmill, but once I was past being such a douchebag, I could recognize that what she was doing took practice and skill. She enjoyed it, and that was the most important thing.
Try telling someone how great it is that they do ____________________. I bet they will appreciate it, and it just might make you smile also.