So, I can achieve goals. This is a happy thing, and it’s not what I want to talk about.
I want to talk about the difference between concern and concern trolling.
I have, a couple of times after a workout, been asked if I was okay. To put this in perspective. I am short. I am fat. I wear about a size 22 (US) in clothes. I am fair-skinned, which means that if I am working out hard my face gets red, yes, even in a pool. That’s never going to change no matter how much weight I lose or how athletic I become. It’s the way I am built. But, it becomes a big deal when someone assumes that the fat lady working out is a walking heart attack. As an aside, I just took my pulse. 66bpm. Lowish end of normal. Haven’t taken my blood pressure recently, but it was never high. I’m a swimmer, for pity’s sake. We tend to have lower blood pressure when we’re not trying to kill ourselves in endurance events.
A few weeks ago, I had someone (who I don’t know and haven’t seen in the gym since) say after my workout while I was drying my hair, “Are you okay? You know, maybe you’re pushing yourself too much. You ought to be careful about that.”
It got under my fingernails, and I can only say if you don’t believe fat people have self-control, keep in mind that I did simply say that I was fine and even smiled while I did it.
The reason it got under my fingernails is contrasted strongly by someone asking if I was okay after my workout today.
As some background, I hit the gym quite under slept. For whatever reason, I could NOT fall asleep early enough to get in my usual sleep ration and woke early even in spite of that. But I was feeling more zombie than chipper and I did kind of plod into the pool to get in my swim.
Normally when I swim, my pace is very steady throughout a set. My sets have specific patterns, and I work hard on good stroke technique throughout them.
Today wasn’t like that. I kept forgetting where I was in the middle of sets, my stroke form was off, I even inhaled some water and had to cough it out. Instead of jumping out of the pool and getting on with my day after my swim, I lingered in the water for a bit, rubbing my sleepy eyes and wishing I could just float for a while.
More background. This particular lifeguard is incredibly observant. She knows workout patterns, stroke styles, lane preferences, and even typical workout lengths for all of the swimming regulars. (This is way above and beyond what’s needed for a lifeguard, by the way. It’s more like what you’d look for in a coach). She *knew* what my normal workout looked like, and knew that today was a struggle.
When she asked me if I was okay, that wasn’t concern trolling. She knew what my swims looked like and could see that I was off today.
This is NOTHING like some stranger coming up to the fattest woman in the locker room who happens to still be a bit red in the face to give her advice on a workout she hasn’t seen.
Prickly as I am, I actually do appreciate concern. I really do. It felt nice to know that the lifeguard knew my workout patterns and was concerned enough to comment on a variation.
But the difference between concern and concern trolling in my mind has a lot to do with whether or not the person is qualified through expertise and observation to make that judgment. Even if that person in the locker room were a cardiologist (and don’t think she is, as I work at the hospital and know most of them on sight), she would not have had sufficient data on my workout patterns, heart rate, blood pressure or other factors to be able to make any sort of decent judgment about that. She saw a fat chick who was red in the face (I was no longer breathing hard, having showered and dressed) and decided to put in her two cents.
Concern is great, but for concern trolling, I wish those people would keep their yaps shut.