Week 11 – still 14 kg lost, good news…and a confrontation.

Went back to my surgeon yesterday to get weighed and have more saline added to the band. 2.6 kg loss for the last 3 weeks, which was impressive enough not to warrant more saline! No needle! No uncomfortable tummy! BONUS! The specialist is happy with my progress and will see me in 3 more weeks. He even said it is possible they might not need to add any more for quite a while if my progress is steady and consistent, which is exciting.

What was also exciting, for a different reason, was a woman I confronted in the waiting room for her views about Muslims and immigrants in general. We had a nasty terrorist incident here in Melbourne this week. A bystander died, 3 police members were injured, and the perpetrator was shot and killed by police after a stand-off siege. So, this woman was reading, at a loud volume, an online news article to the person she was with (sister, friend, I dunno) and started going on about “towel heads” and other similar derogatory terms. I was sitting nearby and voiced my objections to her characterisations and asked her to tone it down. She, in turn, told me that Australia would be better off with no immigrants at all. I replied that she might be right, because unless she was an indigenous Australian she was an immigrant too – and we’d be better off without people like her here. With nowhere to go, she told me to f#%k off. I went in to get weighed and when I came out she was gone (presumably in to her appointment). We didn’t cross paths again. When I had finished my appointment and I was booking my next one, I apologised to the receptionist for making a scene with this lady and she was aghast.

“You do not need to apologise for anything,” she told me. “I wanted to thank you for speaking up. Not many people would. I am an immigrant, and I appreciated you putting her in her place. I am sorry she was so unpleasant to you.” I told her that I had been at a conference on the weekend (#YAMatters: Reading Matters 2017) where one of the overarching themes was acceptance over tolerance; and promoting diversity in literature. I said that I had seen an opportunity to make a small difference, so I did. I am so glad that I found the courage to call this woman out. I guess on reflection, if I am honest, if I had had more time to think about it, I might have worried about physical danger because she was taller and wider than me and was with someone. But I just had to back myself – and her.

How dare this ugly person say those things? Obviously I had reached a point where I had heard enough of this talk and spoke up. Next time, and I am sure one day this will happen again somehow, somewhere, I will step forward and speak again.

Bring on Week 12.


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