Lida was born with the disability of having clubfeet, a condition that for her was not corrected at birth. Her ankles were later fused and her mobility is limited because of it. She was also recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Even with all of this Lida has pushed forward in life and has worked hard on getting an education at Arapaho Community College. Lida has hopes of completing nursing school but has faced many obstacles. Her mobility/disability issue have made it hard for her to get to her classes and for financial reason has put her studies on the back burner. Lida is the first to say she is s work in progress. But hey, who among us isn't!? I admire her inner strength to do what she has been able to do when others gave her no hope of getting this far. Many of us know how hard it is to be a person of size and tackle dealing with a public that is full of fat hatred, fat bigotry and misconceptions about our lives. Top that off with the additional disadvantages of her handicap and I think you get the picture of her determination.
In the past Lida has worked as the secretary for a Catholic Church Rectory and has also been on the Board of Directors for ALMA, the Adoptees Liberty Movement Association. She also served as secretary for ALMA. While caring for and spending time with a relative during their final stages of life, Lida became active in the nursing home that her family member was staying at. Her actions there landed her with the title of Assistant Activities Director and also gave Lida a taste for nursing. She hopes to someday finish her nursing training and work in an environment such as assisted living, a nursing home or in home nursing.
While attending Arapaho Community College Lida found and became involved with an incest survivor group. Being an incest survivor herself she welcomed this group into her life. She wanted to share that information here on the chance that there might be a reader of our newsletter that might need some guidance on the subject of incest. Lida is very open to talking with anyone that needs help or information regarding this matter. Lida would also like to open up lines of communication within RMNAAFA for anyone needing support with domestic abuse issues.
Lida says that what NAAFA has given her is an improved self-esteem. Being a part of the size acceptance movement has helped her to accept her own size and doesn't try to hide herself anymore. Being people of size we often forget how different we are treated by the general public. It simply becomes a part of our life and at some level we accept it or simply don't notice it anymore. Lida had her eyes opened to this level of discrimination one winter when her doctor suggested she use a cane to aid her balance when walking on ice. Lida noticed how different she was treated when people saw her with the cane. Suddenly people were kinder to her. People held doors for her, asked if they could assist her and people seemed to accept her limitations better. To Lida this really illustrated how shabby we people of size are treated by the general public on a daily basis. She was so effected by this response from the public while she used a cane she wrote a letter about it to BBW Magazine. I have always thought this was one of our stronger assets in NAAFA, being able to share our experiences in life and gaining strength from others life experiences.
There was another time when Lida felt her size made her take a fork in the road that maybe she wouldn't have taken if she were smaller. While completing her prerequisites for nursing Lida took several nutrition courses. Her instructor was impressed with her knowledge and command of the subject, so much so she encouraged Lida to become a Dietician. Lida thought about it but felt the advice of a large person on matters of nutrition and diet would fall on deaf ears. Now we all know, as does Lida, that she would be a compliment to the field of nutrition and would make a fine dietitian. But her concerns are warranted and I am sure many of us understand how a person of size would have to fight an up hill battle to gain the respect of both colleague and patients no matter how much the respect should have been implied by ones degree and commitment to ones profession. We all need to chose our battle carefully and know which ones are not worth fighting. Knowing the battle would be never ending is often the deciding factor.
We have all had our battles in size acceptance. We know we will have to face even more battles in our lives. We have NAAFA and our friends here to help us along the way. We learn by sharing and relating our trials and tribulations to one another. Lida has shown great strength to get to where she is today. I am honored she shared so much of this with us so that we can grow from it too.
The Member Spotlight column is the work of Patti Kelly.
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