A few days ago, this popped up on my Twitter feed:
(For those of you who may not know, “cankles” is a derogatory term that refers to when your calf meets your ankle. If you’ve got lower extremity lymphedema, then you’re probably familiar with this term.)
“If you have kankles, don’t”… don’t what? Why should people that have these so-called cankles be barred from doing anything that those with “normal” ankles are permitted to do? Are we less of a person because our ankles are swollen? Are you going to cross me off your list because I have curly hair, too?
I realize that the above comment was made casually, but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful or embarrassing. It reminded me of all the times I’ve been made fun of for having “cankles,” simply because people didn’t realize that what I had was an actual medical condition. (Although, even if they didn’t know that, they shouldn’t make a comment about something I can’t help!!)
Nobody is perfect; I can be judgmental sometimes, too. However, I make a conscious effort to be empathetic. I think having gone through a lot of difficult issues such as my depression, eating disorder, and lymphedema has taught me that you never know what someone is going through or what their story is. To judge out of context is to shut a door in someone’s face.
Most people, however, are not so empathetic. A quick search of “cankles” on Twitter yielded countless tweets with jokes and degrading comments about cankles and the people who have them. There was even one tweet that went so far as to say, “I can’t stand people with cankles, it makes me sick.”
Well, you know what makes me sick? Ignorance.