Thursday, November 03, 2005

"I am not the new me!"

That is actually the name of a book I want to get, maybe with my next paycheck. It is about all the hope that you feel when you are losing weight, and the elusive happy endings that never seem to follow.

As you may know, I had gastric bypass surgery about 18 months ago. I have lost over 100 lbs, and I do not look anything like I used to. I actually have a shape Other than round, I mean.

Anyway, a couple nights ago at work, I was taking in the breakroom with one of the maintenance guys, and we were watching some Dateline thing on gastric bypass surgery, and I told him I had the surgery. I told him that if he saw pictures of me before the surgery, he would not even recognize me. He asked me to bring in some pictures.

So, I did. They ended up circulating through almost the entire night staff, and they all said that the difference was "amazing", that I looked "phenomenal" now, etc...And I was glad for the compliments. It felt good to be able to show those pictures, and share in the recognition that they are part of my PAST.

Still, with all that, I do not feel new. I still feel like the dumb fat girl, just in a smaller body. I still feel incredibly inadequate, socially inept, incompetent to do much of anything (despite my high aspirations to the contrary), and I am still very much at war with my body. I am not the new me!!

People do treat you differently when you are fat versus when you are a "normal" size (real people normal, not Hollywood normal). I have seen both sides of the coin. When you are fat, you might as well be invisible, even though you may well be one of the largest things in the room. People don't talk to you, or if they do, they do not look at you. Salespeople ignore you. People rarely ask you to go out and do anything, or if they do, there is always that underlying recognition that, in so many ways, you do not fit into their world. People make flippant, cruel comments about your weight or overall appearance, and act as though you have no feelings about it. They act as though you should be okay with receiving those comments because you are, after all, fat...and what can you expect when you're fat?

When you're thin, or at least a normal size, it is very different. People not only look AT you, but will even make eye contact with you. People talk to you, like you're a real person, not just at you, as though you are merely a factor in a business transaction. In clothing stores, the sales associates will actually take time to help you find just the right clothes, because they have a confidence that they might actually be able to help you look good. You don't get that when you're fat. When you're fat, they simply direct you to the rack with the appropriately sized clothing, and hope to God you can find something to cram yourself into.

I remember one time, I went to the mall with a friend (Kim, actually), and we went to...I can't remember, some clothing store. Anyway, I found a dress I liked, and when I held it up, it looked like it would fit. I was fat back then, but not as gargantuan as I would become before I finally had surgery. Anyway, I asked for a fitting room so I could try it on, and the slender salesgirl pointed me to an empty fitting room. I tried on the dress, and it looked very would actually become one of my favorite dresses. I changed back into my other clothes, and took the dress to the cash register to purchase it. The slender salesgirl with perfect skin and beautiful hair says to me, "So you got it all in there?".

Needless to say, my thrill over finding a dress that fit in a store that was not "plus size" was quickly deflated with one heartless comment.

I still feel fat. I still look in the mirror every day and think, "I need to lose 20 more pounds, then I'll feel normal." What is normal? Normal for me has been changing constantly over the last 18 months. Normal for me used to be 125 lbs overweight. I do not know what the elusive normal is that I am seeking.

I also don't know why I am thinking about this so much today. I think about it every time I eat. I should eat when I am hungry, but every time I do, I feel some guilt, thinking about that stubborn 20 lbs.

And this has been my struggle for as long as I can remember. This love/hate relationship with food that dominates my thought patterns. The ongoing war with my body. I've pushed myself to exhaustion at times, trying to win this war. But it doesn't stop.

I am not sure what I was expecting with the weight loss. Better health, of course, but that was a given. A lot of people say they get gastric bypass surgery for health reasons. I think that's a load of crap. Sure, your health will improve with the weight loss. That's a given. But, getting past all the crap we're supposed to tell our doctors about why we want the surgery, I think that most, if not all of us, who've had it would have to say we were hoping for a better life. A better self. As if losing 100 or more pounds would suddenly make everything in our lives fall into place.

I'm smaller and healthier, and I still feel like crap most of the time....ha!

At any rate, I am disturbed by the fact that one of my favorite radio stations recently became a "soft rock, great talk" radio station. I am more disturbed by the fact that I seem to prefer it over the old format. oy!

Boy. I have never had gastric bypass surgery, but I have been dissatisfied with my weight most of my life. The only time I was reasonably content was in my early to mid thirties. It was a time when I took care of myself by walking, drinking water, tasting food instead of working on it, and enjoying my friends and my spiritual interests.
We think when we improve our appearance that it will be our ticket to self acceptance, but its really our self acceptance that motivates us to self care, which inevitably leads to an exterior change.
I think it's good that you had the bypass. You really did give yourself a jumpstart on a longer, healthier life. But your post is poignant. We may sever our shackles but the marks remain in our flesh, in need of care and healing.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]