Earlier today, a corpulent woman in a too-tight tank top (that was causing her body to seep out of the arm and neck holes) sat down next to me.
When she sat, she sighed in an all too familiar way.
It set off that thing I do, a thing that I am not exactly proud of.
I judge fat people.
Well no, that’s not a fair word; I don’t look at overweight people and talk shit about them, or laugh or make jokes, or point out their flaws.
I see myself in other overweight people sometimes and I want to spill my guts to them, I want to tell them what I learned, about the help I got, how I changed.
Hear me out before you think I’m just some average sized person who forgot where I came from. I was tipping 300lbs and I ain’t forgetting.
I struggled with my weight on and off for, if we’re being honest, something like two dozen years.
Diets, aches, threat of diabetes, snoring, general discomfort, calorie counting, carb cutting, juicing, diet pills, fat burners, dairy free, ill fitting clothes, exhaustion, frustration.
Then something happened.
I met my doctor who introduced me to other people and through a series of small decisions, information sessions, more doctor’s appointments and big choices, I don’t struggle anymore.
I want that for other people.
Even people I don’t know.
I saw a carbon copy of myself at the park; eighty plus degrees, long sleeves, sweating, visibly uncomfortable in her skin. She sneezed and I shouted “bless you!” from a few benches over in the hopes of starting up a convo that would lead to my gut spilling.
I’m half joking.
When I’m boarding a plane and see someone relaxing in their seat every time someone passes them and doesn’t take the empty one next to them – I wanna take it and sit there and talk about how I used to hate the middle seat, too.
People who lurch across parking lots or crosswalks to avoid the oncoming cars and not be a burden to their path. I did that.
People who have to sit in the wide chairs in the waiting room.
People who think bread is their enemy.
People who suffer.
People who try to change what they see in the mirror and can’t.
I’m those people, too.
It’s not meant as judgement and it’s not a pity thing; I hope nobody ever pitied me. I am sure that most are hyper aware of the way they look and feel, I know I was.
Until I had the information and resources I didn’t think bariatric surgery was for me (it isn’t for everyone, but that’s another post).
I didn’t think I qualified and I probably thought it was extreme; it is, but it’s at the very least, worth the exploration.
I am certain I wouldn’t have taken kindly to someone making the suggestion to me, even in the throes of my stuggle and especially not in the midst of some grueling diet.
Who would have said something though?
My friends or family who were either thin or had the same struggle as me?
Surely if someone had the information to share I would have aimed my ear right at them.
I don’t do it though, not without provocation.
Mostly because it’s rude, and because other people’s bodies aren’t my business, but also because as a girlfriend pointed out that even though I may have been where someone else is, I’m not now; and they would only know this me and think I was bitchy or condescending.
It’s just that I’ve seen both sides of two hundred.
I know how it feels to be both uncomfortable and comfortable in my skin.
You know how there are people who are so filled with passion and love about their God that they want to knock on doors and spread it around?
That’s me; I’m the Jehovah’s Witness of weight loss surgery.
“Hi, do you have a moment to talk about my savior the vertical sleeve gastrectomy?”