I am two hundred and seventy-nine pounds. I am wearing one of two identical pair of belly button pinching jeans I own, and a sheer black blouse with black dots stitched into it over a black tank top. For some reason I can’t tell you what the shoes I am wearing are, even though I was looking at my feet for a lot of the time.
I’m sitting in a chair that gives me enough room, mostly because it designed for morbidly obese people who cannot fit, comfortably or otherwise in your standard waiting room chair. I am a little sweaty having walked two or three times as much as I need to arrive here, since I was slightly embarrassed to stop and ask anyone for directions through my labored breathing. Even my hand is glistening and smears the words on the form. I take a sip from the water bottle I carried along, so everyone knows I’m trying.
I’m not even entirely sure what I’m here for.
Everyone is smiling and friendly though, as if they know we are fragile.
All the talking that takes place is very low volume; not in a hush hush shameful way, more out of respect for sensitive information. The first thing that happens after I complete a ream of paperwork is getting on the scale. It’s a scale large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, though not intended to.
Two-eight-two. I don’t cry, but I want to. I imagine that my already upsetting weight of two seventy-nine is still accurate if you subtract the sweat, the bracelets and watch I’m wearing to look more put together, and the forgotten shoes they won’t let you take off.
This will be okay.
I ended up having two appointments that visit; one with nutrition, and one with behavioral.
The behavioral appointment is where they crack you open, figure out what your hang ups are, what is your goal for your weight, your health, your life. What your reasons are for being there, what you hope will happen as a result of this … what steps have you taken? what have you already tried? What aren’t you doing, or allowing to happen because of your weight?
Nothing. I’m cool and fun and cute and being fat isn’t keeping me from anything except being not fat.
This appointment, this forty-three minutes is where I realize I was wrong.
“Are you married?”
“Nah, long term relationship, but, pfft, I’m not spending hundreds of dollars to put a fancy dress on this body and roll it down an aisle.”
“Nope … could you imagine adding a baby to this gut?”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Went to college for psychology, to eventually be a therapist, then changed my mind and got my masters to potentially go to law school but now I’m just helping this lady run her life.”
I answered a few other questions and my answers surprised me.
And then all I could do was question myself.
Why was I still driving a dented car? Why didn’t I actively pursue different job opportunities? Why did I talk about getting a bike or going kayaking but never do it? Why did I stay in one-sided shitty friendships or relationships? Why did I abandon my end goal of being a therapist? Why did I ask my mom / dad / brother / boyfriend eighty-five times how I looked before leaving the house, then accused them of lying? Why did I get mad when I tied my sneakers for the gym and one was tighter than the other so I had a tantrum and just stayed home? I couldn’t ever say before, that’s just the way things were.
I’m always saying that the things that are different for me now, and my improved attitude and outlook are because I lost weight. You can argue that; you can say it’s because I got older or because I realized different things about myself, and that’s true, too. Either way, I’ll never stop believing that this appointment, this weight loss surgery, and the entire experience was a catalyst for all of it.