not your people.

For a long time, and even now, I struggled with letting people go. I will go through my friend list on Facebook sometimes and consider cleaning up the scads of people from different phases of my life, and I never really get rid of anyone because “I’ve known them forever” or they’re family, or a friend of family, or the girl I met through someone else who I have about four things in common, never interact with but keep them because their presence is innocuous. I keep her because she likes cooking too, or this girl also had weight loss surgery and we’re sort of friendly … Oh this person knows my mom, or dad or aunt’s cousin’s brother …

I had the same group of girlfriends for most of my life; we didn’t all hang out together, or make plans to grow old together like the Golden Girls, but for many years and boyfriends, moves, celebrations, changes, happy days, crazy neighbors, bad ideas, annoying parents and questionable choices; these were my people.

One of them, also for years, made me feel inferior to her. She made my feel like most of my ideas were shit, my decisions were wrong and like my existence was basically this puzzle that if it weren’t for her, would never be pieced together. She had an opinion about everything that you couldn’t question, and while she wasn’t some awful human being, it turns out, she wasn’t one of my people. She was for a time, and her purpose had sort of run out. It wasn’t until I made the decision to change my life and my health that I fully realized it. I also got older; not everyone you know at nineteen is someone you should still know at thirty-nine.

I always thought of myself as a people person with a big group of acquaintances and full social calendar that diminished only when I moved hundreds of miles away from everyone I knew. I’ve been more introspective (who knew that was possible) in the last few years and have clearer ideas about who and what I want in my life. I felt guilty and sort of selfish about it at first, but I gradually made peace with it, and you can, too.

If you want to.

I was talking to someone recently who was frustrated with their place in their friend group; she felt she had to force herself on others to be included, she felt left out sometimes and as if she didn’t really play a role in her group the way she thought.

I empathized but “then they’re not your people” flew out of my mouth immediately after. “Yea but we always used to hang out….” and “We’ve been friends since we were kids ….”

“Okay, so they used to be, I get it, but for today, for now, for where you are, they’re not for you…”

“I know but I just really want things to be how they were, and …. seriously, we’ve been friends since like first grade…”

So what?

If I have known someone since kindergarten or am related to someone by blood or marriage and they don’t make me feel valued, or like I am “worthy” of their attention, I should let that relationship continue? On the basis of knowing them so long? Illogical.

My grandmother used to say that if someone wants to be in your life, they will find a way. I totally believe this; sure things happen and maybe someone can’t text you back when you want them to, or come to something you invite them to, but when you mean something to someone, when they are grateful for whatever role you play in their life, you will know. And if you don’t, ya gotta go. For you.

I have a love // hate relationship with social media because it gives us a connection to people that maybe we don’t need to be connected to. It makes us think things are a certain way and maybe they aren’t. While people share real things, and are mostly their true selves, it’s definitely convoluted. Being friends with someone on Facebook doesn’t necessarily make them your friend in practical everyday life. Being related to someone doesn’t always mean they have your best intentions at heart, and knowing someone since your childhood doesn’t give them free reign to neglect your feelings. People will treat us the way we let them, and if we stay in relationships with people like this, knowing how they make us feel, and don’t do anything to change it, we can’t complain.

Our perception is our reality, so when I am in my head about who is a keeper, and who is a floater, I ask myself two questions. The first; if I met this person today rather than at birth, or in fourth grade or college, would I still want to be friends with them? And do I like a person or keep them in my life because of their role (lifelong friend / family member) or because of a genuine interest in knowing them? I have always said of my parents, that if they weren’t my parents, and just two people, I’d still like to know them, because outside of their role as my parents, they are genuinely awesome people. As are the people I choose to interact with on a regular basis.

I don’t know where I got the idea that I have to be friends with everyone I ever knew, or that I should hold on to relationships that no longer serves me (and in turn makes me a person who no longer serves their life’s purpose either) but I don’t do it anymore.

I’m not saying that you should grab the hedge clippers and go all Edward Scissorhands on your friends list, or social circle. I’m just saying it’s okay to take inventory. It’s okay to make sure that the people you interact with are invested the same way. Maybe you used to talk to someone every day, and now you just text; or you used to have coffee every weekend but now your schedules only allow for once a month. Totally cool. It’s the quality of the interactions, not the quantity. The quality of the relationship, and how it makes you feel, how it allows (or inhibits!) you to be your true messy and real self that determines, to me, if they are in fact one of my people.

Some people just aren’t.

 

thirty-nine.

Slept in.

Breakfast: Warmed chocolate croissant, mid-sized iced mocha latte from a cute place in town.

Went for a walk in nearby park.

Lunch: One small, and one large craft pumpkin beers, shared a jerk chicken pizza at our favorite local brewery.

Trip to the bakery around the corner for a “personal” sized carrot cake.

Dinner: Chips & salsa, one Cantarito and crispy fish tacos at a new Mexican restaurant nearby.

Wandered around World Market, purchasing only beer and candy. Mobile ordered an iced chai with soy on the way home. Comfy clothes by 10:00, on the couch with the carrot cake, and a cookie butter filled candy bar.

I spent the whole day happy and laughing and sharing delicious food and drinks with my best friend; but most importantly, not feeling one single ounce of guilt or shame about my food choices. If that’s not a non scale victory and a cause for celebrating myself, I don’t know what is.

jae birthday

 

 

Zumba!

Right before the start of 2016, down about fifty pounds, I tried my first group exercise class after my weight loss surgery. I had only been to a few others before and they were extremely stressful situations that caused my anxiety to skyrocket on the drive over, my stomach to flip flop on the walk into the room and then again when faced with the large mirror that would leave me on display no matter where in the room I stood. Exercise in general gave me the sweats because I was sure anyone who saw me doing it would think it was laughable, I had also felt like my body was unresponsive no matter what I was putting into it or making it do, so exercise was a chore, with no real reward. Even when I felt a little better afterward, I was still fat, and still miserable.

So the first class I go to is Zumba.

Ballsy, right?

I had seen commercials for years about the kits you could get to try it yourself at home, I had seen thin, attractive women shaking their overpriced legging clad butts to tropical sounding tunes and I had never had the courage to try, but I was intrigued, and for once I let that overpower the fear of the group class.

Man. It was something. Huge room at the gym, brightly lit with mirrored walls on two sides. Of course I took a place in the back of the class but there were only about ten people in it. It was a weekday before 9am, and the room was a melting pot. I wasn’t the oldest, or youngest, not the fattest or thinnest. I was just a person surrounded by other people who just wanted to dance and sweat something out – calories, stress, bad luck – whatever it was, we all just wanted to leave lighter.

It was loud and fast and fun. It was like all the shit I was doing in my own house when nobody was looking, but to better music. This was exercise? No exercise I ever knew was enjoyable. “Peace out treadmill” I thought as I shook and shimmied all over the place. Checking myself out in the mirror, not caring (too much) about my arm fat flapping as I danced my heart out.

It was the best morning I had had in a long time.

Even though I almost died. (dramatic)

In fifty minutes, my Fit Bit reported over 7,000 steps, I had sweat pooling in my eyebrows and I had drained my water bottle. Somewhat labored breathing but I staggered out to my car, and when I got home, announced that I was going to Zumba the next day, too.

For a few months, I had the time in my schedule to go to multiple classes a week, sometimes I went five times. I was dancing in grocery stores, looking up Zumba videos on You Tube to dance along to at night. I went to the same instructor’s class, and so I was getting all her moves and routines down, I was friendly with people in the class who also went a few times a week. I couldn’t believe I was exercising, for fun, before my coffee even!

I felt light, and happy and totally energized.

I bought fancy sports bras and new pants to hold in my gut, I didn’t care that I had to peel my clothes off after every class, or sometimes had to sit down slowly when suffering from what I called ‘zumba thighs’. I befriended the instructor, and when she was no longer teaching there, I became friendly with her replacement; talking about becoming a Zumba instructor myself, I was borderline obsessed and she offered to take me under her wing and show me the ropes and gave me info on where to sign up for different things.

I was totally on board.

Before that went anywhere, my schedule changed and I could really only make it to classes in the evening or on Saturdays, and those weren’t ideal.

Time passed and summer was almost over and I had my panniculectomy and spent eight weeks basically living on my couch. Every few days I would daydream about going back to Zumba, how much different it might feel now that this extra belly fat was gone, how I could finally get moving in the direction of becoming an instructor myself and sharing this exercise I actually enjoyed with other people. When the time came that I was cleared to exercise, it was also when I was cleared to go back to work, so again, not really ideal. I went to a few evening classes but it wasn’t the same as starting my day off with that jolt, there were no familiar faces, so again, it faded.

I don’t even know if I like it anymore. I’m sure I do but, I mean, if I truly did wouldn’t I have made the time for it? I don’t know if I used timing as an excuse or if it actually was a real constraint, but at the moment, it’s neither.

I have the freedom right now, and for possibly the next few weeks to get to some morning Zumba classes, so I”m gonna go. No pressure on myself to love it like I did, no idea that I am going to go and know all the moves ( I most certainly will not!), no concern about having the flabbiest arms flailing around or anyone paying attention to me.

I’m gonna take my free mornings, grab my water bottle and my little towel and I’m gonna go dance my ass off in that back row.

Maybe as soon as tomorrow.

 

 

hey, whatcha eatin’?

Last week I was standing in the driveway while Steve tinkered on his car. I’d been home from work only about an hour and was still in leggings with peanut butter hand prints on them and a cheap Old Navy t-shirt that I’d spilled my coffee on at least once before.

In one hand I held a bag of sliced pepperoni, and had a string cheese hanging out of my mouth, that I occasionally tugged on with my free hand. I chatted briefly with my neighbor who was getting in her car, and she said “Whatcha eatin’?” “Pepperoni, want some?” (She’s a vegetarian so she declined, and we said our goodbyes) I went right on chomping away in broad daylight for anyone to see.

You’re probably thinking “Uh, okay, no big deal, you’re eating outside” but in a teeny way, it IS a big deal.

I never ate in front of people, well not comfortably anyway. Family, close friends, sure. Out in public? Not so comfortably. I always felt like people might be looking at me, judging me, wondering why I was eating since I was fat. Like hadn’t I had my share of food in life already, why did I need more?

You’re probably laughing because it sounds crazy, but have you ever looked at someone fat out at a restaurant and judged them or commented, even briefly? I hated being squished in a booth, or God forbid the extra chair at the end of the booth. I hated sitting on bar stools with no backs, nothing to hide my size or slumping. I hated most things about eating in public, except the eating part.

I had this idea (read: delusion) that, if people didn’t see me eating, or see me with food, they might not notice I was fat. Maybe I would just blend in and nobody would see my size, or question my food choice (even when it wasn’t questionable). I would pick daintily, in case anyone was watching  – and on the trek from the table to the door afterward, I’d let someone else carry the leftovers.

Get me in line at a buffet, or to load up our plates at a barbecue and my portions are smaller than I’d like and I’m only making one trip. If I look like I don’t eat much, maybe I’ll look smaller.

I can’t be the only person who has felt this way, I mean I guess anything is possible, but there’s not a million dollar industry of diet products and meal replacements because it’s just me.

Now that I weigh less, that I feel better, and look better, I realize that nobody gives a shit what I’m eating. (Except the Instagram food police : insert eyeroll here: )

Honestly they probably never did, and if you think not eating in front of people makes them think you’re thinner than you are, that’s in your head, not theirs.

 

nip // tuck

Earlier today I was trying to figure out how many remaining vacation days I have that may pay out when my current job ends in a few weeks.

In a conversation with a friend, I say “Aside from my sick days, I’m pretty sure I only took one day off this year, the day after I drove to NY. I also took a half day when I went to see my plastic surgeon, but I stayed late a few times to make up for it.”

Possibly the most bizarre sentence I ever uttered.

My plastic surgeon.

I guess it’s not that weird, but the way it just rolled off my tongue like you would say “my mechanic”, “my hairdresser”, or “my mailman.”

I’m like “Hey, you need something nipped or tucked? I know a guy!”

I let him mark me up, knock me out and cut off seven pounds of flabby excess skin and fat on my abdomen; we have plans to do it on other parts another time or two as well.

I’ve questioned my decision a few times, as I never thought of myself as a vain person, and I don’t care so much about how I look, but how I feel.

Last year I had a panniculectomy, which removed the flap of fat that, even after losing 80 pounds still disrupted any outfit I tried to wear, got in the way when I attempted running, hung around haunting me like a scar that wouldn’t fade –  and I was damn sure it almost flung off my body during Zumba once. Add in the rashes and general discomfort and I don’t feel so so bad about it.

Now that it’s gone though? My thighs are in plain sight to me and WOOF. Doughy, flabby, hangy; a little painful and a lot keeping me from shorts and too far above the knee skirts or dresses. Slapping and rubbing together eighty percent of the time.

My upper arms have been a source of frustration, sadness and severe sweating through the summers for as long as I could remember. I think I single handedly kept the production of Old Navy cardigans going because I was always buying them, in every color, year round. As they became smaller, they surprisingly only got worse; loose and hanging, getting pinched during hugs, noisily flapping doing almost anything and I merely traded cardigans for light zip ups and jean jackets.

I’ve thought about it, I’ve put off getting the surgery dates in the books but I’ve decided I’m not vain. I’m not trying to look like anyone else, or impress anyone. I’m just trying to be as comfortable as possible in the skin I worked so hard to deflate.

shhh!

I think everyone has what I refer to as situational anxiety on occasion. Some of us more than others, some of us more severely, or less severely than others. But, I definitely think that everyone experiences mild anxiety sometimes.

Like one morning a few weeks back, when I had to put air in my car tires and my brain played a scenario is which I over-filled the tires and one popped in my face and I died in the Speedway parking lot.

You can laugh, but I’m not kidding.

The whole drive over I was pep talking myself, like ‘Okay, but if you don’t put air in, one could pop while you’re driving on the highway today and you could die, or kill someone, so you really don’t have a choice…”

Or almost any time I use a sharp knife, I visualize accidentally cutting my finger off right before I use it. (Maybe that’s just weird, not anxiety)

I was prescribed medication for my not so situational, more like constant anxiety in 2014 and I took it for about a year, at which point I had lost a good portion of my excess weight, was on the verge of quitting my less than thrilling and somewhat stressful job, and my occasional depression was also under control.

In the first few days that I was taking said medication, I had my first visit with the surgeon who would eventually perform my gastric sleeve. In advance of the appointment, and really with any appointment you have with them, they encouraged you to bring a “support person” if that would ease any tension, or help you stay focused on any concerns or questions.

I never dragged Steve along to any of them, except the actual surgeon appointment. So he could ask any questions, and meet her prior to her removing half of my stomach.

In the days leading up to the appointment, I replayed the routine. Every appointment I had was the same, they weighed you.

Every time.

Every office.

Every appointment.

When I had back to back appointments I would sometimes be weighed multiple times in one afternoon.

I immediately tensed up.

He would be there.

He would see them weigh me.

He would see the giant digital output on the scale.

He can’t come with me.

He can’t see.

He can’t know.

I mean, in retrospect the whole thing was ridiculous, because we had been living together for a few years at this point and it’s not like I was head-to-toe Spanx all day every day and he didn’t know I was overweight.

Also, uhhhh, he was coming to a doctor’s appointment about having weight loss surgery.

Still.

The number.

The fear.

The shame.

The anxiety.

I sent an email to my surgeon’s physician assistant who I had met with before, and expressed my concern.

“I know this is going to sound silly…” I started out

“Don’t worry, it’s more common than you think and we will take your vitals privately” she noted in her response.

Whew.

The day of the appointment we go into the office an I go up to check in. I fill out the usual updates to the paperwork, and again, tell the girl at the desk about my concern regarding Steve learning my actual weight.

She laughs comfortingly, and tells me that they’ll take me in first for vitals, and then for the actual appointment they’ll call us both in.

Relief.

A few minutes later we are called in to meet my surgeon for the first time. I remember how perfect she looked; almost flawless with her pin straight hair, glossy manicure, all smiles and gold iPhone in hand.

We were fast friends, and Steve even teased her about her off the cuff drawing of a stomach. After our getting-to-know-you session, we got down to the facts and planning.

She reviewed my chart, almost gave me a heart attack before clarifying “something that is really concerning” (high a1C, indicative of future diabetes) and said that everything looked great and there were no red flags, so she was approving me.

“You’ll have a forty-eight hour liquid diet before surgery.”

“Not a problem”

“And I see here you have been working with Jill (my nutritionist) and have lost about six pounds, which is great”

Sweet, I thought, this is happening.

Steve and I nod approvingly at each other.

She continued, “Really just another pound or so should do it …”

“We have you at 271 today, so …..”

I cannot tell you anything she said at the end of the sentence because I was probably bell pepper red and if you touched my face it might have singed your skin while I was trying to figure out how to slide all two hundred seventy one pounds of myself off the couch onto the floor and out the damn door.

We walked eighty-seven miles to the parking garage, midway through he said “Are you psyched or what? You don’t seem as excited now that it’s happening”

I’m all “Bro (yea, I called him bro) she outed me! I made sure everyone we saw today knew not to say my weight out loud”

Walk, walk, walk.

“You were worried about that? Pffft, I didn’t even hear her, what’d she say?”

He heard her, he had to have.

I laugh.

“What, 171? I really didn’t hear”

“Yea, 171”

“Who cares, you’re approved”

We high five.

He opens the passenger door for me and kisses my forehead.

Thanks, bro.

 

 

 

jae 2.0

I knew this guy once who was a total dick. I mean, he was our friend and we all loved him but he was a dick. Super fun, always up for a good time and totally loyal, but also mouthy, condescending, always joking and button pushing, drinking one too many, miserable half the time; dick.

A few years went by and he started dating someone, came out to his friends and family and wasn’t a dick anymore. Just like that. It was like a huge weight that just made him a miserable prick half the time was lifted and now he was getting to be himself, just loving life.

I get it.

If you asked anyone from high school, or in my slew of waitress jobs over the years to describe me, at least one of their chosen adjectives would be “loud” followed by “crazy” or “goofy” and let’s be frank, “bitchy”.

Really anyone in my life longer than the last five years could tell you about my mood swings, my on and off shitty attitude, my general dislike, of, well, anything.

I spent my twenties and a good portion of my thirties hating things.

Most people, most places, most jobs, most situations.

Everyone was stupid, everything was a chore or a waste of time.

Why the fuck does this woman need extra tomatoes on her burger?!

stomp stomp stomp

Why is the phone ringing?!

slam slam slam

God forbid someone asked me to do anything, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!

long exasperated sigh

On (more than) one occasion I remember taking my arm and wiping it across my entire desk, or bathroom counter knocking everything to the floor out of aggravation. I once even did it to my brother’s desk.

I had a conversation with a manager at a job one time who told me, and I quote “You have a cancerous tone; you make your coworkers feel small and stupid” and all I could do was agree, and confirm that they were.

I yelled at my now sister-in-law for sitting in “my seat” at the dinner table once.

I have thrown more coffees, fast food burgers and other random food items out of my car window than I can even count; not because I liked to litter, but because I hated everything and god forbid the food or drink I ordered didn’t meet my expectations it enraged me.

I wish I was exaggerating.

I was subconsciously miserable, but brash.

I would get angry over the dumbest shit.

So dumb in fact, when something I had a tantrum over in recent years comes up, Steve and I debate the legitimacy of the tantrum … sometimes the stomping, crying and shouting was justified, but for the most part it usually ends with a “well, you were/I was fat, so that makes sense”

I picture angry obese me as a hunched over hag with silly or annoying things landing on my humpback and literally depressing me.

I’m not saying that I lost a bunch of weight and all of a sudden nobody annoys me or I’m so at peace that everything rolls of my back.

It doesn’t. There are still people and behaviors that bother me, and things that piss me off, but they don’t crush me. They aren’t extra weight now, they’re just fleeting things.

I’m still me, but standing up straight and lighter in so many ways.

I’ve gotta say it’s a much better way to live.

 

 

 

CTS

I can’t remember the occasion but at some point there was a conversation with my mom where I was telling her that I was too excited to sleep, in anticipation for something the next day. She told me that a similar thing happened to her sometimes and that she vividly remembered it happening when she was growing up, specifically the night before a class trip. She was anxious that she would fall asleep and not wake up in time, and miss the trip. After that, we explicitly refer to the inability to fall asleep for fear of oversleeping and missing something as ‘Class Trip Syndrome’ or CTS for short.

The last time I remember having a bout of CTS was a year ago yesterday.

I was trying to relax in preparation for my panniculectomy the next morning. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything past midnight, so naturally I was starving with a mouth as dry as the desert at 12:01. I had to check in at the hospital at 6am – I set my alarm for 4:45, so I could shower since I wasn’t sure how many of the following days I wouldn’t be able to. When I finally was able to settle down and decided on the couch for sleep, it was going to be more like a nap and I think it was after 1 am.

I slept though.

Right through my alarm.

I woke up at 5:20, the time that we were supposed to be getting in the car!!

I freaked out, I froze. I ran into the bedroom like a maniac startling Steve awake.

“We have to go! I didn’t shower! They’re going to cancel my surgery!”

Fastest and least relaxing shower of my life. I cut myself shaving, because you obviously have to shave your legs at 5:30 in the morning when you’re already running late.

Groggily putting deodorant on while I’m conditioning my hair Steve says “Why are we rushing if they’re cancelling your surgery? Why are they cancelling it?”

As if he has asked a thousand questions in the eleven minutes he’s been awake I shout “I have to be there in half an hour, they will cancel if I’m not checked in on time! My insurance approval is only good for today!”

I slip and slide my way into the bedroom where I put on a pair of lacy granny panties from Target for what I dream will be the last time, followed by a baggy tank top and loose shorts that I live in over the next eight weeks, alternating with the same top in white and the same shorts in pink.

I’m so excited and nervous that I can’t leave the house until I make sure I’m not going to crap my pants.

We are barely on the road and see brake lights. I’m almost in tears.

“I can’t believe I slept through my alarm, I barely even slept. Stupid Class Trip Syndrome”

He assures me that they’re not going to cancel my surgery “If anything,” he says “You’ll just have to wait until later in the day”

Comforting, yet not. “I can’t wait, I haven’t eaten since yesterday and I am soooooo thirsty”

When we finally pull into the hospital parking garage it’s about 6:20; I am relieved but still anxious, now because someone is about to draw on me, knock me out and make an incision in my body that practically cuts me in half. While I am cut open? Another doctor is going to root around in there and repair a hernia. You see why I might be crapping my pants, right?

We get to surgical check-in and wait in line, they’re backed up! HA! When it’s my turn to fill out paperwork, it’s actually the time my surgery was scheduled for. “Don’t worry,” the woman says, “we’ve been behind since before 6.”

Sigh of relief.

Followed by another wave of anxiety.

Healthcare proxy form, check.

Emergency contact info, check.

We walk down three hundred hallways and into a large room full of beds where I will be prepped.

Multiple people come and introduce themselves to me, check my vitals, prick my fingers, inject heparin, ask me a ton of questions and stroke my ego by telling me how funny I am and how they never would have guessed I had weight loss surgery, that my face shape recovered well from the loss.

I’m calm.

I’m the star of the damn show.

Holy crap, here’s my doctor.

Six months prior I would have said the most humbling moment in my life had been when I had to stand in front of this attractive, and probably younger than me man I had just met in my bra and underwear discussing my floppy belly and letting him photograph it. On this day I would have said it was this; this moment in which I had to stand, NAKED in front of my boyfriend and this man who was still basically a stranger and let him push and pull and lift and adjust my skin and fat, all while drawing on it in that purple marker.

“Can I have a picture of what you cut off?”

He stared at me. “Uh, I guess, if you want one”

“Yea, I do! I never got a picture of my removed stomach, or my gallstones ….” I trail off the way that you do as those drugs kick in.

I swear he rolled his eyes as he said “Sure, you can have a picture” but weeks later when he gives me the picture he says he didn’t. He’s probably right.

My last words in the operating room before they put me out are to a nurse “Please make sure he gets me that picture, you can text it to me” She agrees, probably to keep things moving, and I began slowly reciting my phone number.

Next thing I know I am being wheeled through the doors of the recovery floor saying hello to everyone. I’m happy. I’m alert. I’m starving.

I order food and Steve and I talk on and off, I pick at my food – I am in great shape.

My doctor stops by to check on me, to show us a picture of the removed fat and skin, which weighed just about SEVEN pounds. He says I did great.

Everyone who checks on me is impressed with my energy, I get to see a little of my incision, the nurse tells Steve to take a picture with my phone so I can see and I cry a little and then tell everyone I meet for the rest of the day that I saw my vagina.

I have a brief dizzy spell on my way back from a loosely escorted trip to the bathroom and pass out before Steve even got back home. My binder is opened three to four more times, nurses check on me, doctors check on me, students study me.

I recover. I eat eighty seven ice pops, watch some Friends and go home at noon the next day.

So glad I didn’t sleep later and miss the whole trip!

 

hospitalrelease

 

 

knock knock

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 empathize.

I identify.

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.

KNOCK, KNOCK.

“Hi, do you have a moment to talk about my savior the vertical sleeve gastrectomy?”

 

happy august

I always thought I hated summer because I was fat.

Countless July’s feeling like my arms were too fat for short sleeves or tank tops, thighs too flabby for shorts, and up until last summer I can’t even tell you when I last had a swimsuit.

Wearing lightweight zip ups with the sleeves pushed up was basically my thing. Sweating doing basically anything outside of the house, not even thinking about getting in the car without the air conditioning on; summer sucked.

Last summer was tolerable, I spent a week at the Cape with my parents, wore rompers like all the cool kids and drank my weight in iced coffee in an array of parks or on coffee shop patios.

But that’s it. That’s summer.

Most places or activities you might want to do in summer are flooded with a thousand other people with the same idea.

I mean, it’s no secret that I equate a lot of the positive feelings and happenings in my life now, to my weight loss – I’m not so sure I can pin that on summer after all.

Naturally I always thought Fall was my favorite season because it gets cooler and ends that awkward long sleeved phase in eighty plus degrees that people comment on constantly.

There’s so much more to love!

Even if you take out the fact that my birthday is in October, I mean, Halloween is awesome and pumpkin carving (Hello!), optimal weather for hiking, sleeping, taking long walks and even longer drives. Not sold? Apple cider donuts, horror movies, leaves changing colors, hoodies (appropriately!), cozy socks, guilty pleasure television comes back, flannel shirts and pj bottoms, crunchy leaf piles, I could probably go on… plus, none of that shit exists in summer!

People ask what your plans are for summer and everyone barfs out the same kind of sunny, beach, poolside answers. Nobody ever asks what you’re doing for the fall, which is crazy to me because the possibilities are endless.

So I guess I was wrong; I didn’t hate summer because I was fat, I hated it because it’s an inferior season.

My apologies to all of you waking up to the start of August and mourning it as the sign of the end of your beloved summer.

For me, August is the waiting room for Fall and I’ve got a good book and an iced latte while I sit and check my watch, impatiently waiting my turn.