When I think back I realize I could not have been a more modest young woman. That did not change until 2002 when I had my weight loss surgery. It was my first surgery and I had some anesthesia issues. I’ll save that story for another time. I recall coming to on a respirator, unable to move my arms, completely naked. Fat and naked. Once I could speak again I said, “Hey, I’m still fat, let’s make with the surgery!” I had it the next day. I soon realized just how many people got the luxury of seeing Mt. Jane. It was at that point I thought, “this no longer matters.”
Many surgeries, two children, and reconstructive plastic surgery ten and a half years later I verge on exhibitionism. For I am not my body. I am not my job. I am not my hair color. Those things are just parts of me. The me, the real me, is not physical.
Ooh, I just went all touchy-feely on you I know. For those who are trapped within their bodies, those who cannot cross their legs, those who cannot walk through a grocery store, they still live inside their prisons. Just because you lose weight and carve out a new physical self doesn’t mean the inside completely changes.
I often wrestle with the opposing thoughts of people can’t change vs.life is change. I see it as people do change, to an extent, whether they know it or not. Life is adaptation. If you are becoming super morbidly obese you, by the nature of the disease, must change to survive. If you are becoming a person of normal size again, you must adapt.
And yet, the people around you may not adapt as readily. So many times as support group moderator I hear of friends and family who resist the newly thinner member. If you’re the “fat friend” once you lose that title in the group, how are you to interact? You are not your body. You may have always seen yourself that way, but you are wrong.
Yeah, I said it, you are wrong. You are more than thighs that rub together, you are more than arms the size of canned hams, you are more than a grotesque profile due to that chin neck thing you’ve got going on there, you are more than your back fat.
You have to adapt. You have to change how you react to you. It would be so much easier to blame someone else or have someone else change something for you. But that’s not going to fix it. If you’re unhealthy, for whatever reason, you have two choices. Stay unhealthy and deal with the consequences or do what it takes to get healthy. I saw myself as becoming incapacitated by the time I was 60. I had a vision of being trapped in a body that no longer let me get around and it was all my own doing. I wasn’t going to stand for it so I had weight loss surgery. Now I am healthy. For me, it was a very simple decision.
I know it’s not so simple for others. And just because my decision was simple doesn’t mean my life since surgery has been simple. I spend a few minutes every day looking for body flaws and, oddly enough, find several of them. Every day. For me to say something positive about myself is quite a trick. And yet even I have to remind myself, I am not my body. Maybe if I say it enough it will sink in.
I remember when I heard people remark they had 20 pounds to lose and it was so heard and wa wa waaaaaa. I hated them. When you have 200 pounds to lose you can drop 20 and seriously, no one notices. Drop 100 then they notice. Now that I live in that weight fluctuating time space continuum I have transferred that disgust onto myself. When, quite honestly, I could use the loathing time for my lack of housekeeping and cleaning skills.
You are not your body. However, your body is what you see and what everyone else sees. It’s easy to understand how so much importance is placed upon it. I am not my body. Yet it’s the only one I’ve got. I guess I’d better get used to it.