Friday, June 17, 2016

Turn and face the change...

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes. Ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange).  Look out you Rock'n' rollers.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.  Ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)
Pretty soon now you're gonna get older.  Time may change me.  But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me.  But I can't trace time”.
–Changes David Bowie

As always I’m thinking about change, thought I’d give a little nod to our dearly departed Bowie.  We’ve lost too many of the good ones this year.

Have I said how much weight loss surgery has changed my life?  Let me say it now. Weight loss surgery has changed my life.  No regrets. NONE.  However, it is not an easy road and there are definite pros and cons.

I was a big girl.  300lbs big and when I look back on the photos of myself it’s almost shocking to see how big I was.  When people who know me look at photos of me, they always say “I didn’t know you that big”.  Errr yeah you did.  We were friends, family, colleagues. You knew me then.  I promise you. “Wow”.  Yep, wow.  While I hated being that big, I took care to look as good as I could given my limits.  I tried to find clothes that were flattering and that I liked.  Unless you have been overweight, you can’t imagine how hard that is.  

The thing about the way my body was, while big, everything was where it was supposed to be.  It all lined up.  Let’s take my breasts for example, in hindsight, my breasts were great—full, buoyant, lusted after and enjoyed.  I’m sorry that ever complained about them.  Forgive me boobies, for I took thee for granted. 

I never really thought about the beauty of having a body, while overly large, was propionate and pretty predictable.  If you were a man, who was so inclined, to make the attempt and was ultimately successful in getting me naked, you knew what you were getting into.  No surprises here.  You can’t hide 300lbs behind a black tent, no matter how fetching the tent is.

But, I knew what being that heavy would mean in the long run.   Every time I hit a weight milestone, it scared me.  200lbs, 250lbs, 272lbs (why that number? Because when I weighed 272lbs it was my, then all time high. The number that was going to make me take my life in my hands.  That is, until 300lbs.  300lbs really really scared me.  I was slow, sluggish, unhealthy and tired.  300lbs, unless you’re 7 feet tall, is the beginning that is a death sentence really.  It was a matter of time before I started to feel the physical effects of being that heavy. 

Hop, skip, jump I have WLS and the numbers start go down---which makes me happy.  But my body has lost its bounce, fullness and lushness.  My body, in spite of how good it looks in clothes, in spite of what the number that is says on the scale, is withering away.  

This is a common problem of the people who have experienced a "massive weight loss".  In fact, this is image is often shared between those of us who have had WLS. 
That is no joke, just trust me.

Breasts? Think long stretched out tube socks.  Arms? I can hear my arms slap against my body when I brush my teeth.  Stomach? I don’t know what Michelle Duggar’s stomach looks like, but it can’t be good and neither is mine.  Same deal with my thighs.  I feel like a Shar Pei.  That is, I did, until a few weeks ago when I had an abdominoplasty and brachioplasty.

Right now I’m still in some pain, I’m hunched over, walking pretty gingerly, the scars are fresh, I’m rocking out with a drain in my stomach and I haven’t taken a shower since May 20th. * I still have to repair my breasts and thighs, but that’s coming and I feel good about it.  Yes, I said I “have to” repair breasts and thighs.  In order for me to be happy, I need to have a body that matches the matches the number on the scale and how I feel.  Having this wrinkly, deflated body makes me feel badly and has an effect on my morale.  It SUCKS having to wear Spanx every day.

Weight loss surgery was the first step in what is turning out to be long process towards good health and the body I want.  But, I’ll say it again. NO regrets. NONE.

* When I wrote this, I hadn’t yet bathed.  But my drains came out on 
--> June 11th and I am no longer a member of the great unwashed. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sweet Child of Mine...

She's got a smile that it seems to me reminds me of childhood memories. Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky. Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place. And if I stare too long, I'd probably break down and cry. Whoa, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine. Whoa, oh, oh, oh, sweet love of mine. –
“Sweet Child of Mine” Guns n’ Roses

I've been thinking a lot recently about that fact that I am not a mother. It's got me feeling... A WAY.  It's something that crops up every now and again. This last bout of motherhood on the brain (I think about this a lot) reminded me of something I wrote a while back, but didn’t post.

Last year, or maybe even the year before, Jennifer Aniston appeared on Carson Daily. During the interview, she discussed how people always want to know when she’s getting married or when she’s having children.  She expressed some frustration that the perception is that her value as a woman is less than because is she unmarried and childless. This caused Tamron Hall to piggyback on Aniston’s remarks.

This feels like the story of my life.  I think we're all aware that I do not have children.  When talking to people about issues with kids, I always preface my statement with “I know that I am not a parent” before I say something. Why? I feel the need to beat them to the punch.  Because I know they are thinking it, that because I am not parent, my input is without value.  

So you got me, I don’t know what it’s like to worry about a child that belongs to ME.  Does this mean that I do not have maternal feelings or instincts? Does this mean when some horrible tragedy befalls I child that I do not feel it deeply and cry along with other people (parents AND non parents) watching the same news item? Not being a mother does not mean that I do not have empathy or understanding. I am very resentful of the implication that some how you become a kinder, gentler person simply because you are parent.  We all know that is not true. Just watch the news and read the paper.  Why is this? Why do people, women especially, who do not have children some how dismissed?  

Listen, I get it. When you become a parent, your priorities shift.  There is nothing like being a parent—good and bad. But is parenthood EVERYTHING? Does it make you more valuable as a person? Would I be more empathetic if I were a parent? There is something that we do to women who are not wives and mothers.  It may not be implicitly said, but there is a sentiment that single, childless women are less than or damaged in some way.   Why aren't you married? No children either? Oh. (slightly sad look). 

I remember years ago a friend of mine (who has since had a child) expressed to me the idea that she wanted to be a mother--not just so that she could have a child (which she wanted) but so that she didn't end up one of those "miserable, angry bitter bitches".  I'll bet if were to mention that to her today, she would swear up and down that she didn't say it. But she did. And I'm sure that she is not the only person who thinks that.  Being a parent makes life worth living, right?  So when you aren't, your life is... what? A half life? A cursed life? Or perhaps just a life that is meaningless and empty? 

The notion that I am not a parent so therefore I am less kind, empathetic, loving, understanding or am somehow damaged in some way is galling and hurtful. There are things that I don't need to be parent to know (more on that at a later date). 

I just think that we have a part to play in the world. Some of us are parents, some of us are not.  I don't know that I think that one group is less or more important than another.