Yesterday was six weeks. I’m slowly trying to consume my very first veggies in two months. Part of me wants to take the tiny bites I’m supposed to take; the rest of me wants to shove the whole plate in my mouth and ask for more. Then it comes on...the pain. It feels like a rock is bouncing from the bottom of my stomach to the middle of my throat and then finding a home right before it decides to expand in all directions. Oddly enough, it isn’t totally different from when I’m hungry. The line between begging for food and running from it is very thin.
Drinking is its own beast. You have to take little sips spread out over the day. Sip...sip…………..sip. The days are getting hotter. I’m so much more active. And, frankly, sometimes, like all of us, I start getting dehydrated. So, what do I do? I swig. I gulp. I refuse to sip. Sometimes I screamed out, “I’m sorry tiny tummy!” The pain is intense. The pain is overwhelming and it is immediate. I do it at Brew Haha; I do it in bed; I do it at Barre. In Barre, I stare at the ground and pray I won’t throw up. The carpet doesn’t seem equipped for such things. At home, I writhe in pain or worse, in public I run home home, so I can writhe in pain curled up on my bed praying for sleep. Drinking too fast goes away as quickly as it came on. I recover. I move on and I attempt to not repeat my mistakes for at least an hour.
Food is an entirely different story. When it came to the liquid diet and the pureed food, everything was so slow and deliberate that pain from the act of eating was few and far between. I would just get full really quickly, and I’d stop. My stomach was raw and healing, and it wasn’t a mind fuck. And while my stomach will be raw and healing for quite some time, once I hit soft foods, I found it impossible to regulate time. Setting a timer for a half an hour felt absurd, and I started wanting to run out of the house quickly. And, frankly, things started tasting good (which, of course, is a whole other issue), so taking so much time got harder and harder. Food is a guessing game. Somethings work. Somethings don’t. Somethings allow me to walk around pain-free for a few hours, while others trap me in my room for hours. I have to stop everyone’s day because the pain completely overtakes me.
As you all know, in this very short period time (eight weeks, including my pre-op liquid diet), I’ve lost weight and inches. I’ve gained energy. I’ve gained the ability and desire to challenge myself physically which comes with perks: a whole new world of clothing. I’m finally able to walk into any store and not feel filled with shame. Yes, let me say that again: I can walk into any store without feeling shame. I can try clothes on and while not all of them will fit me or look good on me, some will. I went from a 3X to a Large. I’m 5’1,” and I was pushing a size 22. You all know the list of things I could not do. And now, I can do them. I’m going on a plane next week and have to keep reminding myself that I won’t need a seat belt extender. And as much as I remind myself, I won’t believe it until it happens. I will be scared out of my mind until the moment that seat belt clicks.
And this is just the start. I have no idea what will happen next. I have no idea how small I’ll get, but every single moment is a huge victory. Every single moment is worth fighting for. This is all encompassing. This is intense. This is completely and utterly life changing. It’s emotionally invigorating. And it’s exhausting.
But none of this is the really hard part. The hard part kept creeping up in the past week or so, when I was shopping no less. We all know I document everything. God forbid you don’t join me on my shopping trip. I snap pictures. I make comments. And most likely, two hours before or even five minutes before I was writhing in pain. Have I made that clear enough yet? Are you sure? Should I make videos of the pain too or make my bed a Facebook check-in spot, so everyone knows that this shit fucking hurts?
Why am I suddenly getting angry? Why is my tone shifting? Because while I was having the exhilarating experience of shopping in the ladies section at Target and other places, I had the audacity to refer to them as regular or normal sizes. I had the audacity to get excited and feel beautiful in this smaller body. I made the mistake in celebrating my shifting appearance in a new section of the store...the much bigger section of the store that isn’t shoved in the back or hidden up the stairs or worse not there at all. I actually explored the whole second floor of Nordstrom yesterday knowing I could try clothes on if I wanted.
This isn’t a commentary about the fashion industry. If you haven’t figured out by now that I find it disgusting that plus-size women can’t simply walk into any store. They need to get with the program. They need to get with the times. They need to get with so much. We all know I feel this way. My brain hasn’t been sucked out of my head along with my fat. I haven’t suddenly become a fat shamer. I haven’t suddenly thrown the body image movement out the window. Are new ideas starting to form in my head? Sure. Of course. Am I ready to talk about them? No, I can’t even articulate them to myself, let alone an audience.
What I don’t understand is the desire to make me have to stand for something right now. The need for every one of my posts about my own very personal, very difficult, very life-changing experience to have to be a commentary on life in general. I am nothing right now. As I keep saying, I’m at the starting line right now. I can’t speak for anyone or anything but myself right now, and half the time I can’t even speak for me.
In my bariatric women’s support group many of the women don’t even share the fact they’ve had surgery. They hide their experience because they are afraid of other people’s judgements. The core of me finds this shocking. How could you keep such a big secret. Aren’t you proud? Don’t you want to sell t-shirts? But, they aren’t me, and I’m not them. This is all so incredibly personal, and when you try to make it some sort of universal political statement it loses its truth and it’s power. Maybe if I knew how to stay quiet for 2.5 seconds than I wouldn’t feel pushed. Maybe if I kept things to myself then I wouldn’t feel like I’m somehow not throwing Fat Shosh under the bus or all the girls I wrote for when i wrote about the importance of body acceptance.
But here’s the thing. I’m not throwing Fat Shosh under the bus. Fat Shosh threw Fat Shosh under the bus for a million different reasons and in a million different ways. Some of which had to do with weight and some of which had to do with other things. I acted out. I made bad choices. I made very strange bedfellows. I spent so much time sleeping. I spent so much time accepting behavior from men because they fucking could. I spent so much time crying. And, yet oddly, I never once looked in the mirror and thought...nope...yuck. And yes, you can tell me a million times over but you were beautiful. But I wasn’t...not at the end. My bad choices were seeping out of my pores. I was 38-years-old and I’d made myself into an easy target for a lot of things.
But Shosh! Shosh! But Shosh nothing. I couldn’t keep living like that. I couldn’t keep making those choices. YES, I’m sorry if this offends your sensibilities, but I could not keep walking around the word squeezing myself into bigger and bigger clothes. I couldn’t keep throwing on make up and dying my hair pink in the hope that no one would notice. It didn’t actually feel good. You get that right? Being the pink-haired girl with the funky plus-size dresses didn’t actually feel good. My tattoos didn’t help me fit on the roller coaster ride, and my cleavage certainly didn’t help guide me into a lasting a positive romantic relationship.
Why not? I can’t say I really have the answer to that. Like I said, it’s only been six weeks. I have so many half thought-out theories. I have so many revelations. I have such higher expectations.
And if I want to walk into a clothing store and revel at the fact I fit into size large shirts, let me revel. I deserve to revel. Everyone deserves to revel.