Monday, March 1, 2010

Death of a Fat Girl

I remember with the utmost clarity the day I woke up and acknowledged that I was indeed FAT. It was a day when I was no longer “the girl with the pretty face” fat or “you hide it so well” fat. I. was. just. fat. Like pre-diabetic, approaching an early heart attack, stroke inducing, hypertension poster child, FAT. I knew at that moment that it was an issue that I could no longer fix in my own. I was done with the roller coaster ride that I was now too fat to even fit on. I was over laughing to hide my pain, joking to distract people from my fear and lying to myself that I wasn’t really that big. I put on my blinders so no one elses opinions could influence my decision, strapped on my ass kicking boots and made an appointment with my doctor to get a referral to a gastric surgeon. There started my journey. It’s been a rocky road (notice the food reference) filled with doubt and second guessing and questions and stares of disbelief and I’ve fought my way through all of it like a budget bride at a 50% off bridal store sale.

The day I walked into the initial surgical seminar, I looked around in amazement at people who were way worse off than I was. There were people there twice my size, using canes and walkers, barely fitting in chairs, using oxygen masks to breathe and barely being able to walk the 200 feet from the elevator to the conference room. And do you know what the first thought was to pass through my mind? See, I’m not so fat after all. Maybe I don’t need this. It could be worse. Then the little ass kicking ninja that has since taken over my brain punched me in the temporal lobe and screamed, “ARE YOU A MORON??? Do you not realize this is like a fat persons Scrooge-esque look into what the future will certainly be if you walk out of this room?” So, I sat my fat ass down and listened. And man, was I glad I did. It changed my life in ways that no infomercial, diet pill, celebrity weight loss story or doctor ever could. Something just…clicked. I walked out of there KNOWING I was going to do this now, or die trying.

I spent the first couple of months in complete overwhelming misery. Between the mountains of information I was being given, the copious amounts I was reading online, and trying to decrease my caloric intake from “WTF were you thinking?” to say, 1200 calories per day, I was a fat, hot mess. My knees hurt from walking the treadmill, my arms hurt from lifting weights, and my brain hurt from trying to absorb all the new things I was learning. Forcing myself to believe that meatless chicken nuggets could taste just as good as a grilled Sahlens hot dog took time, training, tears and a few temper tantrums.

I felt like I was speaking empty words when people asked me about the surgery. I felt like every ear was only half listening to my newest “get thin quick” scheme. I felt like inside they were all thinking they had heard this all before. Some people seemed outright supportive and some seemed completely against it. To be honest, whatever they were thinking, I didn’t care. I was staring straight ahead, keeping my eye on the prize, aiming with my water gun right at the hole of the scary clown, ready to take the leap. Everytime I stepped on the scale for the nutritionist and the number dropped, I was more and more certain that this was the right decision. Everytime I reached for the rice cake instead of the cookie, I knew that I was really ready.

I was no longer making decisions that were intentionally self destructive. I looked back at the decisions I have made in the last four years and I realized divorcing my ex was just the first step in doing what I thought was best for ME and other peoples opinions could be damned. I was divorcing bad habits, crutches, resentment, regrets and feelings of inadequate self worth. I was divorcing the person I no longer wanted to be and becoming the person I deserved to be.

The day I woke up and decided to change my life I realized that just as we can choose to drown in our sorrows, so can we choose to swim in that which makes us happy. I was dusting the house that day when I glanced up at a picture of my kids. They are standing together laughing, and although I can't recall what they are laughing at, it made me smile just the same. Everything to them is new, each day a fresh beginning; every blink of the eye a chance to see something again for the first time. Our minds are as strong or as weak as we allow it to be. Our arms can carry the weight of the world and still have the strength and room to wrap them around someone and tell them we love them. Our pride is compiled of dignity and forgiveness and our spirit is as free as the day we were born. We only have to let it be free every now and then.

So today, I am free. I am free to be afraid and make the scary decisions. I am free to try a different me, plot a different course and take a leap of faith. I remember the day I woke up and decided to be something else. I will remember the minute I decided I was worth more as a wife and a mother and a friend and a daughter than all the years I spent wasting the life given to me. I will remember that while my outside shell may change, I will still be the same strong, beautiful woman that looks in the mirror today. I will remember all the people who support me and love me as I take this journey. I will remember the past and leave plenty room for the future. You can be certain, I will remember it all.

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