Exactly two years ago today, I woke up in a hospital room to find that the Democrats had taken the House, and the surgeon had taken a big chunk of my stomach and a long length of my intestines. I’ve recovered from the surgery, but I still haven’t entirely recovered from the physical fact of it–I elected to have a portion of my anatomy removed, and my intestines re-routed. Two years later, I am an entirely different person, in an entirely different place, with an entirely different life from the one I had started with. Once upon a time, I was three hundred and twenty pounds.
At one hundred thirty five pounds, I am not living the happily-ever-after I expected to be–things are every bit as turned upside-down as they used to be, and my problems have not been solved. Some things are far easier when you’re skinny, when you fit into airplane seats, when the first thought someone has about you is less likely to be a judgment about your size or your shape, when the very act of buying clothes (and even shoes) is much more simple than it ever was. These are all things that have made my life different, and in some ways better.
But my tendency toward depression–not cured by a single-digit at the
back of my pants. I still procrastinate, I still have a temper. The
secret wonderful parts of my personality that I was convinced were
packed in fat–as if fat is like dry ice–did not emerge from their
cocoon, overshadow the parts I don’t like, and make me blossom into a
whole new rainbow-colored me.
That fat girl cliché: I don’t think I gained all the weight to protect
myself from the world, to hide and cower and never have to engage–but
it is entirely possible that I used being fat as an excuse to be
unhappy, as a scapegoat for all my problems, as a reason for why
nothing could ever change, because my body would never change. It is
possible that that is why I got weight-loss surgery–by god, something
was going to change. By god, did things change.
Two years out, I am supposed to have adjusted to being an unexpected
size, to have adjusted to an unexpected shape and an unexpected way of
being looked at by the world. I am supposed to have just gotten on with
living my life as a person you wouldn’t have guessed was obese, but I
am still getting tangled up in the politics, the strange guilt, how to
talk about it, when to talk about it, what has changed about who I am
when you get right down to it, what ought to change, what I wish I
could change. The catch is that I am like an old-fashioned broken
television set, still, and I keep fiddling with the dial.
Two years out, the good outweighs the difficult, the happiness
outweighs the confusion, all the tiny things that normal-sized people
take for granted still far outweigh the frustration, and I think I am
on my way toward saying yes, it is one of the best things I’ve ever done.