It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten weight loss surgery—five years, I want to say. Maybe six? Maybe less than that. Maybe somewhere in between that. I could get up and find the stack of paper I have, a whole folder’s worth,about as thick as ream of printer paper, of documentation and medical records and instructions and manuals and permission slips and checklists and diagrams and insurance bills and medical bills and leaflets and pamphlets. Weight loss surgery involves a lot of paperwork, and I’ve saved all of it like I’m afraid there’s going to be an open-book test and I’m going to really regret spending an hour shredding everything.
If there were any kind of test about weight loss surgery, though, I’d fail it. I could never really, and I still can’t, describe exactly what they were going to do up inside me, what with the intestines and the re-routing and the cutting out. I know you’re supposed to eat primarily protein, but I don’t remember amounts and grams, and the final word on fat, I don’t think I ever really waited around to hear it. I also still have no idea how to pronounce duodenal. Doo-odd-en-all? Duo-dennal? Something like that. I had it switched. Whatever the fuck that means.
What it boils down to: an uncertain number of years ago an unclear procedure was performed on unconfirmed areas of my digestive system, and subsequently, though I was unsure about and unprepared for what I was supposed to eat and when and where and how and to what extent, I lost a lot of weight. I lost all of the weight. I lost so much weight that people were starting to say Jen, where did your weight go? Do you need us to help you find it? Here is a sandwich. He is very helpful at looking.
Weight loss surgery was a fucking miracle. I lost a lot of weight, no matter what I did. I was free! I was clear! The world was a beautiful place because I was cured! I had no tits, but I was cured!
I wasn’t cured. That’s the secret surprise ending. I still have this candy issue. And I don’t like to exercise. And I’ve gained weight back. Not to the point where I’m fat-by-society’s-bullshit-standards, I think—but the bullshit part is that I feel fat. I am the size I dreamed about being my entire life—this is one hundred percent a true fact. I used to daydream about being a size 12. I thought 12 was such a good number. I have my boobs back; my butt’s always been there. I have curves, I can shop off the rack in most straight-size stores and can still go thrift store shopping and you can’t see my ribs and that’s a good thing.
And holy crap, I hate it. Holy crap, what is wrong with me? I have no idea! I still have no idea how this whole weight loss surgery thing works! I want to go back to the part where I was just happy to have lost all the weight and didn’t have to think about food or dieting or exercise ever again. I want to be peacefully stupid. I want to be happily ignorant. I want to be a size six again, and I want to punch myself in the face for saying that, and then keep punching myself in the face.
I did learn one thing, during this whole weight loss surgery-type journey I’ve been on: if you are not happy with your body and in your skin, it doesn’t matter what size you are and what other people think you look like. There is no objectivity when it comes to being comfortable with your body. There is only you and all your subjectivity and it doesn’t matter if someone tells you that you’re crazy and gorgeous—if you are unhappy with your weight or your size or your muscle tone, you need to do something about it. Diet, exercise, self-actualization and peaceful letting go—whatever works. It’s all good, if it’s healthy.
And yet I still want to punch myself in the face for being unhappy and ungrateful with the body I’ve got. I feel like I’ve been rescued from being 300 pounds—and I’m being churlish and ungracious about it.
I’ll do something about it. I’ll probably start walking the dogs, instead of just standing there and chucking the ball for them. I’ll probably try to eat just a little less of the candy that makes me sick (candy makes me sick? I say wonderingly, every single time I’m sick after eating candy). I’ll probably try to self-actualize. I’ll find a smarter way to spend the next five to six years. Maybe figure out how to pronounce duodenal.