Going through my inbox last night was an exercise in the destruction of my self-esteem in an overwhelming tidal wave of guilt. I had surgery the week before Thanksgiving (abdominoplasty, whee! Ow!), and everything that came after that seemed to sort of slowly wash past me in a muddy trickle. I knew time was unrelenting in its march, that history was being made and written, that things and stuff were being things and stuff but it was hard to pay attention to it all.

Part of it was the drugs, certainly—I was briefly on lortab, and then I got off it, and then I realized that there was a reason they gave me more than just a handful of days’ supply. But a lot of it was that lingering sense of being knocked out of orbit, that feeling of aimless and unmoored meandering through the universe. And it’s a state that’s nigh-impossible to combat when you’re smack in the middle of an especially empty, floaty period, miles out from any marker stones, partially because one of the major symptoms is “not actually being aware that time is slipping away and you are bobbing around unmoored and worthless like a wad of squishy space flotsam.”

Hello, I am squishy space flotsam! How’s it going?

I’m still struggling to get a handle on things—deadlines, to-dos, not being squishy space flotsam, going places other than the doctor’s office for follow-up appointments. Returning long-overdue emails, sent to me during my Golden Hazy Hours of Endless Eternity. Trying to come up with ways to say, “I’m so sorry I haven’t been in touch, I’ve had a lot of surgery” that don’t make me either sound like an asshole looking for sympathy, or a liar pulling out an enormous lie gun and firing it straight into the air and smirking while the enormous lies waft back down to the earth, covering everything with sticky embarrassment for you and on your behalf.

It is a struggle not to end every sentence about surgery with, “I swear! I did! I WILL SHOW YOU THE ENORMOUS T-SHAPED SCAR!”

But then people write back and say oh, surgery? You had surgery? Why did you have surgery? Are you okay? I am hoping it is a side-effect of the Timeless Gravity-Free Jetsam that I am having trouble remembering that my own life is not as all-encompassing to everyone else as it happens to be to me, and that everyone is not actually fully aware of every movement I make every day of my life, no matter how many hours I spend on Facebook clicking Like on pictures of grumpy and adorable toddlers.

I had an abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck, if I want to get all “aging starlet desperately trying to recapture her youth” about it. I am still recovering—and am astonished to realize it has only been two and a half weeks, not the ENDLESS LIFETIME it feels like its been, wearing a post-surgery garment.

Oh yes, I have a stretchy garment to wear at all times. Nerves that were killed dead are now—regenerating? Regrowing? Reattaching? Coming back to life, zombie-like and looking for blood? They’re doing whatever it is they do and it frequently feels like I am being whipped with a very hot wire by a very angry small person with a good arm. I get exhausted easily, I still can’t stand up quite straight. It still feels like someone punched me a lot in all of the below-the-boobs places. You can see my sexy surgery garment under most of the things I wear—it’s got bulky sides, and it goes down to my knees!—which is way better than a milkshake any day, when it comes to boys in your yard. And when I take it off to wash it—I don’t want to talk about it.

It has kind of sucked and I keep waiting for it to not suck and I can’t expect any sympathy because hello, I did this electively! I signed up to be flayed! I paid a lot money for it. It is like some kind of creepy Japanese horror film up in here.

But the difference is astonishing. I’m still all swole up like a stuck pig, but the change in my shape is remarkable. It feels like I’ve been uncovered. It feels like I’ve been transformed. It feels like I’ve been spending way too much money on sexy 60s wiggle dresses and high-waisted pencil skirts.

And yet, and still, because I can’t ever simply be happy, having a tummy tuck feels—problematic to me. I am still struggling with the idea of it. It feels like I am a liar again, after spending so long trying to get my head around the truth of self-acceptance and the reasons behind why I got weight loss surgery. In a lot of ways it feels like I am abandoning all the work I did after I lost so much weight and realized I still didn’t like the body I was left with, my skin, the person I was and looked like. But it also feels like this has been inevitable, unavoidable, necessary. A good thing. A confusing thing full of conflicting ideas. It can’t be taken back. I wouldn’t take it back. Do you want to see my enormous awesome scar? It’s seriously epic.

4 Replies to “flotsam”

  1. I’m totes gonna see that scar. I’m happy for you… not because I’m all “OMG YAY you’re gonna be so extra skinless!!” but because I know you’ve wanted this for a long time, and damn girl you’ve worked hard for it. And also… because… 60’s style dresses…

  2. After my nephrectomy, I offered to show people my scar (on the simplest) and most people thought I was crazy. Only Sara understood and wanted to see it. There is something about a big ass incision that just makes you feel bad ass and powerful!

    Healing though? Sucks so very much. It took a long time to get past the nerve regeneration pain and tingles and shocks. You are still so close to your surgery date that it is absolutely normal for you to be tired, I was told to expect six months time before I was close to feeling like myself.

  3. Kristin, I will even let you touch the scar! It’s kind of amazing. Also, I love you.

    Suzy: I am so glad to know I’m not just crazy or a big sad weakling or something. Or not JUST weak. And that the pain and tingles and shocks are not my weird imagination.

  4. I am a bad blog reader. I’m just seeing your month-old posts!

    I keep thinking about going in for a consultation for a certain cosmetic procedure. Other than the fear of changing my face in a way I don’t like, the idea of feeling like a liar, feeling shallow, is stopping me. I just don’t think I can get over it. Like, I just have to make the best of a really-not-so-terrible face. Heh.

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