Ok, I guess I should re-phrase it to indicate that in no way was I what normal people would consider skinny! My lowest weight was 150lbs, and yeah, I thought I looked damn good, but definitely not skinny. You might think that a former fat girl would LOVE to be inside that new slimmer body and for the most part you’d be right. I did love that fact that when people looked at me they didn’t see fat anymore, they just saw me and I was, for once, unremarkable. There was no need for a double take anymore, no need for THE LOOK, no need for smug smirks in my general direction. That was all wonderful while it lasted. There were some issues with being inside that new body though. For this post we’ll stick to the first two that come to mind.
The first is having a fat girl inside who feels guilty for liking that the body isn’t fat anymore. I can remember a conversation where the people I was with started talking about fat people. They weren’t being overly mean, but neither were they being complimentary. I immediately blushed and started sweating. They were talking about me! How could they?!? But then I realized they had never known me when I was fat. So they couldn’t be talking about me. They were just having a normal conversation and it never occurred to them to edit themselves because I wasn’t fat!!!! That was one of the weirdest moments post op for me. To realize that I LOVED the fact that they felt comfortable enough around me to talk about fat people cuz I (finally!) wasn’t fat enough to qualify. I was elated, but at the same time totally eaten away with guilt. I mean, since I didn’t say anything to defend fat people that made me a horrible person, right? Plus I felt ashamed of myself for liking being in that group. You know the saying,” I don’t want to be a part of a club that wants me for a member.” That’s how I felt. I felt that to be grateful to be part of that conversation I was betraying every poor bullied fat girl everywhere. That was my identity for so long that it felt like I was joining the dark side when I didn’t defend fat people everywhere.
The second issue that I discovered was a huge amount of rage just simmering under the surface. During that conversation, when all I did was listen, it started to bubble. What right did these people have to be talking that way?! They had NO IDEA what it’s like to live as a fat person. A fat person’s biggest flaw is right out there for all to see and judge. These people were so smug and self-righteous as if it was their God-given right to judge, snicker, giggle and degrade this section of our society. I mean, what if we had monthly prejudices? One month is designated the “bad with money” month. For the whole month, those people would be talked about with derision, looked at, pointed at, every purchase scrutinized by strangers. They would have to tolerate being told they are just lazy and don’t care about their families or children. They would have to go to humiliating support groups, have their bosses question if they could do their job correctly with their “money problem.” Fat people don’t have the luxury of hiding their worse problem from the public or trying to keep it private. So where do those people get off?!? This rage surprised me at first, but after a while I realized it had been there all along. It’s just that fat people aren’t supposed to be mad about their situations. It’s just considered to be their own fault and they should just lay in the bed they made and be quiet about it.
Those were two of the issues I came face to face with about a year after the surgery. Maybe if I had been in therapy from the get go they would have been easier to deal with. I don’t know. If you are considering the surgery that is something you need to think about. There will be things that come up that you could not possibly predict that are different for each of us. If you have had the surgery, tell me what you have come up against that surprised you.
Ultimately, I had to change my thinking about those things. I had to come to terms with the fat girl in my head and find a way to merge her with the new body. And as this most recent 50lbs has come back on over the last 3 years, I’ve had to yet again, change my thinking. I had to finally realize that the girl in my head (fat or thin) needs to be loving and know her own worth. That she can’t let other people’s opinions of her define her opinion of herself. That journey is ongoing but the most important part of it is that I finally DECIDED to change my THINKING about myself. You can too. Trust me, you can!