Self – part 1

I have been mulling over many different and personal topics about myself, but I never see a worth in putting those “things” into actual words. My mind is so full of baggage right now and I need to free up some valuable space in my head.

We all hold onto shit that we shouldn’t. Maybe a comment made by an acquaintance, or a co-worker that really shouldn’t matter, sometimes hits hard. I find this to be especially true when I am already feeling vulnerable and when I’m doing all I can to keep my shit together on a daily basis.

I will make this disclaimer on any and all posts titled Self. I do not know many of my followers personally, but I do know some. And all of the followers I know are from different realms of my life. If you feel you may be uncomfortable reading personal stuff – STOP HERE. If not – let’s go.

When I think about myself, I always try and see what others may see or think about me. Is it wrong? Yep, but we all do it. At least I think we all do it and if you don’t – I commend you and give you the biggest high five EVER. So, I ask myself – what’s the first thing that pops into my mind that describes me? FAT. Fat is the only word that pops into my head and it’s flashing on a giant marquee shining bright for all to see and it’s flashing directly above my head. Why? I dunno. I have chatted about this topic numerous times in various ways. I’m going to attempt to break it down, for me and you.

foodhappy foodcomfort foodhappy foodcomfort foodhappy foodcomfort you get the picture. It has always been that for me.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? I honestly don’t remember tons from my very early childhood. Is that normal? I have no clue. If I try to think back, I get bits and pieces of different stuff. One memory that kinda starts my love/hate relationship with food is being at my great-grandmother’s house over the summer. She was my person, my Nana. Mom worked full-time so when summer vacation came, I was dropped off at Nana’s each weekday morning. My sister was dropped off at our grandparents house. This is where and when I started to realize families had favorites. The grandparents house was much different than Nana’s house. At the grandparents house things were…..sterile and unemotional. My sister was their princess. Another family fact I realized very early. She was/is beautiful, smart, thin, great hair, great skin, etc. Nana’s house was for me was learning how to scrub a kitchen floor on your hands and knees. Learning the feel of making pie dough from scratch, the smell when a cake is almost finished baking. Nana’s house was food and comfort. I know Nana saw the favoritism, I know Nana felt sad for me, I know Nana loved me unconditionally and that is why Nana fed me and hugged me and kissed my cheek. Now, in no way am I blaming Nana for my weight at any point in my life. There were numerous other adults that played a part. It’s kinda like the family was divided (even though it is a tiny family). One side was my sister’s “people” and one side was my “people”. And like kids do, my sister and I each played our role.

I was absolutely a chunky kid. No doubt about it. But when your older sister is a bean pole, even a slightly chunky younger sister sticks out like a sore thumb. I would say I was average through high school years, maybe a few pounds shy of above average. Remember, I’m talking the 80’s. Typically only the “druggies” were stick thin, or the “goths”, but that could have been from all the black they wore. In my circle of friends I was again, average. Our group of friends shared clothing, although my mom hated when I shared clothing because it would inevitably come back damaged in some way. But whatever!

I remember I always felt that I had to or at least wanted to have a boyfriend or someone that was interested. Didn’t matter who they were, what social group they were from, as long as I felt that someone……….accepted me. Yes, very pathetic. If I had all the time back that was spent trying to do things and look a certain way or act a certain way to get noticed, I could have been an all A student! Midway through my junior year in high school I met the boy that would become my husband and my soulmate. He actually liked ME, not a friend, not my sister, but ME. He was quite and shy, I was not. He was inexperienced, I was not. He was skinny, I was not. He made me happy, he still does most of the time. BUT, let’s not forget what my brain and happiness equals………….FOOD!

We had a totally fun filled dating life. Did all the stuff teenagers do. Went to the mall, we ate. Went to the movies, we ate. Went out with friends, we ate. We stayed home, we ate. He didn’t judge me, he didn’t mock me. He just loved me and we ate.

As the years went by, my weight steadily increased. I can’t sit here today and put my finger on exactly why it did, but it did. I was active, we were always doing something. I just don’t know.

We were married in 1991. I was 21, he was 22. First baby boy in 1993, second baby boy in 1996 and surprise baby girl in 2000. And yes, with each pregnancy came higher numbers on the scale. There was also TONS of family drama and fighting through those years. His family, my family. It was absolutely crazy. But we know what makes drama and fighting better (say it with me) FOOD! Yes, of course FOOD! The sweeter the better, the bigger the better!

I will say that through the late 1990’s and into the 2000’s I tried numerous different diets. I tried Weight Watchers, Deal-a-Meal, I went to Jazzercise classes. I would always manage to lose about 50 pounds and everything stopped dead. I would continue to try for a bit and then become hopeless and turn back to my good old friend – food.

Then I started to hear talk about weight loss surgery. I stuck my nose up at it; no way would I ever consider that. That’s for other people, not me. Or at least that’s what I told myself.

December 19, 2011, I had gastric bypass surgery. I went through the 6+ months of classes. Learned more than I could ever hope to learn about food and nutrition. I was so very fortunate to find a absolutely phenomenal weight loss group and surgeon. I followed every rule and guideline before and after surgery. I was proud of myself for a change, and that is very hard for me to say. But let’s talk numbers. That’s what we are all judge by – numbers. Our age, weight, clothing size, credit score, year of our car, cost of our house, etc.

When I actually had the surgery I was 305 pounds. I was morbidly obese. At my absolute lowest weight, I was 150. That was about 2-3 years after surgery. That was an impossible weight for me to maintain. I felt awful and did not look healthy. I know that’s a great excuse to gain weight, but it was true. I held fast at 165-175 for the next like 3 years. And then the numbers started climbing. I will not use my girl child problems as an excuse, I will say those issues certainly didn’t help. I stopped taking care of me and devoted time and energy to her. I will NOT ever regret doing that. I still don’t.

I am ultimately the only person that controls what goes into my body. I learned a new lifestyle in 2011 and I need to find it again and embrace it. I am currently holding around the 200 pound mark. It makes me cringe, it makes me feel like giving up, it makes me feel like a failure.

I have recently started to change some stuff. My husband and I got bikes, like the hybrid ones. There is a great rail-to-trail in our town. We went on three bike rides, increasing the distance a little each time. The third ride was 8 miles, we rode four miles out and turned around. One minor problem. Lady luck was not on my side. I honestly have the rhythm of the Jackson 5. I can dance, like really dance. My balance is another story. As we are turning around, we are also stopping for a water break. After all, we just rode 4 miles in the blazing sun and 90 degree heat! I have no clue what happened, but I am fairly sure my shoelace got stuck in the pedal and as I tried to get off the bike I kinda got thrown. Landed on both knees and my right elbow. I rolled to my back, arms up and told my hubby to help me up. He did. We had some water and I got back on the bike. He asked me about a million times if I was sure I wanted to continue, of course I didn’t want to continue but I NEEDED to continue! So I rode the 4 miles back to our car with blood running down both legs and my arm. I did notice my right shoulder getting stiff. I thought I might have jammed it or something and was seriously contemplating asking my hubby to give it a good yank to get it back in place. Glad I didn’t do that.

By the next morning I could barely move my arm. I was freaked. I drove to a local Orthopedic Urgent Care. X-rays were taken, physical exam completed. I have a fracture of some outer bone on my shoulder and the doc felt sure a “traumatic rotator cuff injury”. He never actually said the word surgery in my presence, but mentioned it would most likely need to be fixed. He ordered an MRI and set me up with an orthopedic doc in my town to follow up with. I go to my orthopedic doc tomorrow afternoon and got my MRI results today. I’m not a doctor, but words like “moderate full-size thickness tear” was used numerous times. I am assuming it is either the rotator cuff or other tendons. I decided not to be a Google doctor and wait until I see the professional tomorrow. Does my arm/shoulder hurt – YES. It is sore and feels heavy and gets very tired and achy. It sucks. Surgery will suck worse, but if it has to be, let’s get this shit going. I want to get back on the bike and feel proud for riding and not want to shove a donut in my face because I rode 8 miles!

Now, there is obviously stuff I let out. Not on purpose, just because gastric bypass surgery is very involved. During my recovery I started on liquids only and moved slowly through each phase of food. I exercised regularly. I will not say religiously because I think I had a good handle on what I could handle and what my body could handle. It had an effect on my relationships with friends and family. But please know that I am an open book when it comes to weight loss surgery. If you have questions, ask. I will answer honestly.

Thank you for reading. This is my therapy for the time being. Thinking about the possibility of surgery, recovery, not working and no paycheck, a new baby blessing our family in October, my girl child and her mental health journey (oh, she now has a dual diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder), the COVID crisis, the racial crisis, things are just so fucked up people! Where’s the food???????????????????????????? Just kidding, I hope.

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