Thursday, March 17, 2016

My 12th new-birthday: The path to self-acceptance

Today is the 12th anniversary of my gastric bypass surgery. In years past, this date was always celebrated as my new-birthday. A celebration of the first day of the rest of my life. Apparently last year I wasn't feeling the love, as it was probably the first year I didn't post about my surgiversary since I started this blog (my last update was from year 10). That ambivalence continues this year. Yes, having that surgery changed my life but I don't know that it made it better. Yes, I am still 100+ pounds lighter than my heaviest weight, but that doesn't make me a better person (and also hasn't cured my self-esteem issues as I recently realized as I read back on some journals from my 20's). The surgery has, in fact, created more health problems than it has cured. My brain is still geared to believe I am not beautiful or worthy. While I have made HUGE strides in this department, I still tend to use sugar and money to feed my addictions.  

So, this could possibly be my final surgery update on this blog. I no longer want to champion the idea that being thin makes your life any easier or better. I have moved on to a more worthy cause: acceptance of self. As I am. Right here, right now.

I am trying to be less weight-obsessed. If you ask me about a big life activity, I can often tell you almost exactly how much I weighed. Not always how amazing the day was or how much fun I had (or how terrible it was) -- first, how much I weighed, which could often determine how well that day went for me.

No more.

I have been on the path of self-acceptance for awhile now.  It started when I joined Twirly Girls in 2009. My journey continued when I found Chunky Girl Comics in 2013. And it completely sky-rocketed when I started taking control of my health with Ellen a couple of years ago. Don't get me wrong, I still have good and bad days (THIS was a pretty epic public meltdown), however, recognizing that life truly IS a journey and not a destination has been life-changing.

Just because I see a photo or video of myself and am bummed to see a fat roll doesn't mean I am no longer accepting of my body. If I allowed that to stop me from wearing an outfit for a performance, then that would be a problem. I did see myself in a performance costume this weekend and hated myself in it but I'm not allowing myself to back out. So that is huge in my book. That is what body acceptance is about -- not allowing my brain to talk me out of enjoying my life. I have a good life and I am generally very happy, so not setting this hard line of believing I have to love and accept myself every single day is what gives me the power to actually love and accept myself more often than not. Realizing we all have bad days, even the thinner girls, helps me realize that disliking how I look one day doesn't have to ruin my entire life. I mean, just this week, I saw a photo of me at my lowest post-surgery weight and wished I looked like that again. So, I'm a work in progress. But the time it takes me to pick myself up by my boot straps and move on is getting shorter, so that's a win.

I always feel conflicted when people ask me about my weight loss surgery. On one hand, I do appreciate that it helped me lose so much weight. I do worry that I would have ended up with diabetes, or heart issues, or sleep apnea, or other issues had I continued to gain at the rate I was gaining (at 15 pounds per year, I was scheduled to weigh 500 pounds by the age of 35). However, it is frustrating that I got to deal with post-surgery black-outs, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, mal-absorption, bone spurs, etc. Surgery wasn't the easy way out, that's for sure. Plus, I ended up with enough skin for two people and had to spend $45,000 on surgeries to have that removed. No one warned me how annoying that would be. So, yes, I am happy I had surgery because I feel like it has helped me on my journey toward taking responsibility for my health and being aware of my body. But considering I never had to take anti-depressants until after I lost weight, I don't think the surgery is the end-all, be-all. It is the path I chose, so it is the only one I can report on. And, as I have mentioned before, my life doesn't suck.

Thank you all for coming on this journey with me! I love reading your comments and private messages. I know many of us are in similar boats so it helps to know we are not alone. And we are not -- this blog has helped me realize that.








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