Monday, May 04, 2009

heavyweight vs. lightweight

This is going to be a long one. Buckle your seatbelts, kids.

I spent some time over the weekend talking (rather, being talked at, but that's another story I prolly shouldn't blog about...) with another weight-loss surgery patient. This other patient is what we call a Lightweight. Lightweights usually have a BMI right around 40 and usually reach their goal within 6 months, generally speaking. I, on the other hand, am what's called a Heavyweight. No, it's true. I am. Or was, at least. I'm in it for the long haul, and I know that I will reach my goal in 12-18 months, depending on good behavior. I am totally okay with that. For the sake of keeping it real, I will tell you that there is some animosity on both sides -- there are heavyweights who look at the lightweights and think "Why are they getting surgery?" and there are lightweights who look at the heavyweights and wonder how we could ever have let ourselves get to this point. I get it, sort of. And sometimes I do wonder that myself. I don't know if I would have bothered getting surgery if I had weighed, say, 240 lbs, even though I technically would have qualified. Don't even ask what I did weigh. All will be revealed on my one-year surgiversary, August the 25th, but not a moment sooner. So don't ask.

This particular lightweight is around a year out of surgery and pretty close to her final goal. As I was listening to her, she said a few things that shocked me. She was assuring some people considering surgery of how much their lives would change and how wonderful everything would be post-op. She spent a lot of time complaining that she never had the confidence to do this, that, and the other thing before she lost the weight. Things like getting an education, a cushy high-paying job, living on one's own, and a relationship with a man who respects you.

Ahem. The what and the who now? Stay with me. I'm going somewhere with this.

I took a couple days to think this all over. I think what bothered me the most is that it seemed to be understood as a given that NONE of these things are remotely possible if one is overweight. It was just taken for granted that if you're overweight you're going to have no self-confidence whatsoever and thus let everyone walk all over you and never hope for better. You won't have the confidence to establish a good career for yourself so you'll just settle for whatever comes along. You won't have the confidence to seek out a good, life-giving relationship, so you'll settle for whatever Bozo you meet who deigns to speak with you. You'll be doing a lot of settling, apparently, and nothing but settling and certainly not complaining about it!

As I was driving home tonight, just as I wheeling my car around the 130 North exit off of 295, I had an epiphany about this. I even yelled out HOLY SHIT! to myself as I thought of it. This lightweight, who at her highest weight weighed less than I do right now, had been more adversely affected by her weight than I had been by mine. She had let it stop her in so many ways and in ways that I never ever would have considered, even at my heaviest.

I don't think I can adequately put it into words, but this epiphany has given me EVEN MORE CONFIDENCE. I feel more confident than ever that I am going to reach my goal. More confident than ever that I can continue the tough things like eating right and going to the gym because I deserve to do those things and take that time to take care of myself. More confident than ever that I am going to continue working this tool and enjoy a very full and rich lifetime of good health. More confident than ever that I can help others along this journey, and together we will see each other through it. More confident than ever that I deserve things like a good job where I am respected, a rewarding career, friends/family who love and support me, and a good and life-giving relationship. More confident than ever that I DESERVE THESE THINGS, and I ALWAYS HAVE.

This epiphany comes at a good time for me, people. Last week I took my eight month progress photos, you see, and as I was clicking through my online photo album, when I got to the most recent photo (a cute close-up of me smiling like the happy girl that I am), I clicked again and was brought to the very first photo. The one taken the day before surgery, and I looked at that photo and felt so, so sad. I was thinking things like "OMG, did I really look that bad? How the hell could I have left the house like that? Why would anyone have wanted to talk to me?" I know, I know, very sad. Hey, I'm not saying that every thought I have is a rational one. But now that I've had this epiphany, I no longer feel sad about it. Because that girl that I was in that photo eight months ago? She is one of the bravest people that you will ever meet. She was brave enough to know that she deserved good things, very good things, even if it meant first getting through the rigamoral of pre-op testing and then climbing on that operating table and entrusting a surgeon to help her regain her good health. And she was even brave enough to blog about it!

And as I type this tonight, I feel very thankful for this confidence. Thankful to my parents, my family, my friends, God, and the various communities I am part of. And thankful that I have always had this confidence all along, and now I am thankful for my increasing awareness of it. So look out, people. Who knows what's possible now?!!

That's all.


sairy said...

you are just so kick ass I can't describe it effectively :D

Anonymous said...

I'm in tears.... Because I've always known these things about you! And have admired you for them! And I'm so glad that you really can see them in yourself! xoxo

MoSup said...

"OMG, did I really look that bad? How the hell could I have left the house like that? Why would anyone have wanted to talk to me?"

Lesley, those of us who love you have ALWAYS wanted to talk to you, leave the house with you, and never though you looked bad!

Good grief, girl, you made me highlight my hair and use moisturizer! You knew more about beauties than us skinny-minis!

MoSup said...


Mrs.X said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Stewie said...

Of course you are confident.

You are good enough, smart enough and doggone it, Lesley, people like you.

(Plus you keep your whore legs shut.)

Lesley said...

sairy - thank you!

anonymous - thank you so much!

mosup - aww, thanks! You'll thank me someday for the moisturizer tips!!! ;)

mrs. x - thank you!

stewie - thank you! And that is true, I certainly do keep them shut. No taxpayer-paid pedicures here.

koskita said...

I'm proud to call you my friend.

Lesley said...

koskita - Aww, now THAT made me teary! Thank you so much. I can't wait to see you!

Jenn said...

Is it totally creepy that I want to give you a big hug right now? I've been having a rough couple of weeks, fat girl-wise. Some days it's hard to realize that, yes, damn it, I am worth it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You inspire me all the time and that other opatient has more issues then Playboy to deal with so glad she gave you a "got it" moment to soar even higher.

Lesley said...

jenn - Awww, of course you can hug me, baby! I think I needed a hug after writing that anyway.

anonymous - Thank you! You inspire me too! And I am SO totally shocked you saw right through this and figured out who I meant. It's shocking, I tell you!!! ;-)

Snooze said...

You and Mainja (one of the people I link to and who I know in real life) are extremely inspirational. Good on ya darling!

Jenn from WA said...

*sniff sniff...

Ace said...

You go, girl!

Sorry I'm late. Just got around to reading. Take me off the bad list.

Keep up the great work!