For most of my Facebook friends, today is a great day…..
Today is the premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens, Alexandra Lescaze’s documentary about weight loss surgery, “All of Me”.
While I haven’t been as fortunate to be able to preview it, like some of my social media buds, I do have a good idea of what it’s about. And because I exist on social media as a long term weight loss surgery peer AND as a size acceptance/fat acceptance advocate I find it super fascinating getting other’s opinions on it in both communities. And it is going to without a doubt, I’m sure give good insight that probably will make sense of why I do the activism that I do. So I am super excited about it and I’ll reserve opinions and share what I like and if there’s anything that I didn’t like in a forthcoming blog after I see it, tonight.
What is a bigger deal to me, is that today is my daughter’s 11th birthday. Happy 11th Birthday, Zoe Arielle. You’ll have to read other blogs as my complex disabilities (primarily but not ALL) are due to my complications from my gastric bypass. While I exist in the weight loss surgery community as a peer for support but not by example, because I want that community to be supported and I have good insight that’s helpful.
The same could be said for what I provide in size acceptance, specifically as a Fat Acceptance Advocate. And I’ll admit, that I did shortly before my gastric bypass almost 12 1/2 years ago, went looking for support from a local NAAFA chapter. Members were NOT nice to me. Granted, I’m not an easy person to like. But other than saying “Hello” and it not being reciprocated, I have to at least open my mouth and actually say something for most not to like me ;). Truthfully, I’ve always carried the fact that I was the smallest person in the room as a prejudice and went on to have my gastric bypass because my thought at the time, was that I’d rather be hated for being really small than being fat. After being bullied for being fat my whole entire life. Even though I didn’t actually believe that weight loss surgery would work on me because of my luck, not due to not wanting it to. And if I couldn’t find acceptance by fat peers, well then “fuck em” (I know better now in the era of social media that while I don’t get along with “militants” that the sa/fa community doesn’t have a weight requirement) .
Yikes!!!….. While never in my weight loss journey did I EVER think I was better than anyone, thin or FAT, my karma for the sentiment expressed above, I paid for dearly. As I ended up fat again and horribly sick. I had “only” a bmi of 40 at the time of my surgery and none of what’s considered the “traditional co-morbidities of Obesity”. While I was uncomfortable being fat, it was much more of mental health hazard , then it ever being of physical risk to me.
While all of us who have weight loss surgery have “journies” that are uniquely are own, mine is stranger than most. The fact that I mentally fell apart while still thin as I saw myself losing the most basic abilities when it came to caring for both myself and my children. I was Zachary and Zoe’s mother, FIRST and someone who lost weight and was going to be a bariatric specializing Certified Personal Trainer and small business owner, SECOND. However even in my most proactive days as a mother, by others at least, my relevance has been what I look like a woman (more blogs to come about this) and how much I weigh and how fat or thin (which I went all the way, and was a size 2/4 years that I was thin the last 3 1/2 years +, due to exercise. I was a size 9/10 the first 2 1/2 years status post gastric bypass). Because a lot of people need to know what I weight now as I got back up to a size 24 post complications, I’ve kept off about 1/3 of my excess weight. I’m just in awe that it has any relevance given what I’ve gone through.
Which both my in real life and digital universe keeps telling me that my relevance is based upon my weight, first and foremost. Anything else positive or negative about me, is secondary. If I talk about my epic weight gain on psychotropics but still so physically sick pre gastric bypass reversal, people are either fascinated about my weight gain while being sick ( I managed to gain almost 100 of the 107 I lost, in 2 years) or discounting that I was sick BECAUSE of weight loss surgery complications (ulcers/gi bleeds , long term severe nutritional deficiencies, severe reactive hypoglycemia, pulmonary HYPOtension) NOT because I was FAT AGAIN.
The irony is not lost on me that the documentary “All of Me” will be discussed on the Huffington Post Live. The Huffington Post I have a love/ hate relationship. It has a lot of duality on what it brings forth but also what it takes us back as far as Women Issues. I.E
celebrity weight loss and weight gain. Stars who lose all their baby weight , 2 days post partum. Which women are fucked up enough about weight issues. They don’t need any help from the HuffPo, imnsho. I didn’t gain weight in either of my pregnancies due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum. While I was ACTUALLY envied AFTER Zoe’s birth (I was clinically obese so it wasn’t a concern and it should’ve been when I was pregnant with my son 22 years ago), because I fit in my size 9 fitted jeans within 36 hours of her birth it’s a horrible way not to gain weight which pregnancy is a crucial time, to. And the hyperemesis probably played a part in my complex disabilities.
However….I’d be less than forthcoming if I didn’t admit something though that I don’t talk about much. When I had one of many hospitalizations even at my heaviest but still so physically sick from multiple ulcers and years of severe nutritional deficiencies, I didn’t beg my bariatric surgeon to reverse me.
I begged him to REVISE me. Because if I was going to be that fucking sick and disabled, that I didn’t want to be fat again. Which he adamantly refused.
It just happen to be, 3 hospitalizations in 2010, later, I needed an open gastric bypass reversal/takedown to save my life and help me have any chance of living what would still be a small and NOT normal life. But I’d still be alive. By then I’d lost 2/3 of my regain due to spending most of 2010 throwing up and if I was in the hospital not allowed to drink or eat anything. And by then I wasn’t willing to be revised and my surgeon still WOULD HAVE NOT revised me as my weight was NEVER a MEDICAL health issue. Unfortunately a lot of my cognitive disabilities are getting worse. Even though it took a long time for my deficiencies to be on the low side of normal post reversal. What scares most weight loss surgery people about me the most, is the fact that I wasn’t the most non compliant weight loss surgery patient. Even though a lot would like to “blame” me. It’s not my bariatric surgeon’s fault either. He’s a brilliant surgeon and I had technically performed PERFECT gastric bypass. But it’s not my fault even though a lot of people in the weight loss surgery community will blame me for doing something major wrong. Because they don’t want to think that what could happen to ME, could actually happen to them.
What I will be doing today is participating in the digital universe on the conversations about “All of Me”. From my unique perspective as someone who is supportive choice when it comes to weight loss and weight options, up to and including a surgical intervention. But also as size acceptance and fat acceptance advocate who wants to reiterate to the digital universe that I learned the hardest way possible, that being fat isn’t the worst thing to happen to me. Or others. While not projecting my issues without bias on the weight loss surgical community, which I’m very supportive of.
At the same time, I don’t want my young daughter EVER to measure her worth based upon what she looks like. And how much she weighs. And that she never knows from bullying of any kind, like I did. The irony is not lost on me that on a day that I should actively be celebrating her birthday like I did with her older brother’s 11 th birthday (Zoe was 5 1/2 and Zachary was ALMOST 16 when they went to live with my parents), both at his school and with parties and I haven’t been able to do that for her for over her half of life now, and she’s finishing up her last year in school that I’ve never set foot in, is why all of this is really important to me and heartbreaking. And it will continue to fuel the activism that I’m so passionate about. Because I can’t do much else for my daughter.
That has more shame then failing at successfully being able to keep weight off…….And that’s how it should be…