I had a gastric bypass in 2011. It will be 2 years in April and I am not sad about it. I took some power back from losing weight and while I do wish it didn't have to go to surgical removal of my intestines and hacking of my entire digestive system, it is done. Over. I'm okay with what happened, though it took two years of therapy, mood swings, body dysmorphic disorder and three months of anorexia to be at this place.
I documented my journey from the time I knew I'd be going into the room to have my body permanently altered weeks before, to the most current video blog a month or so ago. I have become increasingly disturbed by the sheer numbers of follows and visits to my page. The Adsense google contract alone took me into another level of video blogger. I was making extra cash now, too.
Time has healed some broken & damaged parts of my thinking. Time and meditation and therapy and books and self-introspection and a LOT of fear-facing changed me. I wish my sorry ass had done this before my surgery. But I often wonder if the catch 22 will always be happiness in retrospect. Life is kinda bittersweet, so I am used to happiness as a "reflection" rather than an exact moment or thing.
In my videos, I try to use myself as an example; showing skin occasionally, dressed up and down, relaxed and at my worst, so that there is a narrative that is honest. I answered emails for a long time, but then an exchange back and forth between myself and 20-50 people became an impossible task. I felt ashamed to have begun to want to give back, only to be stretched, ironically, too thin.
Today is no exception. A new follower used her airtime to comment and scrutinize 4-5 videos of me, scattered timeline-wise, from my beginning to one of my worst moments as a dehydrated anorexic. Her comment was "you look so old here" when I mentioned I was sick. First of all, who the fuck does that? Second, who the fuck does that? And dehydrated people who are starving look terrible. But let's not restate the obvious. Did you even WATCH THE VIDEO?
I knew I was sick. The process of a documentary of self is not about fear. It took some huge balls of brass which I carry even when I am playing my own victim in a bad TV show. In many ways, my life was suddenly sprawled awkwardly all over the internet with 50,000 views, numbers, international data, followers and comments, stories, inspiring and sad. I was trying to manage it. So I stopped making videos. I virtually ignore the comments because I gasp for air when I get an email now.
A series of things might run through my mind; "is this gonna ruin my morning?" Am I going to connect and need to help someone, for free, and put off my writing, art, blog, walking, yoga, LIFE again?" It sounds really shitty and whiney, but it's a reality I deal with. I created it, sure, and a monster it has become. I don't resent it or my followers or the newbies who are looking, as I once did, for inspiration to help them get to a place of self-love. But that's NOT what a gastric bypass does.
Meditation, daily walks, time to reflect, independence, farmer's markets, new friends, coffee... my dogs and daughter, my strength of will, (my body... the last on that list), is what gave me powerful insights and a new perspective. That's a LOT of work out there to teach. I could only do it in sections. But here's THIS COMMENTER, telling me I am looking old. And it hurts. I was so very sick. My hands cold constantly. My hair fell out in clumps and I harmed myself to deal just with the emptiness anorexia caused me.
You say to some of these prospective patients that a stomach surgery is not going to last forever. One day you'll eat candy and chocolate and have hunger return, so where are you going to be? What skills will you have implemented? So I reveal, I just became anorexic and trained my brain to love the hunger. But that screwy thinking made me dead. STILL, some of them [the viewers] are sickeningly obsessed that a fat girl would -and could- become an anorexic. It's like a lottery ticket for fat girls who hate themselves.
FATTY BECOMES ANOREXIC. WOW.
Suddenly I found my pictures reposted on "thinspo" blogs, Twitter and Instagram. I had failed not only to help, but I was HURTING these precious girls, who were not even morbidly obese. My body became a source of more pain, not for me, but for others. Poetic justice for a girl who scrutinized other women all day, every day for a long time because I was so bitter. That's as truthful as I can be. I hated other women, was jealous of them, carried the burden of resentment toward anyone thin or pretty or happy. But as I grew to be okay with my own body, I found more self-love. I thought in my later video blogs I had shared this, however, the dizzying reality is that those videos are the least watched. The powerful recovery, the dazzling feminist body-neutral strong woman... I have the numbers. People watch the victim. They LOVE the victim.
I guess in a way, I just have to move on and forget about it. Maybe delete the whole thing, half or a few of the videos. But if you are looking for a magical fix, don't go to a doctor unless it's to get your head aligned by a shaman Goddess, like my therapist truly is. Your body is not a factory of misery. It's not a dissociative entity. It is yours. You are not completely *it* but to alter it, as I did, isn't the first step. Many will say "this is the last step, the final straw" as I used to tout, but that's complete bullshit.
It's truly not the first step. In hindsight, I could have reached out to my fierce female friends for support. I could have held myself accountable and ate properly. I could have read many more books and walked daily. But I chose that victim script every day. Honestly, until we see powerful happy women with huge round curves, I don't know if we will EVER change the body hatred script among ourselves. It's hard to choose to walk, when your ankles hurt. It's difficult stuff which nobody addresses healthy living as a process of heart, mind and body. [unless you are exploiting morbidly obese people for television purposes] We love a damn before and after shot, don't we?
I hope that you think about your process before you allow a man with a knife to enter your sacred body and dissect and reroute parts of it. I am not going to tell you it is awful and bad, because after my surgery, I had an awakening which I cannot say 100% wasn't due to being thin finally, and feeling worthy. What I CAN say, is that your body is sacred. If you fill it with crap food, sugar, carbonation, processed meat... I do not suspect a knife or lasers entering your intestines is a big deal. It wasn't for me. And that's where we have landed as a society.
Why do we need to shoot for the moon?
We can become alien versions of our humanity through surgery.
I hope you all find light, love and your truth ≈ value. Fat, thin, gay, poor, woman, black whatever you feel holds you back. I hope you turn that beautiful struggle inward and learn to strip your fears bare and relearn what you've been force fed; advertising, corporate greed, medicalization of mental health and spirituality; the processing of food that is killing us all with disease and obesity. All of its bullshit and the sooner you learn it and embrace that, the better off you're going to be. You might even find your clothes are loose because you were out with friends instead of Googling thinspo pictures at midnight on a friday.