This is how it is to be fat:
It lives under my skin like another being, its not me, but my prisoner, my prison, my pain. I can’t escape, now enslaved to the restrictions and the desires of my rolls. Eat more. Stop moving so much. Stop trying.
It is a lens in front of my eyes, making me look at the world, my friends, and myself differently. Is that chair big enough? Will it hold? I don’t want to go there, we might have to walk a lot. How can she complain about her size 8 jeans not fitting anymore? I must be worthless, no one asks me out. Sure, I’m nice but who could get past the double chin and the width of my hips? They must always say I’m “sweet” because they are too nice to say “fat”.
It is a leech, eating away at my body and my spirit. It steals my breath when I carry myself up the stairs. It consumes my energy when I dare go out to that festival or that amusement park. My self-confidence is swallowed whole by stretching skin and too much weight. Ambition and desire have long been devoured by the need to stay home and hide, where I feel less hideous.
It is my obvious secret. I can’t talk about these things with people who might care because I did this to myself. No one made me eat the way I do; no one else forced me to skip the exercise for a nap. How can I complain? This isn’t a disease, it is my own doing. How could I complain any more than the drug addict or the person facing bankruptcy because of gambling? This is self-induced.
It is the end of my dreams. I tell myself I don’t want to get married because I believe no one would ever be attracted to me. I’m not attracted to fat men, how could I expect any different? Even then, how would I find a dress big enough for me? This is why I didn’t go to prom. And then if I did get a dress, would the aisle be wide enough for both me and my father to walk down together? Suppose somehow someone does decide he loves me that much, I do find a GIANT dress and a church with wide enough aisle, what happens on the wedding night when he sees me naked? I don’t want to see me naked. And maybe I shouldn’t go to Europe because they aren’t overweight like Americans, it might be even worse over there. In fact, maybe I shouldn’t go out to eat with my friends because they might be thinking about how much I’m eating and not about what I’m saying to them. How could I face these challenges? I might as well give up hope altogether.
It is my constant torment. I diet and exercise enough to lose 20 pounds (which doesn’t feel any different at all to me, my jeans aren’t any looser) only to gain it back and more when I finally decide that effort isn’t worth the reward. I see no escape in this hopeless future of feeling tired and ugly and uncomfortable in my own skin. It is exhausting smiling so much when I just want to go hide and cry.
But let me tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t the death of hope or the only thing left for me. I’m going to have weight loss surgery.
So, understand why I get defensive when you say, “Doesn’t that surgery kill people?” Because, honestly, I would rather die trying than continue living this way; it is a half-life. Understand that, to me, twenty-five thousand dollars doesn’t sound like too much if insurance won’t cover it. I can’t put a price on what it feels like to even hope, let alone what it might feel like to experience freedom. Understand that I have tried other things, this is the only thing I think will work permanently. I didn’t just come to a snap decision, I’ve researched. I’ve studied. I’ve asked questions. I’m ready.
Finally, I just wanted to let you know that I don’t want to hear the horror stories you’ve heard from this or that person. I don’t want to hear that you are worried, that I should “be careful” or that maybe I should consider this or that alternative. I’m about to go through the most scary, exciting experience of my life this far. What I need is support and encouragement. What I need is to be honest about the biggest secret I’ve ever had.
Can you do this for me?