Monday, June 09, 2014

How Do You Feel?

A while back I posted a picture of myself pre gastric bypass surgery on Facebook.  People commented that they couldn’t believe her how different I looked, how great I had done. Someone asked me if I felt any different.  This is something I never wrote about before, because I don’t think about it much.  And that’s not because it’s not on my mind. It’s because what I think isn’t great.

I grew up heavy.  Most often the largest person in the room. I grew up not making eye contact with people in the hallways of school. Mostly because I was afraid that they might yell something.  I have vivid memories of 9th grade when I was innocently walking up the hallway, and a senior walked up to me, pointed in my face and said “You are fat.” I was mortified.  Not because I didn’t think it was true, but because other people were around and had heard him. I did my best to stay under the radar, lest someone decide to do that again.  I always had friends.  I had people who loved me, and didn’t care what I looked like. I tried to be pleasing, I tried to be funny.  I think I succeeded for the most part. But when you grow up the way I did, you do everything a certain way. You look at a room full of tables and think “what is my best exit?’ You have to look for spaces between chairs that you won’t get caught in.  If there are none, you just wait. You can’t be the one drawing attention to yourself; you don’t need that negative attention. You are normal, right?

Fast forward to 2014.  I am down 220 lbs. Yet the old girl is still in there.  I walk up a hallway and if someone laughs, I immediately think they are laughing at me. I sit on a seat on a plane and think “no way is anyone going to sit next to me, I’m taking up too much room.” I see a set of chairs in a banquet hall and hesitate to pass between them, because I won’t fit.  I will fit, but my brain hasn’t caught up to my body. Is this a bad thing? I don’t know. I do know what is bad. The way I was treated in school. There are a handful of people that I still can’t forgive.  I never did anything to them. Not one thing. I was there, minding my business. They treated me like shit because I was different.  I graduated from high school 20 years ago, but the way I was treated then shaped my entire life. How do you let that go, how do you “forgive and forget?” I don’t want to sit here and say I haven’t forgiven anyone. I have. But some wounds cut deep. And those are the ones that I can’t seem to heal.

So how do I feel? I feel great. I have more energy. I can walk without breathing heavy and thinking “can I sit down yet?” Chasing my kids and my nieces isn’t painful. I don’t have to rest after anything physical. I run races.  Actually run. I’m not fast, but I’m running. I do more now than I ever did, and I encourage anyone who has enough extra weight on them to consider weight loss surgery. That said, how do I feel? I feel cheated.  I feel like people (not all, but some) didn’t know me. Not saying they would know me and like me, let’s face it. I’m not for everyone. But was I a girl who you should look at and call a name? Was I a girl who you had to snicker at as she walked by? What did I do? I didn’t do anything.  They say you should not focus on people like that. But how can you not when the hurt from years ago never really goes away? When it’s always sitting in the back of your head? I guess you just have to. You have to remember that not everyone is like you. Everyone grew up differently and the people who put you down must have had a tough life growing up to treat others like that, right? Right? Yes, that’s what I’m going with. Even if part of me hopes they end up pumping gas in Alaska.

So what's the moral in all this? THINK before you speak. If what you are about to say is meant to hurt their feelings, perhaps you should just keep it inside. Maybe you'll thank yourself later. Maybe the person you were gonna say it to will thank you 20 years from now.
 

4 comments:

Lee Ann Grzebinski Shephard said...

Not knowing you is punishment enough. Their loss.

Lovesyaatanysize!

Lee Ann

JBurckhart said...

Thanks for sharing this! Being able to be connected to people like you is one of the reasons I like FB so much. And then once in a while I'll get a friend request from someone who was a total turd in high school, and I just have to shake my head at how absolutely oblivious they must be.

Julie Baun said...

Great post, Lori. Thanks so much for sharing. And as the parent of a child who was bullied for different reasons, I empathize that the wounds truly are real and deep...

Cheryl Benzinger said...

I am so proud of you and love you! To me you have always been fun, energetic, witty, smart and beautiful...and you always will be. Xoxo