I’m entering a phase of my weight loss process that I somehow thought I’d skipped but which is making it’s presence felt forcefully now.
I don’t know who I am anymore.
This is pretty common among folks who have gone through weight loss surgery. A lot changes when you lose that much weight. It can be dumb, simple things like suddenly having too many options on what to wear. When there are only two stores you can buy clothes in, your fashion options are limited. Getting under a size 16 is kind of overwhelming (and I’m down to a 10!). Some people lose friendships and relationships because of the weight loss. Our identities have evolved around us being heavy. Most of us have been heavy from a fairly young age (I was overweight by 19, obese by 25), so all we know of ourselves is filtered through that lens. I know I still think like a fat girl in a lot of ways. Wehn I go out running, I have my headphones on and my music loud so I don’t hear the jeers and catcalls that I would get every time I exercised out in public while heavy. I used to get them all the time, whenever I was out on a bike or trying (and failing) to run, some complete stranger would feel entitled to make a comment about my fitness and my right to work out where someone might see me. Except now they don’t come. Cars don’t slow. People I pass smile at me. I’m tense and defensive for no reason. At least no current reason. Just 20 years of experience that doesn’t apply anymore, apparently.
My interests and activities have changed. Not all of that is entirely on me. I’ve had to give up a lot of evenings in the last few months to help the kids slog through their backlog of homework. That will go away in a few weeks (hallelujah), but even then, things have changed. I don’t write anymore. I’d like to, I miss it quite a lot, but I just don’t have the fire to do it anymore. This from the woman who was writing scenes while waiting to get wheeled in for cancer surgery 3 years ago. I don’t knit as much. I’m still spinning, but not regularly, and I’ve finished 2 knitting projects in the past six months. I still like to knit, I just…I don’t know. Don’t make the time for it?
I’m a runner now. Like, a little bit obsessively. I run 3-4 times a week, every other day religiously. When I have down time, I’m reading running websites. Thursday I will finish my Couch to 5K training. Finish it, where when I tried it two years ago, I couldn’t get off day 1 despite running it every other day for a month. I can run almost 15 minutes without stopping. When I’m on a rest day, I often find myself disappointed as I WANT to go out and run. Which is madness. I know a lot of it is the shiny newness of it. Whenever I take anything new on, I throw myself in headfirst, learn as much as I can, practice as much as I can. But this is *running*. Exercise. My eternal nemesis even in high school. I just don’t even know.
One of my coworkers told me the other day that I look tiny. Which I know she meant as a compliment, and I took it as such at the time. But thinking about it made me feel…small. Like I wasn’t big enough physically to back up the badass personality I’ve kind of cultivated for myself. My brain, which still thinks like a fat chick, remember, is trying to understand what being thin means. Assumptions I’d always had about how people would respond to me and what expectations I would have to work against aren’t true any more, and I don’t know what the new expectations are.
The thought of dating again is truly terrifying. Not that I’m ready for that, but…
I know this sounds like a lot of whining, and a little bit it is. But it’s also the process of WLS, letting go of the past and trying to define a new self. I don’t even know where I’m going with this. I like who I am physically now. Well, the boobs could be a little perkier and the belly a little flatter. But I can run. Actually, flat out run. For fun. Because it feels good. The last time running felt good to me was in the 5th grade when we did the President’s Physical Fitness challenge and I beat the fastest girl in the grade in the mile. That was a loooooong time ago. I’m glad to have these new things, but I miss some of the old things, too. Maybe I’ll write again, when there isn’t so much pressure on me. It’s happened before. And slowly bits and pieces of me will get reintegrated in new ways, or new things will come up to take the place of the old. I’ll find my new normal.
But right now, I feel more than a little adrift, and it’s tempting to go back to where it was comfortable instead of forward into something new.