I tried to sleep. It’s not working. Lando is sick, sinus stopped up sick, and he’s snorfling and waking up and then snorfling again and I think that this is the loneliest time of the day, the time when you should be curled up asleep and someone is right there, RIGHT THERE, but you are in a world apart from them.
Since I couldn’t sleep, I was reading Jen Larsen’s memoir, “Stranger Here,” about her weight-loss surgery and its aftermath. The book thus far is brilliant; I see myself in every page. About the time I gave up on reading and decided to try to close my eyes, she talked about reaching 199, and how most WLS patients don’t remember the last time their weight started with a 1.
I do remember. I also remember the first time it did.
I was in 5th grade. I remember that was the first school year I shopped for clothes mostly in the junior’s department instead of in the fat girl section of the Sears catalog and/or my mother’s closet. My mom is 5′ even. She probably weighed, at the time, about 115, give or take. In 4th grade, I was only an inch or two shy of her height and could wear some of her clothes. By the time 5th grade started, I really couldn’t wear too many, unless they had elastic waists or were stretchy or were her “fat pants.”
My feet were already bigger than hers.
In 5th grade, in gym class, they busted out the scale right before the trauma that was the Presidential fitness tests. And that was the first time that the little bar slid over to 100. The other girls in the class were pretty much all in the 70-80 range. I’m not sure if anyone heard or saw my number, but I was ashamed. I already wasn’t athletic, I knew that the running a mile was going to be more like walking and getting lapped by the future track stars; I knew that I couldn’t pull myself up to hang from a bar. I could do sit-ups, at least. I wanted to sink through the floor. Suddenly, shopping in the grown-up section didn’t seem like so much fun. It didn’t seem like a privilege or a rite of passage. It felt like snickers behind your back and boys daring each other to ask you out and then laughing hysterically if you said yes.
By the time the middle of 8th grade hit, I was 5’8″. My feet had grown some more. I was starting to get a few curves. I was petrified of them. I wasn’t terribly busty, mind you, but if you looked, there was a definite waist. The only thing I liked at all were my legs. They have always been totally out of proportion to the rest of me. Even now, I can’t really wear capri pants, because when I find them to go around the middle, they look so stupid with my little toothpick ankles sticking out the bottom. Compared to “average” people, my ankles are a little bigger…sometimes ankle bracelets in the store don’t fit… but compared to my midsection, it’s just dumb-looking. I also have tried on numerous pants advertised as “jeggings” – they fit like a straight leg.
Anyway. I remember in 8th grade, when the scale weights were slding, it hit 198.
Haven’t seen that number since.
Reading Larsen’s memoir takes me back to the place where I was researching weight loss surgery. I remember googling it for the first time. The page that came up first was a site that chronicled all the things that can go horribly, horribly wrong. I didn’t get the gallery of before-and-after, not then. A few weeks later, my friend asked me to go with her to an informational meeting about gastric bypass being held at the local hospital. My friend is fat, but she’s always been thinner than me. I tried to tell her she was fine, and that surgery could be horrible, but she talked me into it. The doctor giving the presentation was fat. The people in the audience were either fat, or thin and looking sort of sickly, looking like their skin didn’t belong on their bodies, like they wanted to be happy but kind of weren’t. After the presentation, I asked the doctor why, if the surgery was so amazing, he hadn’t had it done on himself. He sort of stammered and blushed and said his insurance wouldn’t pay for it.
Yeah. If the doctor doesn’t believe in the work of his colleagues enough to maybe skip the new Mercedes this year…I am not even going to consider it.
But here lately, the thought has been running through my head again…not gastric bypass or the duodenal switch, but the lap band. The doctor who did my gallbladder surgery does a lot of those. It’s not quite as…invasive. But I just don’t know if that’s really a solution or not. It’s not going to fix my head. It’s not going to make me want to not eat my feelings. It’s sure as shit not going to fix the hormonal surges and/or neurotransmitter imbalances that trigger the desire to eat Doritos and Hershey bars for dinner.
I feel like I am in free-fall, I feel like I am hanging on by a very small thread, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I don’t know if it’s some latent self-consciousness or if it’s just my fucked up head that’s stopping me from even remembering what I used to want to be. Am I fat because I am depressed, or am I depressed because I am fat? Are these two things linked, or not linked? Is the fat just a confluence of genetic material that made me red-headed with jacked-up ingrown toenails and skinny chicken ankles and fingernails that will not grow in any sort of aesthetically pleasing shape?
I spend a lot of time worrying about things that have already happened. One chance remark, one quick glance, I can replay it and replay it until its significance seems paramount. I am very good at solving problems…as long as they are not really *my* problems. For example, right now, the unemployment situation…I know that I could probably make a few phone calls and get some interviews, but the thought of doing that right now makes me seriously feel like throwing up. I don’t want to be the person I become in those interviews, the person who manages to be both obnoxious and obsequious in the same 30 minute span. But I have no idea where to even start with finding something more in line with what I want to do. I am very good at writing and editing. I am reasonably tech-savvy. I am able to work independently and I don’t start stupid drama with my co-workers. I can be good with people if I have to be, but dealing with people all the time kind of wears me out. I am a smart-ass, I am fiercely loyal, and I sometimes sing to myself. I also sort of want to try voice acting – I can do goofy accents. I listen to the female voices in video games and it makes me cringe and I think I could do better than that.
I have no idea where to even start with these things. So I mostly just try not to think about them and get through the day doing something else and then at night when I should be winding down my brain is winding up and before I know it the sun is about to come up and I’m trying to decide whether to take another half an ambien and snooze on the couch or just say fuck it and turn on the coffeepot and hope that I will be able to re-sync my circadian rhythms with the rest of the world.
Still trying to decide.
Song of the Day: “Daysleeper” – REM
Today’s Time Waster: That poor dog.
What I’m Craving: Sleep.