It took me a long time to get here, just over 24 years actually. I could say just over 25 years old, but if your age is being counted in months it doesn’t really count – and it’s less confusing for me to say 24 when that’s how old I am. In all actuality, my life didn’t really start until June 30th, 2008. I say this because after 2 years of passively (and sometimes actively) trying to get approved for Gastric Bypass Surgery, I finally had it. That day is the day what will forever be known in my world as “the beginning”. I want to say that what came before that day was something like a prologue or introduction. Everything was just leading up to a monumental life change, but I suppose you can’t have a major change without having something to change away from.
So here’s the sum up of my “prologue”, which I will most likely get into more detail about at a later juncture, but for now this is more of an introduction to my current life and not a time travel episode into my past. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to parents who met at college (the one I ended up going to). I am the single product of my parents many tries at children. Maybe that makes me special, or maybe that’s why I was such a handful; there was so much anticipation built up for my arrival that I was spoiled rotten for the first half of my life. Here’s the other thing that I was when I was a kid (and beyond): Fat; obese, morbidly so. For some people this may just be a body type, but for me, it was a defining lifestyle. That is how I lived my life. I lived fat, ate fat, breathed fat, it is who I was. I’d like to say there was more to me, but fat, spoiled and bitter were probably the three things I truly was. My mother’s “emotional eating” relationship with food caused me to eat, while my father’s “hatred towards food”
relationship…caused me to eat. Double whammy; I ate to commiserate with my mother and rebel against my father. I was basically a typical kid/teenager that used food as a tool to cope with my life in general. Don’t worry - my blossoming relationship with food is still as strong as ever, regardless of what my body has been through to correct that. The doctors were right, changing one’s outside appearance doesn’t automatically change how someone feels on the inside. Now keep this in mind readers, because this is an important part of my current life – this fat girl stuck in a not-so fat girl anymore’s body.
Now imagine being defined by the size of your body. Sure I had a personality, sure I was a great friend and would bend over backwards (obviously not literally – because that would’ve been IMPOSSIBLE) for the people I cared about (however few and far between these folks were), sure I was funny sometimes (thanks to years of building a defense mechanism that wouldn’t cause people to hate me). Basically, I was a lot of things – but happy wasn’t really one of them. I was oblivious for a lot of the time. I spent time around people who I didn’t think were judging me based on my size. I went to a school that I had gone to since before being really fat mattered so people wouldn’t even bother harassing me – which sometimes I wish they did because maybe it would’ve sparked me to change, but probably not in hindsight. I was also angry, and this is where the bitter part comes in. Maybe I was angry at the world, maybe I was angry at my parents, but I was probably just angry at myself. I needed to have control over everything, and yet the one most important thing for me to be in control of, I had lost complete and utter power over; I couldn’t stop eating. Add food, a pinch of laziness, a handful of bullheadedness, a smidge of self hatred and a lack of motivation and you have the ultimate mixture for increasing size and bitterness.
That was my life. For 20 years, I grew. I grew physically and into an emotionally self-shielding individual that couldn’t maintain a real friendship but tried to be cool, all the while plowing through life with no time to stop and smell the roses. I sped through everything because one second to stop would force me to re-evaluate the life I was living, and who really wants to do that? Even when I was going through the process of getting approved for the surgery, I still kept on keeping on. I pushed through high school getting involved in what was then City At Peace, and every other extra curricular activity that required as little “activity” as possible. I developed my brain while I let go of my body. I could teach the class on being fat; Fat Girl 101 – how to get by in life while completely ignoring your health and physical comfort. This class would include lessons on “How to use food to as the solution to every problem” “How to drink enough so that you forget how fat you are” “How to let people use you in return for their ‘friendship’” just to name a few. I mastered them all, years of practice you know?
Anyway, while all of this undercover self loathing was going on I blew through college getting two degrees, making a few friends and not really having the college experience while convincing myself that I did. Graduating from college might’ve been the beginning of my graduation to the next stage of my life. I graduated in December 2007, and 6 months later I would be at Staten Island University Hospital getting my small intestine shortened and rerouted and having my stomach made smaller. A month later, I would move to Chicago and spend a year making great friends and hating every decision that made me move to Chicago in the first place. This is not to say I didn’t make the right choice. I loved Chicago; I love everything about it. I met the best people there and it was by far the best choice for me to be on my own during the first year after my surgery, but the reason I went out there – the grad school part, other than figuring out exactly what I DIDN’T want to do with my life, was a bad choice. We’re all entitled to them though, bad choices that is (and I’ve made my fair share of them).
My Chicago chapter will be written at some point in the future, but for now all you need to know was there was drama, intrigue, romance, murder! (Maybe not that last one, but there was a lot of pain and suffering sprinkled with amazing times). The gems are what I lived for. No matter how much I hated grad school I will never forget the monthly dinners with the girls in the city, the study sessions with Mallory, the driving lessons with Cynthia, the baked goods, the cafeteria lunches and the apartment I loved to name a few.
Let’s fast forward to now for a moment:
- I’m eating dry cereal at my desk at work.
- I have a job that I love, although right now I’m bored as shit.
- I’m constantly on my blackberry.
- I am almost 170lbs lighter than I was in 2008 and wear pants that are 7 sizes smaller (14 if you are counting by actual number).
- I have a best friend that I love, great coworkers, a handful of good friends and more than a handful of men that would strictly like to get into my pants.
- I have a good job, great (though sometimes crazy) parents, easy living situation, and an abstinence pact with myself for the month of April.
- I have no true passions or aspirations other than to find something I’m passionate about or aspire to be.
- I love to try new things, but don’t often get to because for years I’ve been unable to maintain relationships with anything other than food and it’s hard to go out and do things alone.
- I’m terrible at starting conversations and am awkward in most social situations.
- I am still a great friend, bending over backward for those I care about, but I have a hard time meeting people who are worth caring about.
- I have good days, and I have awful ones.
- I don’t get enough sleep and I watch too much TV.
- I want people to like me so much that I lose myself in the process. I can’t make a decision to save my life and although that makes me “easy going” and “go with the flow” it also makes me “frustrating” and often times “boring”.
- I’ve lived in New York City for 19 out of my 24 years of life and can’t say I know the city very well.
- I’m a poor host because I don’t know where to take people.
- I don’t have restaurants/bars/clubs to suggest because I really haven’t been to them. I can however, manage to complain about anything and everything.
- There is not a day that goes by where I don’t complain about something, stupid to major, but always something. I’m pretty sure that’s what defines me these days. The world would spin off of its axis and rocket out into the nether regions of the universe if I didn’t find something to complain about – and I’ve just about accepted this.
I can tell you all of the things that I’m not, but ask me what I am and this is what I’ll say: I am growing – and this time, not in size. I am changing. I am learning. I am living. I am finding myself. I am not who I will be