Friday afternoon I left work almost in tears, but more frustrated and sad than anything. I'm sure there were many more emotions that I had but those two stand out by far. I posted on my facebook "it pisses me off the people out there won't listen to difference of opinion - instead they bully in the form of being a clique and then they state that THEY ARE RIGHT when in all reality there are a lot of different perspectivies. I thought the WLS community would't be like highschool, but there are days and times where people gang up and they aren't doctors....or nurses...just patients like me. everyone has different experiences but yet, you can't share in an open forum." I had experience bullying in a way that I had not ever expected.
Ironic when things come into your life as this past weekend I had been given a huge gift of becoming part of something that had been only a dream to me, but on the verge of this amazing experience I experienced this. As I went through this act of bullying online by multiple people and here I was "suddenly I was that 500 lb fat girl in high school again where no one would ever listen to me, I wasn't important, and I wasn't allowed to speak. " I felt like that young girl again where people examined me for the weight and not for my brain, my heart, my thougths, my feelings. I cried on the way home from work and these were tears of pain of years of pain - those hidden pains we put away in boxes and lock them up. I thought after surgery some of these boxes would stay closed and locked down that my body, mind, spirit would heal them...but they aren't full healed. I've come to the realization that they never may be.
I went from feeling empowered to feeling awkward and huge again. My brain was playing tricks on me and that girl...that smart fat girl won out. I went to an event on friday night and those old securities were there - the fears were there - the thoughts of negativity to myself were there - but they didn't last this time. They melted away one by one as beautiful people surrounded me and I was able to sit and hold my husbands hand and share my heart. I was able to talk to beautiful supportive people, friends, blogger buddies and know that I am bigger than all of this, but was also humbled to realize something I had never thought of before.
When we are obese and living with the disease of obesity we live on the outside of society - some more than others. I am extremely lucky that this was not my constant, but this could be a constant for others. When those who are obese take the WLS journey to become not obese they come into a circle of society that is normal, that is new, that has new rules, new social constructs, and they must adapt. Some adapt quickly. Some do not. Some need to heal the pain of the past - the cruelty of the past with words that harm them, yet now they arent' obese or as obese and they are popular. They are new. They are relearning rules and are in a clique or popular and though they might not mean it - they become the mean girls of the WLS highschool where if you are in you aren't cool. So here I am humbled to learn that this happens and shocked that I didn't think of it. I am so glad a supportive friend reminded me that I don't have to be that person that I'm not that person and that the journey to a healthier you takes a long while.
This weekend I was surrounded by beautiful women of all sizes, colors, and backgrounds and I became part of their group. I am honored to be one of them and through the weekend I allowed this pain of not feeling like I belong go and realized I belong where I want to belong. I do what I want to do. I advocate for what I want to advocate for and I lead where I feel led to lead. I want everyone to be heard. I want everyone to have a voice. I want all opinions to be shared. I want a place where tolerance is born and cultivated. When we made the choice to have WLS of any form we all talk about joining a club, the losers bench, the team to fight obesity - but I found it isn't equal. I found there are mean girls. There are mean people. I found that support might not be support but damaging and that is because we might not be able to stand up on our own. I haven't been able to - I'm actually scared to, but I don't have to stand up and out and make a seen to create an audience for them. I am going to be the change I want to see and live out the Ghandi complex that there is more to this and there is more to me.
WLS is not easy. I would dare say pre-op was a breeze compared to the 2nd year out, but I know that it is a journey and one that I have not taken lightly. I still continue to learn and to grow and this is a new phase of growth for me. To conquer old demons, to face new ones, and to prevent this from impacting me in the future. I don't know if I'm going to leave the group where this occured, but I am considering it...I'm not ready to let someone not let me be where I want to be and learn from others who have not done this act to me....so I will wait and see. Until then I'm more informed than before and learning about myself, others, and the WLS community.
This is a rose that was given to me last night by my new and wonderful sisters of AOII - what I think is remarkable in light of this post as just as the flower blooms each of blooms in our own way after surgery. Each petal is a layer of growth and past. Each petal opens as we bloom and grow into our new being. Today is a new day and no matter what happened yesterday, we are allowed to move on to be more, to do more, to love more today, tomorrow, forever.