I quit smoking one year and three months ago. About a week ago, I cut back on my massive intake of coffee, so that I am down to only one cup a day, in the morning. I have supplemented my former cups of coffee with glasses of plain water and cups of hot tea. Right now I am drinking a cup of green tea with sliced fresh ginger in it. My body is kind of high maintenance. It has been since I was a colicky baby, but it became even higher maintenance once I hit puberty.
Most women with endometriosis don’t experience symptoms until their thirties, but mine started when I was sixteen. By the time I was nineteen years old, a sonogram spotted an ovarian growth of some kind approximately 3 times the size of my ovary. I was twenty-one when a laparoscopy diagnosed it as Stage IV endometriosis, and I had to have the tumor, and one third of that ovary removed. The removal of my endometrial tissue packed fallopian tubes, which were more likely to give me a dangerous entopic (tubal) pregnancy, was voluntary. The doctors also scraped out as much as the excess endometrial growth and fibroids as they could, but despite all of this I was destined to spend the next twenty years in unbearable pain for seven to ten days a month.
Now I am out of pain… due to medication. Medication that is known to cause significant weight gain in a quarter of the women who use it, and that is Depo Provera. Since I am using it for medical reasons, and not as a form of birth control, I don’t really have the option of just getting off it and using another form of contraception. Depo Provera isn’t the only medication I need to take regularly for my medical issues known to cause weight gain.
I am a lot happier being healthier that I was in my youth. I am happy to be out of pain.
Unfortunately, I am learning that people can be very judgemental about the weight of other people. Over the past two months, I’ve been pretty bumped out about statements I’ve seen people make about weight on Facebook, of all place. One guy expressed that there was something wrong with making fat people feel good about themselves, because fat is unhealthy.
Twice, I was told that none of the things that science says makes it harder for me to lose weight: my family history of morbid obesity (yes: not just the regular obesity, morbid obesity), my race, my gender, the medications I am forced to take, the weight gain associated with my stopping smoking last year (twenty pounds, by the way) really matter, because I have to take responsibility! I have to eat less, and exercise more! What right to I have to just be okay with my big fat ass? Why does it matter if my boyfriend (who is currently also overweight and has a pot belly) likes my big ass and my DD bra size? What right to we fat ass, lazy, sedentary life having, TV watching, pizza eating lard asses have to be all happy and content, and how fucking dare us? That shit is unhealthy!
You know, it’s not more unhealthy than smoking was, and it’s not more unhealthy than me not taking my medications would be, and yes… when I get around to it, I’ll exercise more. I say exercise more because I am already eating less, just to maintain my weight and not gain more weight. Yes, I do watch what I eat, but I’m still fat. No, I do not exercise enough. Yes, I could lose some of the weight and offset some of the metabolic changes that my medication and middle age are causing, but it’s going to take some time. I am going to have to make some adjustments.
Do you hear me crowing about how I quit smoking and therefore all of the other people who are still smoking should get willpower like I did and just stop? Hell no, because I would be a jack ass to now pretend like it wasn’t really, really hard just because I’m on the other side of it. And if you have a family history of obesity, but you lost weight, that’s awesome, but seriously acting like I don’t have any “personal responsibility” just because I chose to focus my “willpower” on some other stuff – you know, like not smoking- is being a self-righteous pompous jackass and acting morally superior. It’s not helpful. Nagging never helped any one to do anything except for get nervous and feel shitty.
There is something deeply disturbing about the ongoing campaigns to pit women of various body sizes against one another, and something I find equally disturbing about the logic that we somehow have the right to be deeply concerned with whether or not someone else – not always, but usually a female someone else – looks “healthy” and is “too fat” or “too thin.”
I am not saying that no one ever bothers a guy about his weight; I am just saying that no one is circulating paired together photos of Jack Black and DJ Qualls around Facebook asking people to comment on who is “hot” or “not” based on their relative weights. The weights of women seem to be of great concern to everyone, if Facebook is to be believed: strangers on the Internet worried that Lee Ann Rhymes is skinnier than Marilyn Monroe, strangers at fan conventions who think that girl’s original series outfit is too short, and strangers at the local Walmart. Oh… and most of the time, they are female strangers, looking to police the body size and clothing choices of their gender.
There is a societal double standard that allows for a far greater range of possible body types for men that are considered within the range of the common or unremarkable when compared with the narrow range of body types for women which have in modern times, been considered acceptable. My body has been several sizes since I reached my full adult height of 5’6 – it’s varied between size 7 (dress) and size 16 (dress) over the years – you can add two sizes to those for pants because at all times, my bottom is two sizes larger than my top so size 9 (pants) and size 18 (pants). But anyway.
I usually try to stick to the subject of writing, and avoid opining on political matters on this blog, although there are times when I do feel inclined to add my voice to the many out there on matters of current affairs. This is one of those times. I feel really weird about the fact that on one hand, liberal people are defending my rights to “my body/myself” when it comes to choosing to use birth control, but when it comes to how and when and if I decide to exercise more it’s like some creep Demolition Man (yeah, that movie with Sylvester Stallone and Dennis Leary) movie where the Politically Correct people have taken over, and are going to tell you to stop eating meat and exchanging bodily fluids because you’re not grown-up enough to be allowed to make decisions about your own health, or to do anything that might risk your body getting ill, because your body is way more important than your free will.
If you care about me and my weight, then invite me to go for a walk with you, or to the Y.
Don’t make me feel like a lesser human being with weak will power who is lazy. Joslyn Corvis called me the hardest working woman in horror. I am not remotely lazy, I work my butt off. I have a dayjob, go to school, and churn out blogs and books and stuff, and sometimes I get so caught up in writing I forget to do sit ups and floss.
Yes… I would eventually like to not weigh 240 pounds. I would like to weigh 165 pound, I think that would be better. 75 pounds is like, a shitload of weight to lose, and it will take time, and in the meantime, I would like to feel good about myself. I would like not to be told that it’s not okay to feel good about myself because I am a fat person. I am totally the same human being as I was when I weighed 125 pounds, m’kay?