Thinking back over this past year, I think the hardest part about surgery and its aftermath is that things didn’t exactly live up to my “Skinny Dream.” You know the Skinny Dream, most of us big girls have one. “When I’m skinny I’ll have a boyfriend”; “When I’m skinny, I’ll have more friends”; “When I’m skinny I’ll feel great about myself”: “When I’m skinny I’ll be happy.” They all vary but the sentiment is the same: losing weight will make your life better. Don’t get me wrong, my life has definitely improved after losing 130+ lbs, but my problem with the Skinny Dream is that it causes you to live in this “in-between” state, waiting for your life to start meanwhile you’re missing out on everything else that’s happening. I lived this way for most of my life, really as far as I can remember growing up. I would look at my skinny friends, or other skinny girls at school and think “One day that’s going to be me. I’m going to be skinny and pretty, and everyone’s going to like me.” It’s really sad, when I think about it now. I feel like my life has only started as of last year and I spent the first 25 years of my life … asleep.
When I decided to get weight loss surgery, all I could see in the horizon was this skinny version of me who would have all the answers, have everything figured out in life and with this uber-confidence that would come out of nowhere. Right before surgery my then-fiance and I broke up (mostly because I decided to get gastric bypass), so the days leading up to surgery were challenging, to say the least but the only thing that kept me going was my Skinny Dream. “When I’m skinny, this won’t matter. Everything is going to be perfect.”
Well, it wasn’t. After surgery, as the weight melted off and everyone cheered on, I felt lost. I’ve read that a lot of WLS patients experience depression after surgery due to the sudden change in hormones but even knowing that I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. Even after losing the first 100 lbs I would look in the mirror and still see that same girl at over 300 lbs. I felt tricked. Where were all my answers? Where was my uber-confidence? Why did I still crave the same bad foods and feel completely lazy? I started acting out. Going out all the time, drinking way too much, getting sick all the time experimenting with the wrong foods, trying to act as if nothing I did had consequences. It was a very strange time. That’s around the time that I met my now-boyfriend, Mark. I remember many a late night conversation about me feeling like I was stuck watching my life pass me by and mostly just feeling numb. As things got more serious with Mark, I pushed everything else into the background; I was finally excited that I was feeling something. The downside of that is that by pushing all my other feelings down and ignoring them, they started manifesting in weird ways against my loved ones. During the planning of my best friend Leslie’s wedding, I was more distant than ever and I really hurt her feelings (of course after that Leslie and I finally had a heart to heart and she understood. She’s one of the most amazing individuals in the whole universe.); I also hurt my cousin (who I was also very close to) during a drunken spat and pushed her out of my life. It was a sad time. We didn’t speak for over six months. I think it was after that when it all seemed to just hit me at once and I kind of snapped. I couldn’t just let things happen and take no responsibility. I needed to take control of my life and actually start living it. I started slow, making deliberate choices to change my life a little at a time. I started actually thinking about what I put in my body; I quit smoking; I started working out. And little by little, things have started falling into place. Do I have everything together? No. But I have an idea of what my future holds and what I want to do right now. I’m living in the now, which is the greatest feeling.
The whole point of this post is that it took a lot more than just getting thinner to change my life. The Skinny Dream is just that, a dream, and the only thing standing in the way of getting what you want out of life is you. It took a conscious decision on my part to feel present, to feel like I was living my life and feel that uber-confidence I always dreamt about. Things aren’t perfect like in my dream but things are a hell of a lot more interesting than I could have imagined. I’m happy and it really didn’t have to do all that much with the extra weight but with my brain.
How about you guys? Did any of you have a Skinny Dream that you were forced to change your mind about?