One of the most liberating things about finally making the admission that I need permanent, medical help is that I can finally be honest. I can stop trying to come up with excuses that don't sound like excuses for all of the things I can't do, or am afraid to try and do, because of my size. Don't get me wrong - it is still completely embarrassing to admit these things - but at least there is an end in sight. It's finally given me the freedom to get real about the things I want to do, but haven't been able to do - - and the truth is very different.
This edited life I've been leading has left me completely....demoralized. Sad. Embarrassed. Immobile. Left-out. Lonely. Just this summer I have skipped 2 family concert outings because of the limitations I have created by allowing my body to become as large as it is. While it was somewhat liberating to admit freely that I just couldn't join (walking even short distances is a challenge - and standing is just not an option) instead of creating some elaborate story about why I wouldn't be able to attend, it didn't make me any less disappointing to not be a part of them. Watching Facebook for pictures, or checking my texts to follow along on their adventures is not even remotely the same as being able to partake in these events myself.
And that is just the last couple of months. The events/outings I haven't participated in over the last 20 years of my life due to my size are staggering. There are times that I'm sure my cover stories have been better than others. I've skipped outings with friends. Trips. Happy hours. Dinners. Concerts. Sporting Events. All because I was scared it would be too much of an inconvenience to get there, or I was afraid of the seating once I did. There are so many things I haven't done in this life because they might have been uncomfortable for me. So many things I've wanted to do, but wouldn't allow myself to admit to, because I wanted to put on a brave face. Don't worry about me everyone - I'm happy. And for the most part - - I'm lucky. I'm not a miserable person...most of the time, anyway. Most of the time I'm fairly content - whether that is just my brain allowing delusion to help keep me from wallowing, or the years and years and years of disappointing myself just beating my expectations into submission - I don't know. I realized a few years back that I would get very anxious when planning to go new places/try new things. I also learned that that anxiety released itself as me being a screeching bitch if things didn't go according to my plan. If I got uncomfortable, or embarrassed by my limitations, I'd turn into a complete hag. At least realizing this allowed me to no longer subject the people I like to it. This just resulted in me skipping more and more events.
I was getting a pedicure with a friend recently - and this is a person I have literally known my whole life. We were talking about the surgery, and I was sharing my plans for about a year down the road. I told her I wanted to move downtown - hopefully into one of the super-cute little studios I've found online - so I'd be where the action is. I'd be closer to the lakes I want to go walk or bike around. I'd be closer to the sporting venues I want to go watch games at. I'd be closer to action. Closer to activities within walking distance. Be closer to life. Most people experience all of these things when they're younger - but for me life is really going to get going at age 41 =) I realized how much I'd been hiding what I really want when she looked at me and told me she had no idea that is something I'd even like.
Wow. I've been lying to everyone. But don't feel bad, guys. I've been lying to myself most of all. Telling myself it didn't matter that I couldn't do all of the things I wanted to do. I could still do plenty. The truth is - I can't do shit. I get myself to work. I occasionally go out when I know exactly what I'm getting myself into, and can insure I won't have to walk or stand too much. Otherwise I sit my ass on my couch because everything else causes pain. My knees, hips and ankles just can't take it. My lower back rebels regularly. Hauling this body, and years of disappointment around, it just too much.
The positives of me making the decision to pursue surgery just keep compounding. For the longest all I could focus on was the physical. How thoroughly excited I am to be able to exercise and get in shape! But then I realized it was also going to give me the gift of time. If I don't have to spend so much time being anxious about every distance I need to travel, every chair I need to sit in, how long my knees are going to ache after running errands - - I am going to have so much more time to take care of myself. I'll be able to cook - instead of claiming I hate cooking because I can't stand long enough to chop/dice/mix/etc everything that is needed for the dish. It just dawned on me that that might be another thing I don't actually hate, but have told myself I do because it was uncomfortable. Holy shit! I really am going to have this whole new life!
And I'm going to call on a lot of you. For ideas about cooking. Gym and walking dates - - for real this time, because I'll actually be able to do it!!! Bike rides. Concerts in the park. Taking in a baseball game. Basically doing anything other than sitting on my couch. I've been doing that for 20 years. I'm looking forward to spending the next 20 doing just about anything else.