Mother, you’re breaking your Daughter’s heart.

nuff said.

'nuff said.

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to write this.  I knew I wanted to write about it, from the moment I had this conversation with her, but I just didn’t know how to approach it.  I’ve decided to make it an open letter to my mother.

Mother,

My heart is breaking for you.  This year has been terrible – first the thing with Baby Sister and Nephew, and then Stepfather died in the Spring.   I’ve been amazed at how strong you sound every time we talk on the phone.  I wouldn’t blame you if you just broke down, but you just keep going, no matter how hard things get for you.  You truly are an inspiration.

But then you talk about having lap-band surgery.  And my heart breaks even more.

You say that you “need” it.  That your health is just “so terrible,” and it’s the only thing that’s going to save you.

But Mommy, you’re going to do yourself more harm than good.

You say that it’s going to cure your diabetes, high blood pressure, and back problems.  All of which you know are inherited.  Grandmother had every single one of those problems, and Grandfather has at least two of them that I remember.  You say Grandmother was once as big as you are now – and honestly, I haven’t seen you in 5 years, so I don’t know how much you’ve gained – and you use that as an excuse to prove to me that you have to have this surgery.

But Grandmother wasn’t always very heavy.  I remember her being roughly the size I am now.  And I know that when she died, she was pretty small.  Just because she was heavy at one time in her life does not mean that one time caused all those health problems.

Having the doctor close off part of your stomach is not going to do you any good.  You’re going to become malnourished.  Sure, your diabetes might get better.  Because you’ll be starving yourself. Your body needs more than just a few ounces of food a day.  And it would even if you were thin.

I know it’s hard to fight the fatphobia that you see every day.  Even people who are well meaning are a lot of the times, unknowing fatphobes.  It’s institutionalized and it’s almost impossible to get away from.  I understand that, I really do.

But I hate to see you taking all of that fat hatred in and turning it on yourself.  Don’t you get enough hatred pointed your way from others?  Do you really have to hate yourself, too?

Part of my reaction is our relationship.  Since finding each other again six years ago, we have developed the kind of relatioship I only thought we could have in my dreams.  I have been able to turn to you when things got bad, and you supported and encouraged me.  I never thought I’d have that.

Part of it is my own rising self-esteem.  I can hear the self-loathing in your voice even when you don’t outwardly express it – because I’ve been there.  And I know how good it feels now to be able to say I like myself just the way I am.  I want you to know that feeling, too.

And part of it is that I’ve learned so much in the last few months, and hearing that you’re seriously contemplating surgery – to fix one thing that’s not broken, and to fix others that it simply won’t work for – seriously terrifies me.  You just don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.  And while I know that there are serious statistics – X amount of people have serious health problems, X amount of people actually die as a result of the surgery, X amount of people will actually end up gaining all their weight back – I never thought to save the URLs of the blog posts/studies/news articles I read, so I can’t “prove” it to you.  I know what I know, but without that “proof” I know you’ll just dismiss me as being a worried daughter.

And I am a worried daughter, no question.  But I also know that what you’re contemplating doing is going to be so much worse for your health than doing nothing at all.

And it makes me want to cry.

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Observations

It’s strange how something can be all around you but you don’t really notice it until somebody points it out to you.

For example, I’d never heard of the band Stereophonics before my Hubby downloaded a bunch of their albums a few years ago, and I “stole” them to take to work with me.  All of a sudden, I was hearing their music on television shows, commercials, and movies.  Some of which I know I’d seen before hearing of the band, but just never really paid attention to the music before.

It’s been the same with this whole dieting/WLS/size paranoia thing.  I never really noticed how prevalent it was until I stumbled upon the Fat Acceptance Movement.  Then I started to really notice things that I just didn’t pay any attention to before.

This morning I stopped into the corner shop before going home after dropping the kids off at school.  I needed a few things and I thought I’d pick up a magazine while I was there.  I was looking through the rack, deciding on what I wanted to buy, when I realized that almost every single one of the celebrity mags had some sort of diet/size topic on the cover.  One of them was talking about the Spice Girls, and how Posh is apparently worried that her size 0 status is going to cause her health problems (uh… DUH?!?!), and how Geri Hallowell is devastated that she’s “bigger than Posh.”  (But she’s still a fucking stick with a head as it is.)  Another one had some “celebrity” I’d never heard of before, worried about HER weight.  Woman’s World had some cover story about how you can lose X amount of pounds by Christmas (funny how I can’t remember how much weight they were talking about losing, just the fact that they’re touting some new diet).

I just find it odd that I never really noticed those things before.  They were things I saw every day (I’m constantly going into this shop, it’s pathetic), but I didn’t SEE them, if ya know what I mean.  It’s like when your kids are growing, but they’re doing it in front of you, so you don’t really notice until they grow out of something.  Then suddenly it hits you, that it’s been happening right before your eyes but you didn’t see it.

On more of a personal note, I noticed something about myself yesterday.  I don’t know whether I’ve actually lost any weight or not, but my stomach seems to be shrinking.  I looked down and suddenly realized that I couldn’t see as much of my tummy as I had before.  I went to my Hubby and asked him, “Have I lost it, or does this seem to be smaller?” pointing to my tummy.  He looked at my stomach and then at my face and said, “No, you haven’t lost it.  Well, not your mind anyway.  You’ve lost that (pointing at my tummy), but you haven’t lost it.”

Huh.

I make the decision to stop trying to lose weight, to just try to be healthy – which still means eating well and exercising – and then I lose weight.

It makes me wonder.  Maybe that’s part of society’s problem.  Maybe it’s having this whole dieting/obesity thing shoved down our throats that’s REALLY making us fat fatter than we would be normally.  I can say that, from my own experience, having diets shoved down my throat and constantly being told that I was too fat and nobody would ever love me because of my fat, only proved to make me want to eat more.  I have no doubt that I would never have been skinny.  I doubt I would have ever been any smaller than a US size 12.  But if I didn’t have it forced upon me over and over and over again, I think I probably wouldn’t have gained the weight I did in my teens.  I probably would have stayed somewhere around 145-155, and eventually I would have realized that I really wasn’t all that fat, that people just liked to bully me and that was the easiest thing for them to pick on. 

Obviously, I realize that I could be completely wrong about all this.  These are just my personal thoughts.  But I think it’s good for me to question things like this.  Maybe if more people questioned what we’re conditioned to believe as the truth, this world would be a much better place – for everyone concerned.