Hugs and Hurt

Times I have been embarrassed or ridiculed for being FAT.

#1. My niece asks me about being fat.
Niece: Why are you so fat?
Me: (Hard blush) Well…why are you so skinny?
Niece: Because God made me this way.
Me: (Mentally-really??!) Oh…well, God made me this way.
Nephew: No, he didn’t. You just eat too much.
My Brother/Their Father: *Smirk, laugh, snort*
Me: *I wish I was dead, quite literally*
And scene.

#2. McDonald’s bathroom
A small, loud girl is standing outside the stalls, waiting her turn. The restroom is busy. She is asking very loud questions of Grandma and being a general nuisance to all those around her. I finish. I open the door. Loud, small girl as I step out: You’re fat!
I simply look at Grandma as she shakes her head and laughs, sheepish and apologetic.

#3. Exercising in YMCA. Foreign man points me out to his girlfriend and laughs as I bend over to take a drink from the water fountain. I don’t see it, my husband tells me later.
I go up to the man and tell him, “Next time, keep your mouth shut.”
He is also embarrassed.

#I’ve-lost-count. Sitting in furniture store. Talking with my family. Small, loud girl walks by and says, “Look at that big lady.” Father scolds the small child.

For the first time, in my entire life, my whole family simply hugs me in the middle of the store and no words are said. They know. They know how much these uttered words kill me. These words of misunderstanding and confusion. These words of bigotry and nastiness. They simply hug me without any more words. And I feel loved. It was the most wonderful, powerful thing they have ever done and I can’t even thank them because I have no more words. But they simply embrace me and support me, literally. I felt so cared for.

It hurts. To be noticed for my weakness. It hurts to be called attention to. For this. It hurts to be shamed or embarrassed.

But I suppose that girl. The one in the store on Saturday. She will know now. For the next overweight person. Don’t say that. I have shown her that you don’t point at, shout at, stare at, whisper about obese people. Or any people. We’re all people. Hopefully, she learns that lesson.

You know, I’m not fat because I eat too much. I’m fat because I wasn’t loved enough. Because of illness, disease and addiction-my own and others. Because I was given a battle that shows on the outside. I have worth whether I win that battle or not.

It’s not the victory that makes one a fighter. It’s war that makes the warrior. Win or lose.

Superhero Strength

I’m sitting here, near tears and almost shaking. August 10th. Tomorrow-4 years to the day, I entered the hospital for heart failure.

I’m emotional because tomorrow, I meet the doctor who will save my life.

I hate doctors. Doctors want to help people? I guess. My experience has been: few doctors actually want to help people and are mostly in it for the money, power, prestige. Most doctors would scoff at that. “I coulda been a lawyer if all I wanted was money.” This is what I imagine they would say as they rip off their surgical mask with wind superheroic-ly blowing through their hair and scrubs.

I guess it depends on the doctor, why they do what they do. There are as many kinds of doctors with as many kinds of skills and temperaments as there are McDonald’s employees. Sometimes you get a good one, sometimes you get a person having a bad day or ignorant of what to do. Regardless, doctor or McD’s cashier, they’re both doing a job that I can’t and don’t want.

Who voluntarily says that they want to be a doctor of fat people? Not many. I’m guessing the number is approximately equal to those who study proctology. But I guess my doctor/surgeon wants to help overweight patients since he’s been doing it for over 10 years, almost 15, maybe more. He’s saved more than 5,000 patients with bariatric surgery. Saved their life, in most cases. 5,000. Can anyone reading this say that they’ve saved 5,000 lives? That’s a superhero.

So, I guess I’m a little nervous to meet my superhero surgeon face-to-face.

I want so much to succeed. I want to meet my goals that I’ve had for over 4 years. I want to get healthy. And so much is riding on this surgery. Quality of life, length of life, complete healing. I don’t know if most doctors realize how much they’re helping? Do they know how fragile their patients are? Can they feel how desperate they are? Do they know the true power they hold? Do most patients tear up at the promise of help?

I’m scared I can’t live without food. That I’ll hurt myself because I’ve hurt my body for 43 years; in little, drawn-out ways and in big, stupid ways. Please, God. Help me stop hurting myself. I want to so desperately be the person you created me to be so long ago. I want to fulfill my promise. Your promise. Help me. Help me be focused on what’s right and help me stand up for help, for myself and others. Help me be a superhero.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And a doctor who’s willing to help.