Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

Here I sit ... just one week away from my big day. Seven sleeps. I'm frightened ...  like, laying awake in bed at all hours of the night, frightened ... or heart racing into my stomach, frightened - but perhaps not for the reasons one might think. I'm not so much afraid of something happening during the surgery ... I mean a little, but really - I have a better chance of stroking out in a rage over one of Narci's bullshit stunts, than I do of actually dying on the operating table ... and all things aside, I am pretty healthy - thank heaven.

No, my fear is somewhat more bone deep than that. See, I have allowed my personal disgust in myself to colour every facet of my life for many, many years. I see the fact that I haven't been able to control this very personal thing, as not only a colossal failure, but a massive character flaw. I mean, please ... how could anyone allow themselves to gain 150 pounds, right? I did it, and  still can't provide an answer to that question. It keeps me from fully participating in my life. I have not applied for jobs (and subsequently suffered along in the one I have in a very unhappy manner), not gone to public functions, not  attended work functions - even award ceremonies where I won shit, not gone swimming with my children ... not even spent any sort of physical time with friends. In fact, the few people I call "friend" are mostly voices on the phone (no - not just in my head) and letters on a computer screen.

And so ... sitting on the edge of the precipice that I have spent nearly two decades digging ... with the impending promise of a bridge across staring me right in the face ... I'm scared shit-less. No safety net now, sweet pea. No excuses. You are here ... on the eve of the first day of the rest of your life. Whatcha gonna do now? 

I haven't been able to articulate this - even to myself until today ... but THIS is the fear I am feeling.

See - I have been researching weight loss surgery for around 3 years. In fact, I started off wanting an entirely different procedure, and have come to this one (Gastric Sleeve Resection) by way of information, safety, results and availability. In that time, (and mostly in the past year and a half) I have spent much of my energy on either campaigning to make it happen, talking myself into actually doing it and convincing the nay-sayers in my life that it is a sound decision. My mother being "Nay-sayer number 1".

See, Mom has not been very supportive of this decision. At first, I thought it was because she was simply worried about my safety and having any sort of surgery can be dangerous - so I tried to assuage her fears by providing data on the relative safety of the procedure. It didn't seem to help. I have come to realize over time that her lack of enthusiasm appears to come from a slightly darker place. I've thought a whole lot about it and I think she feels embarrassed about me having this. Let me state (for the record) that it is a bitter pill to swallow when your mother's opinions are the very echo of your own self deprecation.
Obviously, the first thing that jumps into anyone's mind is: How could she be embarrassed ...  first of all, it isn't about her and second of all, nobody knows about it? (Am I right?) But, see ... here's the thing ... she has told everyone in her world about it. The women she works with ... my sisters ... her friends (many of whom I have known for many, many years) ... and she's been running this twisted little opinion poll for the past several months regarding the validity of having this type of procedure done. And not that this isn't bad enough all on its own, but she's been presenting the various opinions to me as though she had been defending my decision to these people (passive aggressive, much?) ... when the reality is that she had absolutely no fucking right to say a bloody word to ANYBODY about this. It is not hers to share. This is mine, and I wish like hell I had never told her I was having it done.

My favorite part was when she told me (just this past Saturday) that after having a long heart to heart with herself, she thinks that if she had such a huge amount of weight to lose (as do I) ... and this surgery was available to her ... that she'd likely opt to have it done, too. (This from a woman who had her throat stripped and part of her palette reconstructed so she would no longer snore, for fuck's sakes.) I sat there, looking across the table at her - dumbfounded. She went on to say that maybe this wasn't necessarily the "easy way out" after all ... though most people seem to think that it is ... and that even though she feared I might be going about this backwards and "dealing with my problems from the outside in" (as my 23 inch waist-ed, 26 year old sister so sagely commented) ... that she supported my decision, in spite of everything else. {This is where something snapped inside my head ... I said very little - a simple 'well ... anyone who thinks there is anything 'easy' about what I am doing here is welcome to say that to my face ... and perhaps waddle a mile in my crocs before they make such an arbitrary, unfeeling and glaringly untrue comment about something they clearly know nothing about.' I then gave an unenthusiastic 'thank you' for her "support" and promptly changed the subject ... because any other course of action would not have had any happy outcome.}

This is my MOTHER, people. The person who is supposed to have my back - NO-MATTER-WHAT! The person who provides my alibi when I freak out and go postal on my employer ... the person who picks up the pieces of my shattered ego and spit-glues them back together ... the one who kisses the owie better and makes the pain go away. What-tha-hell? This is the same woman who has BEEN there for every event that led to this "(apparently not so) personal failure" of hers mine. She was there for pretty damned near all of it ... and she's been there for the past 20 odd years it has taken me to forge some kind of life for myself out of the rubble. How can she possibly think that ANY of this has been easy? I've paid the fine ... I've done my time and it is time for me to finally move past this. Christ, I have had so much therapy over the years, I have undoubtedly put a few shrinks' kids through medical school ... it is unbearable to think that she doesn't 'get' this... and clearly, she doesn't. And I don't know how to tell her.

I talked to my long time friend this morning. She knew me when I was "me" ... or at least the me I best relate to. She has been there for much of the "stuff that brought me here", too. She has never had a weight problem ... not ever. She shouldn't be able to 'get' this ... but when I told her about the conversation that happened on Saturday, she had the following to say about it: (not a direct quote - I wanted to ask her to type everything she just said in an email, but felt that might be a little weird ... but I really needed for someone on the outside to see and say something like this) 'Look - I think I can safely say that you are one of the strongest people I know. I have watched you struggle with this (weight issue) for a long time. I have seen how the way you see yourself has robbed you of an awful lot of opportunities. I think you have done the work. I don't think for a second you are doing anything backward and can't see how anyone who knows the first thing about you could think - and certainly not say - something so stupid. Your outside image is simply disconnected from the person you are inside ... that is the most simple way to see this ... and it is merely time to correct that.'  She went on to say that she had one "stupid moment" after I got my date where she feared I might change ... but realized I have always been the same person ... just not an active participant in my life for too many years. 

She is such a talented wordsmith, and I am not doing this justice ... I really wish I had gotten her to email the comment to me. The point is, she gets it. She understands... and I need that right now. My husband has been his usual rock-star self ... and I am grateful beyond belief ... but I still need for the people in my world to really get this ... really embrace what I am trying to do here. Am I being too selfish in wanting that? Is it okay for me to just expect it?

This song is by Colin Hay ... I lifted this from Fadra ... who left it on a comment to the Grasshoppa I think it says a whole lot.

Any minute now, my ship is coming in - I'll keep checking the horizon - I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing - Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love - Open up your heart - Let the light shine in
But don't you understand - I already have a plan - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened - But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane - I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now - Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice - I know that I can win - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in - I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine, there's sure to be that call - It's gonna happen soon, soon, soon - It's just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love - Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don't you understand - I already have a plan - I'm waiting for my real life to begin


brite said...

Dani, my favorite dragonfly...there's so much I want to say and I'd be better off composing a carefully worded email, but perhaps off the cuff is more honest.
On Fear...change is damn hard, and so we fear it, allthefuckingtime over everything.Big change can be paralyzing, but it can also be FREEDOM.Freedom to remake, find again, perfect and hone, slough off and add on to who you are.I'm giving you a hearty push dear (tempered with a hug)...go for it with all your heart and soul!!
On Mothers...mothers are complicated, as you well know since you have children of your own.Very, very very few people have what they would call satisfying relationships with their mother...because they are like goddesses, we expect them to be perfect (like you said; watch your back, fix your boo boos, etc.) but at the end of the day, mothers are just human like the rest of us, prone to fallibility and fucking up, being fucked up themselves and unable to 'fix' it, just like your useless neighbour down the block.We just expect more from our moms (fair or not)and no one, I mean no one can make you angrier than your mother. I'm still PISSED at mine for dying and that was 18 years ago (I'm way more mad than I am sad...talk about messed up pfffft)!
You're not who your mom wants you to be and she's not who you want her to be...interesting bit of karma you guys are hammering out there. Keep at it, it will get better.

Amethyst Anne said...

Your friend is wise and wonderful and I am so glad that you are surrounded (mostly) with love and support for this new chapter in your life.
The fear; well, it is a big change, it is always one thing to sit back and harp on about something and be contented with that, but it takes a special kind of fearlessness to actively take the bull by the horns and DO something. Which is precisely what you have done. You have every right to be scared, excited, anxious, elated- whatever you do feel, because this is your ship Captain Dani and you are headed into uncharted waters!
I for one am so unbelievably in awe of your strength, courage and tenacity to do this.
I wish I could weigh in here and have something wonderful and eloquent that would help you with your Mom. I have no doubt that one day she will indeed'get it'.

As for the time getting there be patient and surround yourself with the positive forces in your life. I know- Thanks a lot smart arse -right??
From what I understand, your Mom and you are fairly close ( and live in the same house!) . Sometimes there is a certain liberty that is taken (unintentionally mostly) with being that close. She is looking at you, from the perspective of how you used to look at yourself. (because she has not been inside your head coming to this decision.) She is coming at this situation from the old Dani perspective:
"Let me state (for the record) that it is a bitter pill to swallow when your mother's opinions are the very echo of your own self deprecation."
One day my friend she will step back and "See" you.
In the meantime my friend, I must argue with you, I believe your new life has already begun!

Please know, I'm along for the long haul and I'd smother you in hugs if I could right now.
*Biggest of hugs*

JJ said...

Keep your chin up and stick to your guns. You know you are doing the right thing and that's what matters. It's difficult having to defend your decisions, especially to someone with as much influence over your thinking as your mother. But remember that hubs, who - at this point in your life - probably knows you better than anyone, is super supportive of your decision. And, although it's hard to admit, sometimes men are right.

So try to clear your head and think only good thoughts. You will be fine - better than fine, actually. Life is good!

Spot said...

I'm sorry I didn't read this sooner so I could throw in my support from the very beginning. But here comes a huge heaping bag of it anyway. I don't think you're taking the easy way out or going about it backwards at all. And I completely get your mother failing on all counts. Unfortunately, that happens to a lot of us. And all you can do is look at them blankly as you bite your tongue.
Family is what your stuck with when you come into this world, but friends are the family you choose yourself. And you have chosen wisely indeed. I know that my support is late, but I also know that there were so many here before me to be in your corner.
My cousin struggled practically from birth with weight issues. Unfortunately she was the younger sister to a beautiful model. Talk about your self esteem issues. But she was always the sweetest girl you'd ever want to meet. At nineteen she developed health problems that they could not get under control. She had a gastric bypass in hopes of losing weight and getting her health under control. It worked wonderfully and she is now just as gorgeous on the outside as she has always been on the inside. I know that it will work this way for you too.
Much hugs and love and commiseration,

The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

My heart just kind of broke and spilled out. I am so very sorry that I did not know you were going through all this. During my first semester back, I really fell behind on all the things I enjoy---like keeping up with the lives of those people I have come to so admire and adore through the blogging community. I hope you will forgive me and know that your recovery---both physically and spiritually, is on my mind and heart. I pray that you will find your new life has indeed begun. Much love to you, DD.

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