I’ve been dreading Saturday all week. Today is the day I have to take my son to Gattiland to see his “girlfriend.” Since we moved about ½ an hour away about a year ago, they don’t get to see each other very often. She is a sweet girl and about the only real friend T has so I want to do what I can to maintain that relationship for him, but uggh! Gattiland?
I hate to admit it, but I really have gotten to where I don’t like to go out in public. It isn’t so much that I don’t like people looking at me. In my 20’s I was SO caught up in what other people thought of me. I would have been mortified if a child pointed out the obvious to mommy: “Mommy that lady is FAT!” I never really held it against the child if that happened, they are just pointing out the obvious. It’s all in how the parent handles it. Most parents should tell their children that what they’ve observed might be the truth, but that it isn’t always nice to point such things out as it might hurt the person’s feelings. Most parents do handle it this way, but I have had horrible experiences where the parents have said the worst things to their child: “yes she is, that’s why mommy doesn’t want you to have too many sweets, you remember that next time you ask.” Right in front of me, not lowering their voice and not caring that I can hear every word they are saying. And that my friends is how eating disorders are born.
Honestly, this isn’t why I dread going out in public right now. I can handle stuff like this whether it’s handled well or not so well. I’m used to people staring or even worse…refusing to see me at all. I’ve always said, I’m the biggest invisible person in the room usually because people either stare or they look everywhere but at you. I am such a different person than I was in my 20’s. I know that despite what I look like on the outside, I am MORE than just my body. People will think what they want to think and there’s nothing I can do about that. If they choose not to get to know me or see me for the human being that I am, then I’m sorry for them. Under my gargantuan surface, I’m a mother who has struggled and sacrificed to raise her special needs son the best she can. I’ve worked crappy hours so that I never had to put him in daycare. I put off going back to graduate school after graduating Summa Cum Laude so that I could make sure he got the services and attention he needed. I’ve tried to be a good wife to my husband. I’m a loyal friend and someone I think everyone in my life knows they can count on. I don’t need other people to validate me anymore so that’s a plus
However, when I do go out in public, what can still humiliate me is coping with my weakness. The muscular atrophy I’ve experienced over the last year; partially due to the depression I experienced after the break up of my marriage and then exacerbated after my knee injury. What does humiliate me is showing this weakness; having difficulty getting from my car to the building without being too fatigued; not being able to stand for very long; getting out of breath just walking a short distance; getting red in the face or god forbid SWEATING! It is these challenges that have made me want to hide in my home. I don’t want people to see me struggle. The last thing I want to see on their faces is pity…god no…not that. I think it’s because I remember looking at people like myself when I was slimmer and thinking the same thing…how awful it would be to be that fat and that disabled by my weight… and here I sit.
It can get to be a vicious cycle though. If you give in to it, then you wind up staying home, getting less and less physical activity and before you know it, you are bed-bound. I used to wonder how people could let themselves get that bad. At what point do you just never get out of bed again? I’m here to tell you that once you get to a certain weight, it doesn’t take much. One injury can mean even less physical activity and before you know it, you can’t stand up on your own. You can’t take a few steps without having some kind of support. So you stop going up and down the stairs as often, instead having your husband or son bring you something to drink and soon, even when the injury has healed, your muscle tone has gotten so bad that you can’t get out of a chair or out of bed without assistance. Of course, this is depressing as hell and how do we deal with yucky feelings; FOOD of course. So while your muscle tone is declining, your weight is increasing and it just compounds the whole problem.
I realize that I am at a turning point in my life right now. I can either choose to deal with the humiliation of getting out in public, letting strangers see my weaknesses, go to the gym even if I can only do 5 minutes at a time on the treadmill or resign myself to my fate. Unless I do all these things, I WILL wind up completely immobile and I doubt I will live much beyond the age of 40.
I absolutely refuse to give in. I’m a strong woman and I’ve dealt with much harder battles in my life than seeing that look of pity on someone’s face. I just have to tell myself that it won’t be like this forever. I’m making positive choices now and soon, I will start seeing some improvement.
Ok, pep talk done; now to shower and get ready for my fun adventure at gattiland. Just pray I can pass up the pizza buffet.
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