Sunday, June 12, 2005

And so I spend a day feeling like Kathy - Aaaaaargh!

Let me start by saying how grateful I am for my health. I am well aware of how incredibly lucky I am. Not only did I dodge a great big, cancer-shaped, grapefruit-sized bullet, but I am now stronger, healthier and wiser than I ever was before my surgery. All of that said, I also am 15-20 pounds heavier than I was before. Heavier than I ever have been in my life. And I'm having a little trouble getting used to it. I am 36 years old, five-foot-twoish (maybe 5'3") and ever since I outgrew a teenage self-consciousness about my weight, I've been the kind of gal who doesn't own a scale, doesn't obsess about food and doesn't worry about weight. Of course, I didn't have to worry because I weighed 100-105 pounds. And even though my resting heart rate hummed at around 97 bpm and I couldn't have run two doors down the block if my life depended on it, I felt pretty good about my appearance. Now I could run (if I really had to), I'm happier, I feel great, I DON'T have cancer. But I've also endured a pretty rocky bout of surgical menopause without the aid of tasty, cancer-risk-increasing hormone replacement therapy. I've taken the edge off that menopause with a daily dose of Mama's Happy Medercine. I also went through three months of chemotherapy and steroids less than a year ago. All in all, I'm lucky I haven't gained 100 pounds. A whole extra Elizabeth. The twin sister I've always wanted. So how have I tied to honor my promise to be kind and forgiving and patient with myself as I heal from last year's trauma and navigate this new life of mine? I went shopping for a swimsuit. It's the worst, am I right ladies? (Also, who wishes PMS tasted like chocolate? I know I do! Let's go shoe shopping and forget about it!) I found a swimsuit. But that isn't really the point. I keep thinking that, while it would be nice to have the body I used to have, it would be even nicer - PREFERABLE - to not care so flipping much. Somehow I can manage to make friends with death and come to terms with the inevitability of one day saying goodbye to everyone and everything I love, but I'm going to spend my days worried that my ass is too dimply? Boy the Ego is a funny creature. I hate her. Almost as much as I love her. I think I'll feed her some Pringles and then punish her for wanting them. Also, unless you're trying to shave seconds off your personal best time or raise your price by a couple of cows, swimsuits make no fucking sense. The only time in my life I have gone into a dressing room and found a swimsuit on the first try was last year, just a few weeks after my surgery, when I weighed less than 95 pounds. I didn't just look good, I looked Lindsay Lohan good. I looked SHINDLER'S LIST good! I've got to conquer this shit, because I don't want to pass it on to my daughters. I don't want their opinions of themselves to squeak on the rusty hinge of their waist sizes. The thing is, it's not about the weight. It's about the ways our bodies turn against us. They gain weight. They want Pringles. They get dimply in places you think should be smooth. They look best in suits we all know were designed for women 20 years older. They get cancer. They die. I'm not in control here. And that is a much harder concept to assimilate than mortality.


Anonymous Marie said...

How wise you are to relate body image to control! I never thought of it that way. I just get angry, angry, angry, that I keep craving the things that make me feel bad and gain weight. It is about control and how much we have or don't have. Brilliant.

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