Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Want To Be A Loser, Not A Looser

I remember back to when I was fat I thought that if I was skinny, that it would fix all of my problems. Even as I got closer and closer to my goal I still had this fantasy life that would play over and over in my head where I would have a rock hard body, men falling at my feet and fewer problems.

Reality set in around the beginning of this year and slowly I have come to accept the fact that it doesn’t matter if you are fat or skinny, a girl is going to have problems. Some problems are the same ones I have dealt with for years, others have slowly surfaced as other problems faded away as the weight came off.

I am surprised by the fact that I am still incredibly self conscious about my body. Not the size anymore, but the damage that I did to it by being overweight for so many years. When I meet new people, I don’t want them to see loose skin sagging on my arms or my thighs. I don’t want them to know off the bat that I used to be almost twice the size that I am now. I want to establish Skinny Rachel before people find out that I used to be Fattie Rachel.

When I go out with friends, I do not wear sleeveless or short sleeved outfits. I always layer it with at least an elbow length shrug or a sweater or sweatshirt. I use the excuse that I get cold easily (which I do.. I freeze all the time) but it is more because I don’t want people to see the loose, stretch marked upper arm skin that I have hanging. I know that many people would say that my “bat wings” are a badge of honor. That it is proof of my determination and will to lose the weight. I see it as a neon flag announcing to the world my former fatdom.

I look at my body and usually all I see is the sagging skin. I don’t have a pannus (hanging down belly) because even when I was at my heaviest, I carried my weight mainly in my thighs, bum and arms. I will wear things that are above my knees, but only with control top panty hose to keep the jello jiggle down.

I went to a water park in Texas and another one in Michigan. I have a bikini, but instead of wearing the normal bottoms, I wore the meshy work out shorts that went down to my knees along with the bikini top. I looked for a swimsuit with the matching board shorts, but couldn’t find them anywhere. I get frustrated that I am still so uncomfortable in my body that I cover it up just as much if not more than I did before.

And then the coup de tat. What I have not so lovingly dubbed my girls. I now call them goobs. My cute euphemism for grandma boobs. They are truly sad reflections of what they used to be. My friend Ann is pregnant with baby #3 and nursed the first 2. Her girls are perkier than mine ever were and every time I change in front of her, she gives me this sympathetic look and says “We need to find a way to get you plastic surgery”. To give you a decent comparison just look at a large balloon that has been inflated and deflated about 100 times. Couple that with an ass that people have agreed looks like a Sharpei and you can probably understand why I am almost looking forward to winter.

The thought of being physically intimate with someone who hasn’t seen my naked body makes my stomach churn and I imagine them being grossed out but conversely fascinated by the shapes they can make with my loose skin like it’s Play Doh or something. I wonder who would want someone who is saggy and baggy.

I know, I know…. If someone loves me, they should love all of me, loose skin and all. But let’s be real folks. Our society is very much a physically superficial society. For every Camryn Manheim there are 500 Cameron Diaz’s. I am superficial right along with the rest of them. I prefer a guy who is in shape, taller than me, good looking and has good teeth.

There isn’t much that I can do about the loose skin other than have it surgically removed. I looked into all of the procedures that I would have to have (basically a full body lift) and it averages about $40,000. None of it is severe enough that insurance would cover it so that means that I would have to come up with the entire amount myself. Or, I could set up a PayPal donate button and try to convince people to give me their hard earned money to pay a rich doctor to slice my body apart. Hmmmm… maybe not.

I just feel helpless and frustrated about something that I can’t really change without a huge infusion of money in my bank account. Maybe that is why I dwell on it so much. It is just tantalizingly out of reach. The possibility is there, but there is not much of a chance of me actualizing the possibility.


The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

You are alive and healthy, healthy healthy! That's is what's most important - what you have accomplished is so much more than fat or skinny, firm or saggy. You have given yourself the gift of more precious time on this earth.

Love you girl! You look beautiful - that's it.

Churlita said...

I agree with Lady. I'm a runner and I've been very fit my entire life. But now I'm in my mid-40's and things are not as they were...If you know what I mean. It's easy to be self-conscious. The reality is that if you're healthy and happy, everything else will come into play.

Honestly, I don't care what any guy looks like. After some of the abusive a-holes I've dated, I'd settle for someone who has extra skin or weight, but is kind and funny and smart.

David in DC said...

Been a long time since I dropped by. Glad I did.

First off, mazal tov. You accomplished an unbelievably difficult goal. I'm in awe. And sooo happy for you.

Second off, elective surgery is dumb. Surgery always carries some risk. It should be avoided except when necessary. (Needless to say, when necessary, it should be done as soon as practicable.)

So I'm with the Lady and Churl. You're good just as you are. Great, in fact.

One thing I'd add to the Lady's comment: As you know, like Devon, I grew up as the only child of a single mom. So, from my own experience, I'll amend the Lady's comment along the lines of what I said when I asked my mom to quit smoking instead of buying me anything for my Bar Mitzvah.

You have given yourself and Devon the gift of more precious time on this earth.

My mom quit smoking in 1975. She's now closer to 80 than 70.

I thank G-d I had the brass at age thirteen to ask her to make a difficult change so I'd have her around longer.

You've given Devon the same gift.

Linka72 said...

First of all, I LOVE that you know the difference between those two words - (sorry, my pet peeve)
Secondly, you look great - stop the madness girl!!
but if it bothers you, maybe you can do it gradually so that you won't have to come up with so much money all at once...
I dunno, that's my assvice for the day.

Lindsay said...

You are So much like me.

I am lucky in that I have DH now and he loves me - hanging skin and saggy boobs and all. But boy oh boy did you just describe my body!!!

I did carry my weight around the middle so I do have the saggy bit below my tummy. (sigh). Really there isn't much we can do about.

As you stated though, it is a reminder for the rest of my life how unhealthy I let my body get. That is what is upsetting the most to me.

Keep working at it! Keep seeing yourself as the Rockin' Gal we all know and love.

You are so inspiring! I really do hope you find that in yourself soon.