We were in to see the head of radiology last Wednesday, he is terrific in so many ways, and he has a level of judgment regarding my body size, about which he feels no compulsion to suppress his opinion.
Which meant that when discussing scheduling the radiation simulation, he told me we should wait until the end of January. I’ll paraphrase: “because you are not Twiggy and once you are off steroids there could be a big change in your fluid accumulation.”
My response. “Nope and I am a lot healthier that she probably was.”
I’m so proud of myself.
I also got to refuse to be weighed, twice. And manage some pushback from the NP, who “can’t really judge how I am doing nutritionally, since she doesn’t have my weight.” What-what-what? Are you kidding?
I write this as we were resting and relaxing (can’t say restoring) up in Infusion while I get my premeds and Taxol. It has been a relatively smooth and peaceful day, and it is infusion 7 of 8, nearing the end of chemo-cleanse.
What else is up Amelia?
Well, I find I am standing on my soapbox. It is a good sturdy one that will fully support me. I notice how fearful I am about talking about my body issues and image, the critical voices get very loud here.
“No one wants to hear from a fat person about weight issues, you have to be skinny to be listened to.” This statement values skinny over fat as well as devalues and judges my body size as having a criteria that must be met before I open my mouth.
“Healthy and fat? Impossible.”
Nope, very possible, here I am doing it. I keep hearing how great I look, that is a reflection of the strength and health of my body, even though some cancer cells developed in my body. Read the book I blogged about.
I am so deeply trained to accept and self-judge based on the Twiggy-normative culture I grew up in. I was around for some awful things that are a result of this culture.
- Such as…. miserable and incessant teasing from elementary through high school.
- My first diet, prescribed by a doctor, in second grade. I was chubby, yes, but a diet for a seven year-old?
- Learning to sneak food and binge as I began eating to self-soothe. Looking back, I see that I had lost (or never learned) a healthy way to interact with food, so was looking to it for comfort, instead of nutrition.
- So many diets and so much weight loss I can’t count.
- A complete loss of connection with my body, so eating when hungry and stopping when full became a complete unknown.
- Basking in the glow of being slimmer, losing weight, becoming a better person because I lost weight.
- You know though, I have never, ever, managed to get to the 135 the weight charts suggest. Not even close. Like 169 is as close as I have gotten, that was after months of eating optifast jello or some such crap. Yea, I lost weight. My life crapped out. I dropped out of college. I gained back the weight.
- I watched, as my parents responded to the pressures to be slim. My father turned yellow from drinking so much carrot juice. My mother was prescribed diet pills when pregnant. And from the pictures I’ve seen, she was relatively small. But hey, in the pictures of the time, early 60’s, everyone has a rocks glass and a cigarette -so what’s a bit of speed to go with it?
- My grandmother worked so hard to lose weight. (I think she was 5’7″, 160.) She regularly shared her judgment, telling me that it was too bad there was no way to put me and B, my skinny best friend, in a homogenizer and even us out. As I write that, I wonder about judgement for too skinny also, yet it cut into me deeply at the time, and I just heard I was too fat. I understand; she had family members who were cruel and mean to her about her body and habits, they hurt and scared her, and I was often around to see it and imprint the judgment.
So much judgment. We are trained to believe that thin is better, healthier, smarter, prettier and simply better.
Is that true?
‘Cause I am sitting in this body; my one and only game piece for this here game of life I am playing with you all. It is a big body. It has gotten me far, however I am usually yelling at it or judging it, in my head. No, it can’t do those wild yoga poses, nor can I run a marathon. It does walk and hike with me happily. I am strong and have incredible endurance. It is surviving an intense chemo-cleanse quite well actually.
“You are so pretty, if only …”
|My Brother John|
I am beautiful. Period.
|Amelia with dieting Daddy sailing ~1972|
|Amelia and Polly Ketchikan, Alaska 1972|
|Polly and I this summer|
I’ll end with a little genetics lesson called Amy, John and Polly. Amy (yea that’s me) and John are genetic siblings, we really look alike and have both dealt with weight issues. Polly was adopted as an infant, so same parents, same food exposures, same environment, different genetics. Polly at 5’3″ just barely managed to get to 150 when she was pregnant with a 9lb. baby.
Thanks for hanging with me as I explore this process out loud.