‘Navigating the world at a larger size is difficult in so many ways. I don’t know why people can’t just be okay with me the way I am. It’s part of the package!’
“I grew up with a fraternal twin brother who is skinny. People were always comparing us. From day one he was smaller, and then he was taller and blonde, so we looked nothing alike. He never struggled with being picked on for being fat; I was teased relentlessly.
“In college I was surprised when people didn’t tease me for being fat. That was when I realized people might like me for my personality. Now I am a teacher’s assistant with special education classes. One of my worst moments was when my class was on a field trip at Garvies Point. We had to climb high stairs from the beach. I’m supposed to be there to support the kids and the teacher, and she had to take my hand and hold onto me to get me back up off the beach. I had to sit down afterwards. It was so embarrassing.
I was unsure at first, but my nutritionist said I had until the moment I was in the operating room to change my mind. When I realized I had that freedom I didn’t feel pressured.
“Sometimes at school I couldn’t walk to my car at the end of the day without stopping to take a break because my back hurt so much. I couldn’t exercise to lose weight because it hurt to stand. That was when I decided to have weight loss surgery. I was unsure at first, but my nutritionist said I had until the moment I was in the operating room to change my mind. When I realized I had that freedom I didn’t feel pressured. I chose the sleeve, which is where they remove a portion of the stomach. It felt like it took forever to get to the surgery. They wanted me to lose weight beforehand and go to meetings each month.
“I lost 80 pounds before the surgery. I lost some weight afterwards, but not as fast as I thought I would. The program worked, but you have to stick with it and it’s tough. Navigating the world at a larger size is difficult in so many ways. I feel like everyone is looking at me when I get on planes. I didn’t fit in the school auditorium seats, so I would sit on a folding chair in the back. I can’t buy clothing on clearance because if I wait, the items in my size won’t be available. I’ve had people roll down their windows to scream, ‘You’re fat!’ Do they think it’s a secret? What is their motivation? I’m at the point where I wonder why I can’t just be happy as I am. I have a pretty full life. I don’t know why people can’t just be okay with me the way I am. It’s part of the package!”