Acceptance and baby steps

From reading around it seems that FA is one of those movements which is quite fluid; each proponent has not only their own story and own journey towards it but also their own definition of it. For me it’s about mental health and making peace with myself (conquering that critical and perfectionist side of me) and my body. I’m finding it a slow process and while sometimes I think I have a handle on things I come across days like yesterday and realise that I still have a long way to go.

It was such a small blip too. I’d gone to an oral surgeon to get a tooth taken out. I had two that needed puling but the dentist that had taken the first had made a bit of a hash of it (they were very liberal with the sedation but not so much with the painkillers… my tears and upset in the chair were mistaken for anxiety rather than agony. It’s been a week and I still have a huge black bruise on my jaw) so I’d been referred to an oral surgeon for the next one. As a new patient I was given a form to fill in which asked the standard medical questions – who was my GP, what conditions did I suffer from, what medication did I take, etc. But one question threw me:

How much do you weigh?

I had to answer. There had been talk of possibly putting me under to get out the second tooth (everyone was still working from the assumption that I was a nervous wreck, even I hadn’t yet clicked to the real issue with the previous extraction) and of course if I needed a GA they’d need to know my weight. And I did know what it was – while I don’t usually weigh myself I had seen my GP about a month prior and she’d had to weigh me to calculate a medication dosage. So it was relatively straightforward.

But I didn’t want to answer. And not because I felt they didn’t need to know it; but because I felt – and I hate to admit this – a bit of a sense of shame at the number. I was worried they’d treat me differently when they knew, that perhaps they would look at me with contempt or disgust. But at the same time I knew that there was no real reason to not own up to it; they could see I was deathfat, and besides – what does a number matter?

I wrote it down. And no-one mentioned it or seemed to even notice it. But I was discouraged by my reaction to that question and I felt that I hadn’t come very far along the FA path. I beat myself up for it a little. And that lead to thoughts of the Fantasy of Being Thin… how much easier life would be in a ‘normal’ body with a ‘normal’ mindset (no second chocolate for me! I’m on a diet) living a ‘normal’ life. But I had to remind myself that I am not and will never be ‘normal’. I was a fat teen despite walking 6 kilometres a day, playing sport and going to the gym. When I starved myself  (literally – I ate next to nothing) I never managed to get below 63 kilos on a 5 foot 6 frame (which at the time I saw as a personal failure). And I know that there are plenty of people out there who will not believe me, who feel that if I was just dedicated enough/strong enough/*woman* enough I could ‘tame’ this body of mine and be ‘normal’. But I can’t. And for my own health (and it really is a health issue) I have to let that fantasy go. Weight loss is not the answer – even if it were possible.

So I am still on the FA path, but I’ve gone back a little ways. This morning though I have decided that that’s OK: I will continue to take baby steps and hopefully I will one day get to the end goal. But even if I don’t ever ‘arrive’ at true acceptance at least I’ve given it a shot and hopefully – this is one of my main concerns, and one of the main reasons why I am determined to continue on my acceptance journey – I will have shown my daughters a positive role model who did not require outside validation of her body and her existence.

One day.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering – the oral surgeon got the second tooth out in just a few minutes! He gave me two pain injections and no sedation whatsoever and I didn’t feel any pain 🙂  Not yet, anyway… I’ll wait ’til I get the bill in the mail).

ETA: Here’s the war wound (and this is a week later!):

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3 Responses

  1. Ye gods. I have had teeth extracted under local anaesthetic (wisdom teeth and molars) and have never had a bruise like that! What sort of monster was this dentist???

    And re the FA journey… my high school 20 year reunion is in a few weeks and I have been not wanting to go because I weigh about twice as much as when I was in Year 12. I feel like a hypocrite being worried about it but there you go. (I am going to go but I am still nervous).

    • She was very nice, but yeah… looking at my chin I can see why the extraction was agony!

      Re the reunion: I can totally relate. And it’s nice to hear someone like you admit to having the same kinds of feelings, even though it’s sad as it’s an indicator of how deeply penetrating the fat-hate in our culture is.

  2. Holy cow, that looks NASTY. I”m so sorry you went through that! And glad you had better results this time.

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