lumps and mirrors

trigger warning - fat shaming, body acceptance

years ago, i had a lumpectomy. i started to wake up in the operating room while the doctor was finishing. drifting in and out of consciousness, i remember the lights over my head and muffled voices of my doctor and the surgical assistants. i heard someone say something about my health. my doctor said i was healthy - perfect numbers across the board. someone else said, "yeah, except she's fat." my doctor, my amazing doctor who made the whole scary process much less scary, said "and that number is not an indicator of her overall health." the end. they stopped talking and i woke up in recovery. 

i've don't know that i've ever told anyone that story. i was so ashamed even though i knew my doctor was right. i was healthy. it was just a number. i could tell myself that over and over again but i didn't listen or believe it. my brain replayed the words "... she's fat," louder than anything else in my head.

"... she's fat."

i worked in an environment that was not healthy for anyone's self esteem. women routinely berated themselves for eating like a cow and still brought in coffee cakes. i'm not exaggerating when i say i was twice the size of most of those women. if they were cows, what was i?

i also live in the world. from the time i was a little girl, i was conditioned to believe thin was the only way to beauty and happiness. i was indoctrinated into the world of smack talking my own body.

after we moved and i started to unpack my emotional baggage, i realized i'd had enough. it was time to start being nicer to myself. it was time to tell those voices to shut the fuck up and to tell my friends they were beautiful when i heard them succumbing to the nagging voices in their own heads. 

right now, i'm good. i feel healthy and beautiful. i am happy with my body. i haven't weighed myself in ages and have no desire to know that number. because its just that - a number. i'm not perfect. some days i look in the mirror and feel the urge to critique my parts. but then i remember that not so long ago i wouldn't even look in the mirror. progress. also, if i can't look at myself with love and kindness, how can i expect the world to?

months ago, i was shopping and overheard three sixtysomething women chatting as they pulled shirts off the rack and critiqued each item. shirt after shirt was rejected by two of the women. "i can't wear sleeveless. my arms are too fat." "i'm too fat for something that fitted." the third woman remained silent and looked sad. the least petite of the three, i knew what she was thinking: "if you think you're fat, what am i?" i started to write this blog post that day.

those women made me sad and then mad. when i'm in my sixties, i hope to have no fucks to give about the size and shape of my body and i certainly hope i'm not making my friends feel shitty about the size and shape of their bodies. we are all beautiful and deserve better. 

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wonderfully, bravely written. love this, friend. and right there with you. xo

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